Monday, May 26, 2008

My fairy tale...except it’s true, part 4

For those of you joining this story in progress and wanting to catch up, click here for part 1, part 2 and part 3.

We join Rancher-woman as she has moved to a ranchette east of Albuquerque and discovered her raison d’etre - scooping horse poop.

Caring for two horses, two dogs, two goats, one pig, three cats, and three chickens was enough to keep Rancher-woman busy, but she still had a little energy to burn. So when she heard about an equine rescue and rehabilitation ranch opening up nearby, she had to check it out and see if she could lend a hand. Thus began a three-year tour at Walkin N Circles Ranch/New Mexico Horse Rescue.

Here was a chance to help care for 15 horses...then 20...then 30...and by the time she moved away to the 7MSN, 50! She went to the rescue ranch three times a week after she finished her paying job, to feed, doctor, and help do whatever needed doin’. And she spent most weekends there, too, after she was done working her own horses. She trained new volunteers, helped fund-raise, produced the annual calendar, served on the board, and scooped more poop, gave more shots, and dewormed more horses in three years than most horsekeepers will in a lifetime. And boy did she learn.

The residents all arrived with unique stories and issues - many of them physical, but a lot of them behavioral. She immersed herself in this environment and thrived in it, caring for the rescued horses as if they were own. As much as she gave to the rescue ranch, the horses gave her back a million times more. She remembers every horse she ever met there - their names, their stories, their ailments, their quirks. The other volunteers...she just remembers their quirks.

Forrest and Tarzan


Star and Cody


Chief, a retired Percheron from the Albuquerque Police Dept. mounted patrol


Four White Horses


Cowboy


Faith, one of three PMU mares that Rancher-woman helped bring to the ranch from Canada, and her foal Calvin


Joe


During the spring of 2004, the stucco began to fall off her house. Strange how such a bizarre little problem could snowball into a life-changing experience, but it did. As she was having it repaired, she got to thinking I should just sell this place. Combined with neighbors who were making her crazy, rumors of a Walmart being built one town over, and a steady stream of city-folks invading her once-quiet existence, it took about two seconds to go from thinking about selling to looking for land. She thought if she could find a hundred acres and build a house right in the middle of it, she would have the solitude she craved and her horses could live like horses.

She spent the summer looking at land, ruling out everything she saw for one reason or another. Then a realtor told her about this cattle rancher who was selling off some parcels at the corner of his land. It was accessible by “a good county road,” she said. It looked promising, until they actually went down the “good county road.” Rancher-woman remembers saying “are you freakin’ out of your mind?” as they went under the railroad trestle, into the muddy arroyo, through the herd of cows. Once they finally got there, the land was exactly what she’d been looking for. And the rest is history.

When people would ask her where this land was, since there wasn’t any town or landmark nearby, the only way she could explain it was, “Well, it’s 7 miles south of nowhere.” The phrase stuck, and so began the creation of the 7MSN Ranch. Designing it kept her busy through that winter. Finding a lender willing to finance construction in the middle of nowhere proved nearly impossible but she prevailed. She survived the stress of getting it built and moved in 11 months after she found the land.

That was two and a half years ago. She’s been living happily ever after ever since, and she can’t imagine a more perfect existence.

The end.

50 comments:

  1. Well that's the way a fairy tale should end, happily ever after. It is so great that you worked with rescue horses, they are all special and their pictures are wonderful. I'm happy to hear that your dream has been realized. Love the way the ranch got its name.

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  2. I keep meaning to ask what 7msn meant - and it is PERFECT!

    What a wonderful and perfect ending to the fairy tale!

    And all those photos of the rescue horses you came to know and love are just gorgeous. I am in love with the retired police horse especially. What a handsome!

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  3. I loved the ending!! What good work you did at the rescue ranch. I am sure you learned so much about horses helping there. I always wondered how your ranch got it's name. So is your land still surrounded by the cattle rancher's land as well? Do you ever have cattle on your property?

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  4. Glad y'all liked the ending, which I suppose is really the middle? I plan on living a long time.

    Pony girl, yes, the 7MSN is surrounded by the cattle rancher's land. He has something like 23 sections. His cattle usually stay on their side of the fence, but sometimes the babies fall asleep under it and wake up on the wrong side. That gives their mamas quite a scare but they're quick to figure out how to crawl back out.

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  5. Seven miles south of nowhere in the middle of Heaven! I love your story - every part of it. The rescue horse photos remind me of Tony Stromberg's. He lives near you, doesn't he? I've always wanted to meet him. How far are you from Santa Fe? You live where I'd like to live someday.

