Trust and Belief!

The thing about having the ability to be surrounded by or introduced to others that you can build deeper relationships with through the lens of trust and belief is that it leads to a more meaningful and simplified life. Having the trust of those around you diminishes the need to waste time vetting others to protect yourself. If you know the process of building trust with others, then you can have belief in them to do right by you and vice versa.

Through these meaningful relationships, we all save time, effort, and capacity to reallocate towards bigger and better things for all of us. We stay focused on the positives by knowing those around us understand the process of progress. We will make the inevitable mistakes but correct them by working together.

Imagine your life with this trust and belief in others around you. How much happier would you be? How much more focused would you be? How much better do you think you could be? How great would your life as a whole be?

I know that’s a rendition of a perfect world, but imagine it! How amazing would this be? Trusting your life in the hands of others so that they do the same—everyone outputting effort towards desire, coming together to create a better output. Think about how much time we waste because we don’t have trust and belief in those around us. Not to mention the paranoia we feel if we do not trust and believe in ourselves.

Again I know it’s a fantasy land, but it is something we should all strive towards! How do we ensure we can build these relationships with ourselves and others? We have to have the ability to work on ourselves so we at least have trust and belief there. Knowing we are not perfect and will make mistakes, we allow ourselves the grace to correct these shortcomings.

From there, we can start to curate the experiences with others to build trust and belief in them. Take time to get to know them and set up experiences showing you who they are through their actions. As the time investment becomes more significant, and so does the exchange of actions between you and the other, belief can be given because trust is there.

This kind of trust and belief creates something special that should be deeply cherished because you become irreplaceable to each other. A relationship this important should always be done intentionally, from start to finish, and one must be aware of what they are striving for before setting out to achieve it. If you know, these are the relationships you want to have; you can start acting like someone others can trust and believe in. That means necessary work from the inner perspective, but once there is progress, look for people who reciprocate your actions truthfully. If you can do that, you become a better reader of people to find more like-minded people sooner. The whole process must start with you.

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Winter Riding!

The roads are narrowing as it’s the beginning of the new year, and the snow keeps piling up. Since we are a ranch with 44 horses on the property, the riding must go on no matter the environmental scenario. Winter creates a particular need to get creative with how we ride our horses because space continually diminishes while the danger only increases.

Before the East Troublesome Fire burned our property and house, we planned to build a covered arena. This would have been a beautiful addition that allowed relief from the elements throughout all four seasons. The arena would have been 80 x 100, and the riding space would have been 80 x 80; the other 20 feet would be an overhang for a shelter so the animals could avoid rain, snow, and wind. Needless to say, that dream has been put on hold indefinitely.

The big thing the arena would have been essential for is footing or, in other words, safety. When working with young ones, a sound footing is desirable to increase the odds of success for all involved; without the arena, that leaves the plowed roads from November till at least April. While the roads are sound footing at a walk or straight line, that’s about it. No steep arcs or sudden speed changes can be made while riding, and the meadow snow is far too deep to ride through. Safety becomes a huge priority during the winter because there is no consistency due to constant snowfall and relentless wind drifting.

On a more positive note, I do find winter to be an excellent practice of creativity and flexibility. Winter allows the modes of exposure to be unique. The horses going through all four seasons at our ranch have a different disposition. A leveling up in their security, confidence, and endurance because you just can’t simulate winter.

While conditions are favorable through the summer, and you can do anything without the fear of lousy footing, winter is a different ball game. You can not take anything for granted; you have to stack the deck in the horse’s favor and yours. While most “trainers” or “professionals” work through every horse similarly year round, that routine would lead to utter catastrophe in this environment. The need to stay fluid and be smart about what you are doing and why is essential to survive and eventually thrive. It is best to become savvy about the capacities and mentalities of the horses you work with. Otherwise, you or the horse will be hurt.

Here are some optimistic scenarios created by winter! Sure, you never want to bury your horse in a snow drift, but let me tell you, it happens. How does your horse react when they get stuck? Does the horse trust you enough to stay calm, or do they panic? I’m not sure if you have ever been on a panicking horse in 3 plus feet of snow before, but I would take a legit bronc ride over that any day. I would guess on the upside, if you did fall off, it’s bound to be a soft landing.

While horses are out free with the herd running and playing, they gain a certain kind of agility and balance needed to move in winter conditions that other horses just never get. Herd pasturing is a priceless feature of the winter that takes no effort other than a good herd and decent fencelines. The horses civilly take care of the rest, given they have appropriately been worked and strategically integrated into the herd.

The other good thing about winter work, you must be sure about your groundwork before ever risking one ride on a snowpack. I just witnessed the Monday night football game where a player went into cardiac arrest after a play; the outcome is still unknown. There hasn’t been an update on a diagnosis of the result yet, but as every football player knows, it’s, unfortunately, part of the game. This is no different with horses; your life could be on the line anytime. This is part of the acceptance of working with any horse. So any chance we get, stack the deck in your favor. Do not take unnecessary risks to compound the chances of injury or death. I have seen way too many avoidable and random accidents out of anyone’s control not to prepare for the unexpected or inevitable.

