Thursday, July 3, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

I definitely identify more with Marlin, Nemo's over-anxious father, than Dory's cheerful, go-with-the-flow sort of style. My inner Marlin is in overdrive with all the horse, dog, and family illness of the past month. I am trying to get in touch with my inner Dory and have her talk some nonsense in to Marlin. There have been moments of over-reaction, sobbing, and cursing the skies above, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Not every shark is a carnivore, after all ;)

The future can be terrifying when you don't know what to expect...

Whoever said horseshoes were lucky never tried to keep them on the horse.My poor little Abbey-doodle has had shoes for about a month and thrown one and sprung two. She also banged up her leg on something and has some bone bruising that we had checked out by the Vet. He gave us some advice and direction and a little medication, but as with most horse-related pit falls, there was no quick fix. I have learned a lot over the past few weeks. I know I need to trust in the process, but it is not an easy thing to do for a control-freak like me. Horse injuries are like Darla... annoying, terrifying, and you never know when she's going to show up.

So, instead of being paralyzed by fear (okay, after being paralyzed for a minute and then getting my big-girl pants on) I learned how to apply poultice and standing wraps (a lot easier than it looks - thanks You Tube!). I learned that Abbey is most likely allergic to Previcox. I learned that to get a good reading on a thermometer it needs to be in for at least three minutes. I learned that Abbey's normal temp runs hot at 100.5 degrees. I learned that DMSO is a stinky solution that may or may not help cure all that ails ya. I learned that it is hard to find a balance between keeping them protected, fixing them when they get hurt, and staying positive in the face of adversity (an ongoing life lesson that has a lot of trouble sticking). Above all, I feel like I am beginning to trust myself a lot more when it comes to knowing what's best for Abbey. I'm kind of thankful that I was "on my own" when this all happened, as my barn owner was at Nationals in Texas for ApHA for two weeks. It forced me to make decisions, make phone calls, do the work myself, and just figure it out. Even though she wasn't dead lame after the bone bruise, she was just... off. Didn't want to jog her nice easy jog, which is her go-to gait. It was a walk or a hollowed-out extended trot. Loping on the right lead was filled with trips, stalls, and all out stops. The K's assistant trainer said she thought she rode fine, but she also said that I would know her best. I used to not think that, but now I'm beginning to believe it. Take that, Darla!

I am an information hoarder. The internet for me is like a flame for a moth. I just can't stay away,  obsessively searching for solutions to my problems and answers to my questions. It's pretty awesome what's out there. A ton of crap and misinformation, but there is also a lot of helpful, factual information from professionals who can give insight without making recommendations, letting you apply the information to your situation. It just takes some common sense, cross-checking, and trusting your gut to sift through the BS, or HS, as the case may be.

In spite of Abbey's abominable performance, or lack thereof, at the last show with my trainer, I am holding out hope that I will be able to put on my fancy duds, saddle up, and show next weekend. It was a dream sparked a year ago at the same show, so I am hopeful that I can look back on the journey from that same vantage point and see our progress play out in the show pen. Even if we don't, I hope that she feels more settled and trusts me to keep her safe when we are in new places. That means a lot. And Rome wasn't built in a day, so we will just have to wait and see.

I have my calendars all printed with my training and showing plan for the next three months, with pretty highlighter and everything. I also was smart enough to use a pencil, because writing plans involving horses in pen is just a bad idea.

I also want to say that over the past few weeks I have really come to appreciate the experience of those who have gone before me and had tougher journeys than me and Abbey. Their stories of good horses being rotten at their first shows, injuries, more injuries, and all manner of setbacks remind me that for the most part we are relatively fortunate and healthy as a horse and rider team. Call me stubborn, but I just am not ready to let the uphill climb get me down. When I was a runner and faced Mount Olivet Hill at mile 8 in the half marathon, I just gritted my teeth, skipped to a good song, found my focus, an intention, a purpose for that hill, and just kept running. I am at that part of the race where I have to go inward and find that strength to keep on moving forward. After all, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
Marlin begins to trust his friends, and learns that little dudes know a lot :)

I am so thankful to have this incredible equine guru to teach me so much about myself and about life. I am also learning that life with horses involves a lot more praying, hoping, crying, deep-breathing, and celebrating the little wins than life without horses ever could. It's a good thing. As Dory always says, "Just keep swimming!"

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