Once Ava returned for good from her six-year stint in Arizona and was about to open the finished clinic in Missouri, she and Lanie started to enjoy each other’s company as adults.
Lanie owned a four-year-old Appaloosa discovered to be, in her words, “a lazy horse.” Ava, not having ridden any horse for a rather long stretch of time, asked Lanie to go with her on a ride, telling her that she wanted to ride the Appaloosa.
“Ava, I just told you she’s lazy. I’m thinkin’ of just sellin’ her. You really want to ride her?”
“Well, sure, I do!”
Flabbergasted, Lanie handed over the reins and stood back, observing quietly as her older sibling mounted the slothful horse. Within minutes, Ava guided her chosen horse around effortlessly. Lanie had to admit to herself that somehow the two had connected; it sure seemed to her like they were communicating. She saw how the color-spattered Appaloosa took her rider’s directions and no longer acted lazy. Remarkably, Lanie also observed that for the first time ever she had known her, Ava was utterly relaxed on top of a horse.
The filly’s name, “Amiga” became a perfect fit in that magical moment. (“Girlfriend” in Spanish.) Without thinking about it, Lanie remembered that she had sensed agreement from the horse the first time she voiced the name to her. Apparently, Lanie possessed a bit of the same “touch” her sister had with animals.
Meanwhile, Ava took the Appaloosa’s cooperation in stride:
“Amiga got me started at 32 [years]. She was calm, patient, and forgiving, taking whatever was the strongest cue I gave her, assuming that was what I meant and going with it. Maybe that only was a part of her easy-out nature, but it definitely worked for the two of us in our time. I out-grew her, eventually, and she became the caretaker of a young girl, Lauren Proemsey, once I advanced to my next horse, whom I called ‘Poncey.’”
* * *
In the same year (1988), there came a time that Dr. Frick would not be able to ride a horse. Because of a painful incident away from the clinic, she would have to adjust her work schedule for a brief recovery time.
Participating in an adult women's soccer match on a local community playing field one evening, she maneuvering the black-and-white ball with her feet while hustling forward toward the net. From the outer corner of her right eye she spied an opposing player running straight at her, intent on more contact with her than the ball. She attempted to avoid the jarring contact that seemed inevitable. Too late, the other woman, a member of the dreaded Pacific (Missouri) team known for its roughneck style of play, body-checked her hard. Frick went down hard—not knocked-out cold but down for the count and unable to stand straight when she tried.
After the match ended, she returned home to try and rest through the night, hoping that a brighter morning would dawn to greet her. While the weather cooperated, her body wouldn’t; she still could not stand up straight.
Frick canceled the day’s appointments at her clinic and called the closest doctor’s office she could think of in her state of mind.
Dr. Glen Calvin, not just an M.D. but also a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.), took on the emergency appointment with Frick. Once he had assessed her overall condition and the state of her injury, he adjusted her spine. (Understand, Dr. Frick had no prior knowledge of what a D.O. could do for another person, let alone for her distressed and painful body.)
Asked to, she immediately stood up straight! She was amazed. Here was something she hadn’t known before.
“It was like Jesus had just saved me with a miracle. I could stand up straight! It was the best thing that ever had happened to me. Having an adjustment right after my earlier horse-fall incident would have helped me a lot, too.”
Dr. Calvin told her to go home and relax for the rest of the day, which she did do. The following day she was back at her clinic, working with her animal patients … and thinking about what possibilities the technology she had just experienced might have for her animal work. What had been her introduction to changing the locomotion of a human body, perhaps, could also benefit those of animals. Importantly, she also realized there was more to helping anyone in pain than a bottle or a pill prescription.
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