So in working with horses in the winter, thorough groundwork is unquestionably a must. Extra time must be given and taken whenever there is anything out of sync between you and the horse. As I type this paragraph, two words come to mind: basics and preparation. Don’t take unnecessary risks because if you get on too soon and the horse isn’t prepared, your life or the horse’s could be forfeited. Is that ever worth it?

When starting young horses in the winter, you no longer have a round pen unless you want to shovel a four-foot drift out daily. Even if you clear it, you still have to ride in it. Riding in a winter round pen is equivalent to riding an arc in a skating rink; it will not play out well. So you have to rely on groundwork and intelligent positioning when you ride. If a horse was to take off, where would it go, and how would you react? You must be very calculated in every facet of what could happen and how you will respond if it does before ever stepping on the horse. You do not ride with it in mind or expect it to happen; you are mentally and physically prepared if it were to happen. If that were to come to fruition, you have to dissect what you missed in the preparation phase that led to the horse’s justified reaction unless it were a physical limitation within a horse.

I can tell you one thing about younger or older horses in the snow. You never have an issue with life or elevation. If a horse struggles to move out or pick up their feet, merely put them in deep snow and watch nature take care of the rest!

So that covers your greener horses, but how do you work a refined horse through the winter? Without arcs, you have to work on many short diagonals. You can still do all the basic dressage movements, but how you do them depends on the day. You can side or half pass the width of the road or diagonally down the road, but you must change directions at some point. The roads are slightly angled for drainage, so turning must be done carefully. Many upward and downward transitions are figured into your riding based on the road you are riding. You can not turn sharp, stop hard, or take off too quickly without slipping, falling, or flipping. Extreme care must be taken upon every transition.

My favorite part of winter is all the shenanigans to be had. Dallying onto a tube or sled to slingshot around the yard with kids is a must! Skijoring never fails to get many laughs and even better wipeouts. The quietness of a ride through the fresh powder while skiffs of snow build up on the limbs so I can time a tree shake perfectly. That way, the rider behind me gets buried by all the snow falling from the tree. Always a fan favorite, haha.

Winter riding shows you how well your horse is coming along, for there is no routine or sets of movements you can rely on. Therefore whatever you have or don’t have is exaggerated to the fullest by the conditions.

Exposure to all the peculiarities that winter offers is priceless. Getting on your horse after the night was -20 degrees Fahrenheit after it snowed during the day, creating frozen or wet-backed horses, is an actual test of who your horse is. Trudging through meadows of snow, the horse must trust you to guide them as they have no idea what is underneath. Crossing sketchy gaps of ice where you have to have complete balance and control with your horse. Working on roads where the snowpack is five to six feet tall on both sides, the shadows constantly change while the snow is falling as it melts or shifts. My favorite is seeing how the horse reacts to cascading snow off the roofs. These experiences are pretty hard to replicate, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, as the horse that comes out on the other side is priceless.

Can you genuinely enjoy the Colorado mountain summers if you haven’t ridden through the winter? As much as I despise riding while not being able to feel my hands, feet, and face, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The horses are better because of it, and to be honest, I am better because of it. Falling into the same old routines can stunt a person.

Winter closes in on me every year, allowing me to fully open up through the summers. My horses are better because of winter and in shape to take on the mountains or any other work. I thoroughly enjoy every summer day because I know soon what’s around the corner. There must be a reason for the seasons, so I try to find the positives. Plus, the winter allows me to focus more on my studies and reflections, which I cherish.

Meaningful Relationships: Time, Effort, Capacity.

To pursue a meaningful relationship, we must find a way to harmonize our life around time, effort, and clarity. We need to create time before we can allocate effort toward clarity. We must define our past, future, and present to obtain clarity. Once we understand all aspects of life, we can strategically apply our efforts toward the desired outcome. Eventually, creating a continuous growth cycle of harmony between time, effort, and capacity.

We need time to think through our past relationships to dissect them truthfully. We need time to think through what we want to strive for in the future, and we need time to simplify that down into actionable steps in the present. If we can do all that, we still have to start searching to find what we are looking for, not to mention the rest of the process.

Spending time on the intentional pursuit and fruition of meaningful relationships has never been a reasonable focus point for people simply because a person didn’t have the luxury of this time. It boils down to that time to pursue meaningful relationships is a luxury.

Now enter the problem of how one is supposed to go about meaningful relationships in modern-day society from the perspective of time. First, we must address the delusion of what people view relationships as these days. Social media and the addiction people have to it also stem from the issue of fantasy and lust. We see all these versions of dream lives and the interpretations we most want for ourselves and our significant other, and we never see those and break down what they are. Instead, we go straight to the version of reality we want. We attach to a delusion, and then we expect the fantasy. Even worse, some people achieve their false dreams, only to find out it’s superficial if they can ever be honest enough to see that. So then we work our whole life pursuing a shallow version of reality for nothing and, in the end, taking advantage of the ignorance or lack of awareness of others to get what we want for ourselves. Nothing matters but the delusion.

