More chaos part 2?

Went a touch radio silent due to a lot of different factors all colliding at once, unfortunately:

Man, bring me back to this!

Major stress at work/burnout

Bad flareup of my chronic disease, ruinining an entire week of my life again

Oats went lame and I had a total meltdown over it

Gidget had a really bad flare up of her reverse sneezing and went into dog-shock for a few days. It was really hard to see 😦

So yeah…It was a very challenging period of weeks for me, Oats and the family.

Some bright sides: Oats lameness was temporary! He had a small abscess (in the same spot as his 2018 big abscess that summer) and now he is good to go. We even had a working equitation lesson on Sunday and he was a champ though I definitely felt quite rusty.

Work is ok for now and I am counting down the days until I am off on holidays!

My disease is back in remission until the next flare-up, and Gidget has a vet appointment today to figure out our next plan of attack. I don’t really expect that they will have any answers but…We made it over 3 weeks ago when we desperately needed it, so I still am hoping for some kind of solution or treatment for her symptoms.

I guess even through the blackest days, there is still hope?!

Also a bummer, but one I really knew was going to happen: My jump trainer who I have been with for over a decade (?!!) is not travelling to coach us anymore. I totally get it, no issue from me but it’s also a bit sad to see the end of an era.

I’ve reassessed mine and Oats relationships after his serious injury and jumping for competitions just doesn’t seem that worth it anymore? We’ve shown for so many years and it’s not always about ‘higher/faster/stronger’ for me– it’s about enjoying the journey and our relationship these days. I still love horse showing, but it’s not all what it’s cracked up to be, you know?

It feels pretty right

No more heatwave so things are getting back to normal! I even rode in the field yesterday (and Oats got very excited at the canter and took off with me up a hill bucking…Thanks dude).

We were able to resume our jump lesson on Saturday and we even were able to ride outdoors – not a small feat since the footing is so unstable and deep, I had been avoiding riding out there for Oats’ and my safety, but decided to try it for a few small jumps.

The little tires are cute eh?

We warmed up indoors (and man, Oats was SLUGGY) going kind of nowhere fast, ha. We schooled a few jumps, he had a meltdown at the backdoor again (sigh) and then it was outdoors to try our hand at a few safer fences located in areas where it wasn’t too deep.

Me giving a big and totally unnecessary release…

It was good! I bigtime bungled a few of the fences by grabbing back on Oats, but he’s an old pro and was not really phased ha. He was like, if you stop riding like crap, I’ll go better also! Win-win 🙂

This little line rode pretty nicely when I got my head in the game!

I am heading out for holidays soon too actually- just 2 more days to go….Ah…

Letting go to get there

Dressage lesson last night! Our trainer noticed my warmup was a bit backed off, with me sitting in the backseat (ha, now where have I heard that before, oh right, in my jump lessons!) and so guess what we did? Get ROLLING at the trot, big trot, bigger trot, and then CANTER! All on a very loose rein. It felt kind of wild to me, a little bit like we were just ripping around, but wouldn’t you know…we had a very lovely, loose through the back canter AND trot. Ok, after the downward transition we kind of bumbled into the trot but then he’d come down and release nicely. He still has that ‘snatch’ at the reins to come down, but he was much more consistent than before.

Just look at this handsome steed!

Kind of blew my mind a little! Sometimes dressage isn’t a tightly-held warmup and trot/canter, eh?? Sometimes it is a little wild!

Oats loved it, and his canter was SO consistent, forward and light over the back. Good boy! Plus he is looking fantastic these days- not so scraggly and gross and scrawny. I’m very glad to see him gain his weight back and his coat is just shining. He doesn’t look 19 right now, turning 20 in October 🙂

It was a very fun ride and reminded me to let go of the control sometimes (duh a horse person with control issues? Say it ain’t so 😉 ) ahahaha.

Plus on Wednesday we went on a hack around the block and while he did require a lot of convincing to get past the new, huge greenhouse (that wasn’t there last time!! Scary!!) that involved some running backwards, he got over it and was a gentleman for the rest of the ride, if a bit edgy/looky. Good pony, and PHEW!! I am a big trail ride chicken, haha so I rely on him to help me out here.