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  6. Victoria, I'm not sure where Tony Stromberg lives - but his photo of the black stallion with his mane blowing in the wind is my all-time favorite. My place is maybe 150 miles southwest of Santa Fe - if you put a dot smackdab in the middle of New Mexico, that's where I am. Once you get past the fact that you'll never have to deal with rain or flooded stalls or mud or ticks, I know you'd love living in New Mexico! The trade-off though is dust...no rain...no grass...no green. No place is perfect, but I think NM is pretty close.

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  7. Found your blog thruough Pony Girl's, and am glad I stopped in! Great ranch name - love how it came about too.

    Beautiful pics from the rescue horses. Sounds like it was quite an education helping out there.

    Looking forward to stopping back again!

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  8. Hoping I get this comment through. For some reason your visual verification letters aren't showing up.

    I loved reading this and the photos. Won't say much else because it might not get posted but it was a wonderful read.

    Oops now the letters show.

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  9. Mrs Mom and Sandy, thanks for dropping by. We love new visitors!

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  10. Wow! Those are some of the best photos of horses I've seen. I love them - and the photos too. ;o)

    I found you through Victoria Cummings blog and will visit here again often.

    Carolynn

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  11. I plan to keep reading this story for years to come!

    :)

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  12. Wow! Bravo for you! You are an adventurer as well as a kind person to help out, and remember, all those rescue horses. What a brave transition you made from career to country.

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  13. Well, I finally got around to reading your story. Absolutely awesome! GOOD FOR YOU for getting out of the rat race. Great read.

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  14. That's an awesome story!!! I am going to love reading more!!! Hey!!! You are living my dream!!! I am glad someone is!!!

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  15. Surely not the end. :) Just the beginning of more wonderful tales by you. I'm inspired.

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  16. Well now I have to go to the very first blog in your archives and read your whole thing. This was great. Sounds like you've got some energy too by the way!

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  17. Wow, I have been reading your blog for awhile but hadn't found your story. It is very inspiring and I have a feeling that someday it would make a great book especially with your photographs to enhance the vicarious experience. I congratulate you on finding what you wanted and then going for it.

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  18. That was one of the nicest things I have read in a long time. Thanks!

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  19. CONGRATULATIONS! JUST GREAT!

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  20. WOW! I just found your blog and was fascinated by it, I just could not stop reading it. What courage it took to make such a change in your life. I wish my husband and I had such courage, as we're in a rut also. Your photos are beautiful. I will truly be a faithful follower

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  21. My husband & I moved to Montana 5 years ago after living all our lives in New York. We bought 5 1/2 acres of property & built a house. Since I had always dreamed of being a cowgirl, I bought a horse & a pick-up truck. The horse was lonely so I bought a donkey to keep her company. Loved the donkey's personality, bought 2 miniature donkeys. Became acquainted with mules, bought a mule. Wanted another mule, sold the horse & bought another mule. I now have 2 mules , 3 donkeys & 2 dogs. Love this life & don't miss living in New York one little bit.

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  22. You have inspired me to try harder to make my dream come true. GREAT story!

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  23. Totally awesome!
    Glad you linked to this archive...perfect name and love that gorgeous gate!
    KK

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  24. I just discovered you today and you have become an inspiration. My dream is a senior dog sanctuary and dog hospice. I'm not at the same level of career that you were, so money is more of an issue, but I'm determined nonetheless. Thank you for adding to my motivation!

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  25. Just discovered your blog today. Seeing the donkey made me stop and read. We moved to AZ about 8 years ago, bought 2&1/2 acres, and started living our own dream. We've got one dog, four horses and one adorable mini donkey. I'd love to have more of the donks-they are the friendliest critters I've ever met! So glad you haven't given up your dream. Love how you got the name for your ranch! I'll be stopping by again!

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  26. What a great story!You give hope to those who are still "stuck" in corporate hell. Hope to be joining you someday soon, on the other side of life!!

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  27. Hi,
    Such a great story.
    I lived in Mountainaire for awhile as well as Belen, NM. I also worked in Albuquerque for awhile. There used to be a nice restaurant in Estancia. Those areas have probably filled with people since I've been there. I traveled to Arkansas with my bucksin several times and often stopped at the rest area in Moriarity. That was a long time ago...wouldn't do that today. R the roads any better since U bought the property?
    Have a great day.

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  28. Love this blog and congratulations for having the will and the way (mostly will!) to make your dream happen. I fell in love with NM on my one and only visit to ABQ in the 90's, this Seattle asthmatic got off the plane at sunset in October and easily (!) drew a full (!!) breath of air I swear was like breathing champagne, and the sky was 1000 shades of lavender, blue, mauve and salmon...still hoping to live in NM some day. In the meantime living it vicariously by reading your lovely blog!

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  29. What a great story!! This is my first time visiting your blog and I was immediately sucked in. I can't wait to read more of your posts!!