That is what we are up against today. To pursue a meaningful relationship, we must define our purpose and meaning in life. That should always be some version of making the most of yourself to be of more value to all others. All of which take more time. Time to spend in deep thought is essential, but it is pure luxury compared to past days. If we have time to allocate towards this kind of thought, it must be taken advantage of. Time spent in deep thought is the only way to head in the direction we want to in life.

We are up against the delusion, and we are also up against the complexity of modern living. It is not easy to get ahead, no matter what circumstances we may begin in or be in. Most live day to day, month to month, in survival mode. Whether due to debt or just working 40-80 plus hours a week to stay afloat, most don’t have enough to rest on their or others’ laurels. If this is the case, there is no time to spend on an intentional future.

As you can see, the most challenging part of creating meaningful relationships is time. Without more time, we cannot pursue these versions of desired futures. Without that time, we are all inevitably susceptible to environmental simplicities. As human nature creatures, we give into blind action and don’t even realize it when we are stuck in this oodleloop. We go through work, our social lives, and our personal lives all in a manner in which we find the path of least resistance. In this case, that is not a good thing. We make things work based on the limited confinement of our circumstances. We fall prey to our nature because we have no capacity to overcome it.

We are forever victims to chaotic life without the luxury of intentionally purposed time to overcome our nature. That doesn’t mean anything other than it will limit our potential and capacity. Even if you have the time to spend on meaningful relationships, that doesn’t mean you will ever find what you are looking for. We all change due to unknown life variables; therefore, no perfect version of any reality or fantasy exists.

The gift of time allows us to understand ourselves and our natural states of operation. If we can begin to progress on that journey, we have a chance to reach some version of our total capacity through relationships with others. Creating time for this process is tough, but we are all the better for it if we do. The first and most crucial step to finding meaningful relationships is to spend time on ourselves. We must go through our past relationships with others and ourselves. We must define our future to break it into a present digestible state. Then we need to take the time to put it all to the test by getting out there with a strategy that best sets us up for success. All there is after that is a wash, rinse, repeat situation.

History of The Bath Brothers Ranch

I want to start with a bit of history straight from the horse’s mouth! The Bath Brothers Ranch’s history is well stated in their brochure from the “Come to the Source” auction put on every fall in Laramie, WY. Randy Dunn (owner) says it best:

“My ancestors, The Baths, came to Laramie in the spring of 1868. The railroad followed in the fall, and the Territory of Wyoming was formed. The Baths built the first wood-framed building in Laramie in 1869 before moving to the Little Laramie Valley to start raising cattle and horses.

The Bath Brothers had a long and strong tradition of raising good using horses and reputation cattle. In the 1930s, they raised Remount horses for the government. They began raising Quarter Horses in the late ’30s and became AQHA members in the early 40s.

My wife, Laurie, and I continue the 150+ year tradition of raising quality horses on the same ranch. We still use the family’s original AQHA number (#7965) as our Lifetime AQHA number and carry on the same principles that have been handed down for seven generations in the Bath family. Our horses are easy keepers with good minds, speed, bone, and tons of cow and athletic ability.

Our ranch is one of the oldest working ranches in Wyoming, and our brand (running M) is one of the oldest recorded in the state. Our horses are raised in big, open pastures alongside of the cattle. Our program includes grandsons and granddaughters of Blue Balentine. We have successfully crossed these with Driftwood to make exceptional multidiscipline performance horses. We are now complementing this classic cross and infusing more speed with SLR Frank James. We use the horses we raise and feel they offer the genetic strength to perform and compete in any discipline or arena. We are ranchers raising good horses!”

A few things left out of their history, they run these horses and cattle over 60,000 acres. The ranch is now 155 years old, and the 6th, 7th, and 8th generations live there. The Come to the Source auction is in its 25th year of operation. They run over 300 head of horses and even more cattle, and the numbers constantly fluctuate based on the year and climate. Their horses have been used in the Frontier Rodeo Company, PRCA, and NFR as pick-up horses. I am sure I’m missing many more pieces to their family and ranch history, but that’s a good start.

With a history like that and a great family who continue to progress the ranch, we feel humbled to say we are partners with them. Everything about them speaks for itself in the best way imaginable. The family, the ranch, the horses, and the brand!

For more information about the ranch, the horses, and the people, check out these sites:

http://www.bathbros.com
http://www.cometothesource.com
Facebook: Bath Brothers

Meaningful Relationships

Relationships inevitably surface during my life coaching conversations with others. Sometimes it’s the topic of choice; other times, the issue of necessity. Regardless, one of the critical pieces to our future is defining what relationships are to us. We can then determine what a meaningful relationship looks like and intentionally seek them out in the present to refine the relationships for the future.

Before defining, I must outline a few stipulations. First, I am referring to the scenario of 2 individuals, and I am not considering groups, concepts, or objects. In particular, I am referring to the case of our best friends, mentors, and significant other. With these parameters set, we can now define.

Meaningful: having a serious, significant, or useful quality or purpose towards benefitting others.

Relationship: a meaningful connection between two individuals.

Meaningful Relationship: an intentional connection between two individuals to forever grow together towards a desirable future unattainable as individuals. Both individuals bring out the best in the other!

