Sunday, July 1, 2012


When I was a young I spent many hours, like other little Canadian girls, watching figure skating competitions on television.  During the commercial breaks I would leap and jump around the living room  trying to emulate the beautiful moves that the skaters made look effortless. Needless to say, I was a graceless clutz on a carpet in my sock feet; never mind perched on narrow blades on a slippery surface. I was in awe of how something so difficult could look so easy.

Now in my fifties, I have the pleasure of owning and riding an amazing horse in the sport of dressage. It is a sport much like figure skating. It looks effortless when done well. To the untrained eye it is hard to believe that years and years of work and practice are required. So much so, that some people believe that it should be eliminated as an Olympic sport because it doesn't require athleticism. Hah! 

Goldy, my horse, has been my friend and partner for 14 years. He is a very young 18.  We work diligently day after day on the movements that build his (and mine!) endurance, suppleness and muscle required at the higher levels of the sport. I finally think, after all these years; we also might look like it is effortless as we dance together across the arena. It is an amazing feeling. Most people don't see the sweat running down the back of my neck, or the thorough rinsing that I give Goldy after every ride, because he is drenched in sweat from the exhertion. How can something that looks so easy be so hard?

Top-performing rescues and shelters are starting to make life-saving look easy. Every day we are amazed by wonderful stories such as this that I copied from the Fond du Lac Humane Society's Facebook page this week.

"Three years ago we launched a low/cost low/income spay neuter clinic which also targets area farm populations.  Four years ago we took in over 1400 cats, last year 966. This time last year 401 cats, this time this year 291.  A lower intake allows us to more effectively utilize our limited resources to provide a higher level of care for the pets." 

To those people that are doing such an amazing job (you know who you are)  the ones who can foster three dogs, and can juggle transport schedules, vet appointments and a full time job with one arm tied behind your back; the cat rescuers who can coordinate a trapping effort and a spay/neuter day at the drop of a hat; and the shelter directors who are thinking outside the box, introducing new programs that reduce intake especially for the most at-risk animals, outdoor cats and large dogs. To those people that strive every day to save more lives I want to say thank you. Even though you make it look effortless, I know it isn't. 

"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. - Thomas Jefferson


  1. Having ridden dressage (very beginner) and hunter/jumper, I concur how much effort, practice and time it takes to look effortless; the director of my affiliate cat sanctuary makes her job look effortless though I know many days she is exhausted. Thanks for the shout out about spay/neuter programs particularly for farms and feral cats.

  2. Hi Kathy,
    Can you help. I am looking for info on Wisconsin Gas Chambers. Can you please tell me where I can verify if any are left in the state and if any Wisconsin "shelters" are still using them?

  3. Poignant and to the point Kathy. Thanks! It's nice reading something positive now and again.