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  30. Wow Linda, I loved reading your story, amazing. You are such an inspiration to those who are afraid to follow there dreams and just do it. I loved seeing the picture of Cody, I sure do miss him as well as the life we lived in NM. I think the mountains are calling me back home. Your blog inspires me to follow my dreams, so thank you for sharing your amazing story. Love and miss ya.

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  31. oh, i love your story!!!!!!! God bless you and your dreams and your animals and your life!!!

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  32. I love this to no end and I would love to draw and paint "Joe" and the "Four White Horses"... I would give your blog credit. Is that OK?

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  33. Ok, so you are my hero! What an awesome story. Gives me hope.
    Now I need courage!

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  34. Well, your story just gave me permission to do what I've wanted to for years. I've had several careers that I've been pretty good at (so they say) but with tge excetion of 1 job, I've always felt miserable. I too got married at tge ripe old age of 44 thinking that's what I always wanted, and now I realize it's not. So, it's time! Mine won't be NM and horses (I'm partial to sheep) but I am going to move to a place I've wanted to live since I was little...England. Giving up my sheep here is heartbreaking and the husband too, but the idea of packing up my 2 dogs and 3 cats and flying across the pond to live in a tiny cottage near a tiny village in the middle of England feels so right I can taste it.

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Marianne

    PS I love your posts from the animals point if view.

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  35. Wow, just read your story. You have come a long way from RIT to 7MSN. From camera bug to donkey whisperer! Congratulations

    Mel N.Y.
    80 Miles south of RIT

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  36. I got lost in your blog and read your fairy tale and how you thought up the name for your ranch. Love the stories and great photos too! : )

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  37. That was a wonderful story of your personal transformation & blossoming. It is neat to see your drive, you are an inspiration to several people.

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  38. I love your story. I love how you had the guts to ditch everything and just do it.

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  39. Have been reading your blog for quite a while and finally signed in today. Quite a story....congratulations on your success in finally getting to do what you want to do.
    Never thought I would get attached to reading about donkey and a pig. ;-)

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  40. Wonderful story!! Sounds like you are enjoying life now and you haven't regretted your decision to leave the corporate world: Good for you!!! ;)

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  41. Coolest real life story I have ever heard. Just joined up with this blog today. I have no doubt I will enjoy this. YOur photography is beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing it all with us.

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  42. I'm pretty new to your blog, and am enjoying life with the donks more than anything. Your story is great but here is something I have to thank you for. I am a retired woman, profoundly deaf, and can't imagine what life would be like without closed captioning. So for your part in that, Thank You Very Much!

    All the best,
    Jo in MN

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  43. Hello sweet lady. I just tumbled across you from Don Estorbo's blog, and I'm glad I did!

    I did something similar: I walked away from a career (and big $, big stress) in engineering 10 years ago to spend time with my beloved cat (now 18), moved out of the city to regional Queensland (yes, in Australia) and I am loving the quiet and relative lack of stress here.

    More power to you Ma'am, long may you live and thrive in your chosen land!

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  44. I just read your story...amazing! You are a beautiful Angel for all you do. I'm so happy for you...
    Marie

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  45. I just finished reading your four part mini series on YOU...i loved ever minute of it. i will come back later today AFTER i get off here and clean the bathrooms, and read about the people that were in your links. you story is amazing and i am jealous i did not do this years ago. i worked for a public corp and no just what you meant with pray the plane crashes... in 2006 i was turning 62 and on the 45 minute commute home every day tears rained down my face. i made the decision to retire and went through the same thing you did, joy for me and comments from others.

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  46. Hi- I work at the NM State History museum, and found your site searching for knot making sources. ( we have an awesome exhibit in Santa Fe on Cowboys and we are looking to do some hands-on activities for families for our closing in March) I escaped from Maryland/DC over 20 years ago and never looked back. I love your story, made me wonder if we didn't know a few people in common! still ensconced in Albuquerque.....

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  47. Hi ... Just LOVE your blog/photos and your darling animals! Just ordered 2 of the little ceramic donkeys to help support the Donkey Sanctuary... darling!
    My boyfriend and I are leaving the hectic world of the SF Bay Area and moving to New Mexico this summer! We have been following your blog for a couple of years. I am begging him to get a couple of donkeys but we probably won't be able to get a place where we can have them. I guess I'll just have to come visit the 7MSM Ranch! Do you still allow visitors? Best, Ann

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  48. What a Great Adventure! Thanks for sharing it :-)

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  49. I had to come read part 1 and 4 so I would how you got to where you are and what 7MSN stood for. That's good.
    I felt your pain when you said no one wanted to build at there and finding a lending was an issue. We found the lender for the land but now our problem is finding a building. We're not 7MSN but we're in the middle. No one wants to come to the middle. It's like we're about 10-20 miles further than the builders want to come. We too shall prevail and hopefully before June. That's when we'd like to break ground.

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