The importance of defining anything is to become clear about something’s purpose and meaning in our lives. Once we identify that, we can intentionally pursue our desirable future based on our current circumstances. That may mean we have to go back a bit to learn to accept our past, but most of the time, we can move forward as long as we know what we are working towards and the right positive reasons for doing so.

The reason for all this defining is to set up future conversations about relationships and how people are experiencing them in the modern scene. I see the struggle and suffering experienced by so many lonely people. The bad news is this process takes work, and therein lies a big part of the problem. Time, effort, and clarity are the big three I hope to address around this subject.

The world is only getting more complex for the average person to thrive. A massive piece of simplifying life is defining those we need in our lives to grow from and with. That means our choices must be intentional and must be mutual. We cannot afford to allow our most meaningful relationships to happen by circumstance or environment.

I look forward to continuing this conversation with you, and as always, if you want to dig into the infinite detail and exploration behind these topics, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I love to connect to better understand based on your individual experience. Thank you for taking the time.

Checked Out!

Whenever I go out into the wild, aka the public setting of normalcy some might call the city, I can’t believe how checked out some people are. Utterly unaware of everything around them, some blatantly go out of their way to be rude to others. I get it; people, on average, are struggling to sustain any semblance of sanity within the chaos of survival these days. This life leads to an environment of overstimulation that deprives an individual of time, effort, and capacity to replenish oneself. If individuals do not receive this crucial time, there is no hope of serving others positively.

When I say serve others better, I am referring to explicitly allocating capacity towards others. Therefore an individual must have time and effort to apply towards themself first. This allows the individual to focus on how they wish others treated them while they were in public. With this thought process, an individual creates awareness, and this awareness helps flip personal perspectives so they can see themselves in others. If we act from this angle, we can truly serve others because everyone deserves the opportunity for respect.

To become more thoughtful towards others, we must desire to become more aware. It comes down to choice for each of us to create the time, so we have the effort, combining time and effort turns into capacity. Once there is capacity, all that is left is the exploration through action.

Imagine a world of aware people around you and how pleasing the experiences could be. The little actions of the oblivious or the one blatant act of disrespect are challenging to accept once you become privy to them. Continued barraging of negative experiences like this can make anyone feel trapped or even slightly crazy. How are you not supposed to feel this way if you are somewhat aware of what’s happening around you while others seem to have no care in the world?

The scary thing is understanding what creates these types of unaware individuals taking from others constantly. It is usually slow conditioning from the environment to which they are exposed. For others, it’s a blatant choice to be rude because some version of a false reality tells them they deserve to be that way to others or, even worse because they think it allows them to get ahead in life. Then others are just being cattle, pretending this is just how life is, and go with the oblivious flow towards insanity.

How is it that you prefer to be in public? Do you even know how you act in public and how it affects others? Are you keeping your eyes peeled for moments to help those in need? I challenge you to see if you can move through public places with subtle awareness. Can you move through the setting in a manner that doesn’t draw attention to you? Can you remain aware for the entirety of the experience?

Proof Through Action

Recently we decided to partner our ranch with the Bath Brothers Ranch in Laramie, WY. We picked up some horses at their ranch about a month ago to begin the journey forward. Everything was going great, and we were headed home with two trailer loads when we had an issue with one of the trailers. The trailer accident was the moment I knew we had made the right decision in partnering with them.

We departed for Laramie with two trailers and pretty much the whole family. We made it to their ranch, and the horses were all penned up, ready to be looked through. It was the first time my wife, son, father, and sister had made the trip there, but it was important that they came with me to meet their family. Everyone met and had plenty of time to get to know each other. The technical side could have all been done in an hour, but we were there half the day shooting the breeze! We talked a bit about the future, kids played together, and many laughs were had between two wholesome families.

We sorted the horses off and loaded them into the trailers to begin the long trek home. Everything seemed easy and natural; some even might say a perfect day. Everyone felt excellent about the whole situation. Let’s be honest, though; who wouldn’t while looking at horses, getting to know great people, and branding horses? So we hit the road back to our ranch.

We made a brief stop in town before heading down the road. All the horses were settled and behaving perfectly in the trailers. We put six weanlings in one and five yearlings and two-year-olds in the other. We were heading down the road when I felt a little more drag, but I didn’t think anything of it as it was minor. I then received a call from the parents behind us asking if we had lost a tire?! From the looks and feels of the truck, I said not that I know of, but figured I better check just in case.

Sure enough, we pulled over, and the back right tire had sheered off because the bearings locked up. The parents said they thought it was a deer or something, only to realize it was a tired bouncing off into oblivion. Now the predicament of what to do. It was Friday around 4 pm, so we didn’t have much time.

After deciphering the problem, I called the Bath Brothers Ranch in hopes they would have a solution to the problem. I hated doing this but felt I had no good options beyond that. We had all had a pretty long day and wanted to get home, as I imagine they just wanted to wrap up chores for the evening. Nonetheless, I called them, and they answered. We chatted a bit to figure out the best-modified outcome. Were we going to drop the horses back off and head home? Were we going to try to limp home on the one good torsion axle? All ideas were being thought through.

While they were en route, we searched for the tire but had no luck. We had a spare, so not that big of a deal; another problem for another time. The Dunn Family(Bath Brothers Ranch family name) decided to bring us one of their stock trailers and let us take that home. Before doing that, we had to back the trailers up butt to butt to transfer the five horses. Mind you, these horses have never been haltered or worked by another human. While most would say that’s an easy job moving horses, it was a bit more complicated in this case. God bless the tremendous-natured horses they breed there. We could get in the trailer with them to guide them to the other trailer. Again, this may seem like nothing, but it was a huge deal.

Next was to drive the trailer down the road to a trailer shop for simplicity’s sake. We unhooked one trailer and hooked on to the payload before heading home. The debacle took around an hour and a half from pulling over to hooking up to the new trailer. That was a miracle in and of itself, but we should look at a few nightmarish possibilities that could have taken place.

This was the last trip with that trailer before putting it away for the winter and repacking the bearings next spring. If it just could have made it one final journey, we would have been fine, but that wasn’t the case. Given that this was the case, there are a million different catastrophes that could have taken place.

First, the drive was up a tight, curvy two-lane road that was a bit sketchy to drive to their ranch. If anything had happened on that road, there would have been no good outcome. The road had no shoulder, was ice-packed, temps were -20 below, and there was no cell service on most of the road. So imagine that with empty trailers, not good, but now imagine that with wild horses. That gets to be an all-out utter disaster.

Secondly, there was a trailer service shop down the road five miles from where we pulled over—we lucked out big time there. Otherwise, it was going to be a lock up and leave it there till the next day to drive half a day to fix up the spindle on the roadside, hoping to have it finished by night. The service place was referred to us by the Dunn family, so not sure if we would have gotten in if it wasn’t for that connection.

Finally, with horses and family involved, anything could have happened that led to some fatal catastrophe. Accidents of this nature terrify me the most, making every other version of this seem null and void to any misfortune. I am so grateful all that happened was a tire was lost.

The most crucial factor in this whole equation was the Dunn family. I called, and they answered, and all the problems were fixed within seconds. Without the lifeline to reach out to them, I hate to imagine what we would have done. Nothing efficient, and who knows how effective? I know that was the last thing they wanted to do on a ranch at any day’s end.

All of this is why I am happy to say we partnered with the Dunn Family and their ranch. Actions like this are all I need to confirm what I felt, but it’s not till these actions occur that you know. So as all this was a mild misfortune, it told me all I needed to know about the people we were partnering with. They had every right to ignore the call or to pass it off as something they didn’t know how to help with. They didn’t; instead, they stepped up in the way you hope all others would.

These moments of unforeseen action are priceless! You can’t set them up; you can only watch how people act. There is no more terrible feeling than being helpless and having no one to be able to call. I now know I can trust and believe them with all my being, and I will do my best to do the same for them in return! In the end, I am thankful for the relationship with the Dunn Family and excited to see where the future takes us.

The Florida Horse

There are specific experiences in life that I long for more than anything. My most recent one was with a new lifelong friend Burak and a horse we called Bon Bon, aka the Florida horse. While this story took place last year, the relationship started around ten years ago in Florida. That is where we will begin.

As I was beginning to hit my stride as an individual in the horse starting, fixing, and refining business, a good friend suggested I start to go to Florida to teach and work for the public. As a resident of Granby, Colorado, at the time, I was eager to find a cozy wintering ground where I could comfortably ride horses. This friend’s name was Tracy, who I also must mention was a significant reason for my early successes outside the state of CO. Long story short, Tracy helped set up a test clinic for me in Wellington, FL. I went down there to test the waters, and at this clinic, one of the participants was Burak and a beautiful big bay horse named Oliver.

I believe I had a few individual lessons with Burak and his horse, but after that had not been in contact with him for many years. I never forgot Burak and his horse because of his eagerness for horsemanship and his joy about life in general. He was a very likable fellow for all to be around.

About a year ago, I got a Facebook message from Burak, and he was hoping to discuss horses. We set up a time and date; nonetheless, it happened when I was auditing a Buck clinic. Burak and I chatted over the phone about his ideal future with horses. In short, he was looking for a family horse that could do work in the arena and head out on the trails. Burak and I had landed on finding a yearling that would hopefully work for his future vision.

As fate would have it, we were just about to head up to the Bath Brothers Ranch in Laramie, WY, for our annual look at their herd. My family and I headed to Laramie to see their herd of about 300-400 horses. We looked through the whole herd and picked out the 12 horses we wanted for our private ranch, but nothing struck me as a fit for Burak. It wasn’t till the very end, as we were driving through a bunch of youngsters, that I saw the horse. I couldn’t tell you what it was, but I knew once I saw the horse that it was the one.

She was a rough gangly-looking yearling, as most yearlings raised on the range are. It was her eyes and demeanor that caught me. Her eyes were big and beautiful, set on her head with the calmest look you will ever see for a wild horse. While remaining at total rest, you could see the gentle expression given through her upper eyelids of absolute serenity. She also carried herself with confidence but in a super subtle manner. As I saw it at that moment, I am confident enough to stand my ground against unruly-natured horses, but I am also secure enough to nurture those who may need help.

I will skip to another side of the story to save you all the novel I could write infinitely describing how much I love that horse. Bon Bon made it to her forever home in FL and is living happily ever after with Burak and his family. Burak facetimed me the other weekend; he was literally riding her into the perfect sunset along the water. This whole story is really about Burak!

While I love Bon Bon, the horse, I want to speak about Burak. Who calls someone out of the blue to entrust you with their life like this? Sure we knew each other and were friendly, but we were not lifelong friends. I couldn’t believe he chose this specific journey with me! He trusted me 100% to find him the perfect horse! He trusted me to halter that horse for the first time, to saddle the horse for the first time, and to ride the horse for the first time. He entrusted me with all his confidence to do right by him.

Let me say that again; he entrusted me to do right by him! I mean, who does this anymore? I long for trust in all my relationships, especially the horse/human-related ones. I want to know if these horses are going to a place of love, care, and meaningful work. More importantly, I want to trust them as much as they trust me, with 100% confidence in the relationship, knowing that even if things don’t work out regarding a specific scenario, it will be made right no matter what. No grudges, no blame, just the honesty between two humans to be truthful to their word! Truthful in the moment and honest to the future. Everything will be made right in time with these kinds of people.

Burak is a truthful, trustworthy, and honest person. These things cannot be taken for granted through words, and these relationships are proven only through time and experience with that person. These people are the type I am searching for because this is what my life is all about—surrounding myself with these great people.

Burak took the time to fly out to CO from FL so that he could spend time with Bon Bon in the fall before she made the trip to FL in the late fall. Watching him take to her and her to him is a priceless moment that cannot be captured by anything other than that moment itself. It was love at first sight. Watching him ride her with all the confidence in the world and her remaining in a state of pure bliss brought me to tears many times as I watched them bond as the week went on.

I watched them work on their flat work in total harmony. I watched them canter out into a freshly cut meadow without a worry in the world. I watched them rest on top of a mountain, looking at the land while breathing slowly and deeply.

I am happy to call Burak a lifelong friend! I am thankful for the experience he allowed me by trusting me to do right by his wishes. I appreciate the opportunity to care for, start, and refine a magnificent horse for him and his great family. I will never forget Bon Bon, but more importantly, I can’t wait to mature more with friends like Burak!

Thank you, Burak. I can only hope to call more people friends as I do you.

Thank you, Bon Bon for giving your all and caring for Burak and his family

The Birth of Roman: July 1st, 2020

There was quite a period where Laura and I kept chatting about the idea of having kids. Most of the conversations ended with some irrational justification on why not to have children. We weren’t ready to give up our “freedoms” quite yet. There came the point about a year after our chats started; we finally exhausted all irrationalities and decided yes. I remember the conversation clear as day to where we sat around our potbelly stove downstairs across from each other in two super cozy recliners discussing what it all meant and if we were truly ready. We decided that the “timing” seemed perfect; little did we know our house was to burn in late October from the East Troublesome fire. Funny how that perfect timing worked out for us.

Not long after our fireside discussions, we confirmed the pregnancy with a few positive tests. Now it was time to try to wrap our heads around the reality of becoming first-time parents. I can assure you, the feeling was absolutely daunting. We decided to tell the family pretty quickly as we knew this was a big deal for my parents as the first grandchild and the first child on my dad’s side to carry the Klees name. The other factor was that we knew we needed help from family and friends.

After briefing the family on the situation, we were greeted with a joking sense of yeah, right, and oh my goodness, this is really happening. In the end, everyone was super excited about what this meant for them and us. People’s labels were changing to grandparents, to uncles, to aunts, father, mother, and we were all nervously overjoyed by the thought of it. Everyone’s reaction was perfect! The moment felt like a quintessential hallmark movie.

Everything was pretty much on cruise control leading up to the birth. Doctor’s appointments all went well, and preparations were all in place. I would hold back overwhelming emotions at every ultrasound showing the little creature growing inside of Laura. Everything was pretty routine as the build-up to birth drew closer. The projected date of birth was July 8th.

On the last day of June, Laura was riding her horses, complaining about how uncomfortable it felt. I just giggled to myself, thinking, like it’s supposed to feel good while packing a full-grown baby in your stomach while riding a horse. Hell, I can barely ride after eating a big meal! Nonetheless, she rode all of her horses and continued like it was just another day.

The last night of June was passing, and we went to bed just like every other night. At about 4:30 in the morning, she said I think my water broke. Initially, I’m thinking again in my head, you think? How do you think your water broke? Haven’t you ever seen a movie before? I mean, come on, you know when someone’s water breaks.

We called into the hospital at about 5 a.m. on July 1st to tell them that her water had broken. In short, they said, yeah, make your way over sooner than later, but with the connotation that there wasn’t any real hurry. Mind you, the hospital of delivery was a good hour and forty-five minutes away and part of the drive being over a mountain pass. We took our time showering and going through a regular morning routine, super relaxed.

Before heading out, we went upstairs to inform both our parents that the time was upon us. Everyone reacted as we did, ok, now what. Restless stirring took part to make sure we were as prepared as possible, and everyone was helping out in any way possible before our final departure.

As we were making final arrangements, everyone gathered around the truck wishing us all their bests while joyous tears were forming and hugs given. Laura and I loaded up into the vehicle, doors closed, about to head out observing the others departing gestures. There were timeless waves and lingering eye contact from all the family as we began the ever-changing journey to the hospital.

The moment seemed to linger on forever as we crept down the driveway. A feeling came over me as if we were all leaving a past version of ourselves behind, never to be seen again. None of us would ever be the same. As we waved to our family, we also waved to an old version of ourselves, left only to memory.

We headed out around 7:00 a.m., arrived at the hospital around 9:00 a.m. Stronger contractions started to hit Laura at about 8:30 a.m. With their eyes wide open, we checked in, and the doctors stared in utter worry at us. We were confused by the look until we figured out why. Their first question was, what took you so long to get here? They thought we left right after we called around 5 a.m., so they uncomfortably assumed when we came over the pass that she went into labor on the side of the road. We both chuckled and just said no; we didn’t think there was any need to rush.

Shortly after, we settled into our room then met the most angelic nurse you could have ever hoped for. She and Laura hit it off immediately; she claimed us as hers. Tammy (nurse) was a true gift beyond words. I really can’t imagine the experience without her. We were fortunate to have her as our bedside angel through the whole birth.

Initially, we settled into the room, and the nurses thought she would have the kiddo by noon that day. I was thinking, hell, what is all this hoopla about this experience. Show up, a kid pops out, make sure all is well, and then head home. It was a misreading of the dilation guesstimates. We waited till about 5:00 p.m. before it was time for the delivery.

The whole time I just helped where ever possible and stayed out of the way whenever necessary. Throughout the process, I don’t believe I have ever been subjected to an equivalent experience ever before…… and hopefully never again. I was to do something and stop doing something within seconds of each request by one person with two very different personalities. There was no right, only wrong, but I just kept trying without question out of fear for my own well-being.

There were moments where Laura was in excruciating pain, angrily yelling at me to stop massaging her, only to ask me why I stopped seconds later. When she would have these moments, her voice changed entirely like a character from the exorcist or something. The flip side was when I was doing something right; she had the softest, most soothing voice praising me as if I was the world’s best masseuse. Those moments were few and far, though.

The nurse was all over the place, helping Laura out in every way possible to relieve any pain throughout the continually intensifying contractions. There were many hurried moments where we were all over the place and other moments where there was absolutely nothing to be done but patiently wait. Throughout every moment, there was relentless beeping of all sorts from the machines reading vitals. All I know is that by 4 p.m. I was exhausted, so I could only imagine how the nurse felt and, of course, how spent Laura had to be.

The moment of truth came, the nurse called in the delivery doctor and a few other assistants. I was on Laura’s left side through it all. The doctor walked her through the whole process before starting, and the nurse relayed it throughout the entire endeavor. She began her final phase of pushing in intense intervals. Three hard pushes in, and the crown of the head was right there. Two more pushes and the little man was born! The day was July 1st, and the time being 5:22 p.m.

He was immediately brought to Laura’s chest, while peeing like a racehorse in every direction, to unite with his mother. A perfect pair, a sight of incredible beauty that only present fathers would understand.

The moment he was born, I was utterly overwhelmed. Tears were streaming down my face uncontrollably while laughing because he was peeing everywhere on everyone. No one was safe from the pressurized fountain, like a fire hose at full pressure without anyone to stabilize the force! The doctor, nurses, and assistants were all congratulating us. Meanwhile, I tried to respond with a simple thank you, but all that I could muster was a bunch of jumbled-up noises. I probably just sounded like a seal while simultaneously gesturing and looking like one too.

I really can’t explain that moment, the love you feel for your wife for all the suffering to get to that moment—the actual sight of the specimen we created right there in front of us staring back at us. No person is ever the same after that moment. That was the most genuine, authentic experience of my life.

We both looked at each other when he was lying there on her chest, giving the “I love you” nonverbal look for what we just created. We squeezed our hands tightly together and had a moment I will never forget. A moment in which love changes and the definition of your relationship with another matures into something entirely different. You can’t ever love in this way without going through this experience, I would argue.

Our relationship became more through every phase, from the pre-conception chats to actual conception, to developing the baby through the birthing process and the present moment. Everything has changed for the better, but none of the experiences were given freely. There was great suffering and many sacrifices made by all to get us to where we are now.

I find the fact that I am a father hilarious as I was always the selfish one thinking I would never have kids. Why would I give up all that freedom and burn all that money? Why does anyone want to have kids, especially in modern-day society? None the less here I am, a father of a perfect child and husband to a woman with who I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life. A woman I am more attracted to now than ever before through a love that keeps transforming before my eyes. A woman who became the best mother anyone could ask for in a seamless moment when she held Roman for the first time. From that moment on, nothing but true motherly instincts took over to make her one of the most remarkable people I have ever had the privilege to be around.

While I feel I have not changed as a person, I know everything around me has changed dramatically for the better. I can’t imagine being a person in this world without the experience of becoming a father and witnessing every step of the process first hand, in real-time. The love I feel for Roman is beyond words, and the transformation of the love I have for Laura is something you cannot know unless experienced. I still can’t believe I am saying these things. I was the quintessential self-righteous ego against becoming a parent, against having kids, against loving one person forever. Here I am confessing my blatant arrogance once again to the world.

I would love to hear your story about your firstborn’s birth and what it was to you. I would also love to chat with you all about one other question; is it possible to experience anything like the birth of a child without having children of your own? Please reach out, and let’s have a discussion over the phone to get into the details.

Home is where the heart is?

Since the East Troublesome Fire, I can’t help but ask myself one question. What makes a house a home? Before defining a home, I first had to go back to dissect what made our ranch a home. Inevitably leading to the question, can a home be replaced?

Home to me is a space in which people (family/friends) intentionally gather in hopes to refine upon its’ entirety over time. Therefore, a home is something that takes more than one person as well as the investment of each individual’s time, effort, and capacity. By putting the home into order, renovated requiring only maintenance and refinement, hereby allows the reallocation of each individual’s capacity elsewhere. That freed capacity being applied to further improve upon the individuals through starting, fixing, or refining some other aspect of their lives. Full circle, bringing more purpose and meaning to the home and everyone that is a part of it.

We bought the property around 2016 after searching for 2 years. Was the property the epitome of what we were looking for? No, but it was a good landing spot after a long hard search. We scouted far and wide trying to find the perfectly priced and laid out property. After coming to the realization that no such thing existed, we finally decided on a property that was workable for all involved.

In order to purchase our dream property that meant we had to take on some major risk financially. This also led to the fact that we didn’t have much money to tackle the daunting feat of renovation ahead of us. Said in another way, lots of strenuous manual labor and endless hours working on top of work.

The property consisted of a beautiful log house big enough for our whole family and a few guests. It had a few pastures fenced that adjoined to a simple, small barn. There also was a decent-sized shed to put hay in or other large equipment. We knew when we bought the property everything was reasonably maintained, but definitely needed a lot of work to bring back to life.

The starting place was to try to get the property into a management phase. For example, the log home needed to be stained and sealed. The chinking between the logs needed some serious touching up. The massive deck needed to be replaced. The whole interior of the house needed to be updated. The barn needed to be entirely cleared of gathering junk from years past. The fence lines needed to be reestablished and added on before horses could be safely turned out. The pastures needed to be cleansed of sage, cleared of deadfall, sprayed for weeds, and reseeded.

Before the fire, our entire property was a representation of the sacrifices and suffering we had endured to create its expression. Our blood, sweat, and tears stained into everything. Our heart and soul could be found emanating throughout every inch of the ranch. If you looked closely you would feel this in everything. This could be seen by merely taking a closer look into any part of the ranch because everything was a representation of who we were and what we wanted this space to be for all. The time, effort, and love that went into its creation radiated through everything: fence lines, pastures, grass, trees, water, dwellings, people, and all critters.

This is how the ranch property became a home! The ranch took time to become a gathering space for any and all who wanted to be part of it. A home for all who wanted real connection with self-preservation. A home for those who wanted to be on a ranch, in the mountains, amongst horses, surrounded by wildlife, endless national forest to explore, and most of all to be part of a family. A home for all family and friends regardless of any circumstances. A home built with intention, with purpose, and meaning to welcome all to the space with open arms. A space that radiated love to, and through, all.

So when I think of the saying, home is where the heart is, I can’t help but scrutinize it. The foundation to a home is where the heart is, but a foundation is a final unfinished project. A foundation has no intent, no purpose, and no meaning by itself. For example, our home cannot be replaced because of all the complexities that went into its creation. We were all different people throughout all of the ranch’s progression over the years. Something like that was created during a particular time that cannot ever be recreated, even if you built everything the exact same way it was.

That home meant the world to my family and me, but it owes us nothing now that it is gone. It rewarded us with so many new and beautifully deepened relationships. The home gave us so many unrepeatable experiences and lessons by living under its domain. The home imparted us with wisdom that can only be acquired while living and improving alongside something over time.

Even now, that home is still giving from the ashes. The home has given us a rare opportunity to test who we truly think we are in our heads. The type of test that only tough times can reveal the reality behind the conceptualization. From the moment the house burned we all became different people, our future trajectories forever changed. I hope for the better, but only future time can give us that answer. Very few people ever get a test this extreme, because only an utter catastrophe can expose such an opportunity.

Thank you old home for all you gave and continue to give to my family. Thank you for all you have and will continue to teach me. Thank you for allowing us this opportunity to be tested to our core. You will be forever loved and missed by all who were part of you. What a privilege it was to live, love, and grow with you over the years. Goodbye old home! We must let go of you and continue to be transformed beyond you. We will honor your memory forever in our journey onward.

What is a home to you? How would you define it in your words based on your experiences or desires? I would love to dive even deeper and hear what all this means to you. Please reach out and let’s have a phone conversation to get into the infinite detail within it all!