And my legs update- I had my hip tendon worked on last night (THANK GOD it was driving me insane for like 2 months, ugh, so gross…the tugging/irritation was constant) and I am entering my third walk-run of the week today at lunch. Fingers crossed for a recovery- even the physio was stumped about why I keep getting injured when I am in great shape and in general don’t have too many physical issues, other than the obvious hypermobility?!! Ah….

You think it’s like this but really it’s like this

I hate Mother’s Day. Hate it. I do not have a great relationship with my family for a variety of reasons, and also it just…Sucks. It is performative and angsty and I have little tolerance now for the demands ($$$$$) my mother likes to place on us for her birthday, M-Day, Xmas anyways…Just hate it.

So what do you do when you hate that day? Make it better, and make it your own 🙂

We had our own fun day and it did help relieve some of that existential pressure I felt seeing everyone with happier families and sincerity that I do not have. Ian came with me to the barn and helped me do a jump school! I haven’t done one on my own yet since he has recovered from his injury, so it felt pretty big to me, yay! Plus we have to miss our regularly scheduled Tuesday lesson because Oats has a dentist appointment, so I wanted to do a little something on our spare time, to keep sharp.

Oats was a star, a good boy and the bestest pony. Nothing fancy, just hopping over a few fences and calling it a day. Nothing better, I think!

We then took our dog out for a walk to the water, and then swung by Moon Under Water brewery for a beer on the patio. I was FREEZING. Ha. Not patio weather here, basically ever?

We then headed home and had lunch and then went to play some kick-around soccer at the park. We both failed miserably at ball juggling hahaha and it got frustrating so we gave it up and played goalie instead. My husband said he admires the fact that I am not afraid to hammer the ball home from 1 ft away…Not really intentional, I swear it!

It’s a nice way to make what is traditionally a miserable, pressure/stressful day for me even better. Plus it makes you feel happier going into the (extremely busy) work week!

Some great rides

Oats has been a star this week! I was a bit freaked out because after I rode in the outdoor (it is deep and the sand is harder on his aging joints), w/t only, he presented the next day with some bigtime swelling in his injured leg region. EFFFF….Except it’s windpuffs. He is sound, and the swelling lump went down after the ride, basically deflated. Oh Oats!

We’re getting there! (from a jump lesson a few weeks ago when it was actually warm out!) Spring in reverse??

It’s not amazing, but it’s also not a biggie really. He has now presented with them on and off all week, since I basically triggered them by riding in the sand 1 day. Oh well!

Otherwise, we had our jump lesson and it was pretty thrilling for me. We’re still JUST getting back into it, and we jumped…TWO FEET! whee! I swear to god it looked like 3ft to me until I moved the jumps back and realized how…small they really were. Hah. Fooling me for sure. I had adrenaline! I also wore my ‘big boy’ spurs and kind of overused them once and Oats was mightily offended. Sorry dude, he was such a good babysitter for me 🙂 What a sweetie.

And to think, I was freaking out this day because he was going too fast! Hahaha.

Wednesday we walked around the big block with his horse neighbour Mercury. It was very pleasant, and the boys were as good as gold. Yay Oats!

Thursday we had our dressage lesson and I am happy to report that not only does Oats look like he’s gaining his weight back (a struggle!!) but he remembered how to counter-canter!! Amazing! We did some light counter-canter work and he was a STAR! Ok, we did struggle on one rein in particular (going right) but to be honest with how rusty we were, he was fantastic. I had to wrap my brain around it too, I mean it’s been over a year!? Great job Oats, what a superstar 🙂

And he has today off. Well deserved I think! He has also enjoyed over 10 minutes a day of hand grazing on the nice new lush grass, as he is not allowed turnout for a year due to his tendon injury. It’s a really big bummer, but we’re trying to work with what we’ve got at this stage and I absolutely DO NOT want to risk another really serious injury for the old boy.

Jump lesson #5

And it went quite well! As I have been working back up to our regular height/ability with Oats, I did find myself getting freaked out by going ‘too fast’ and feeling rusty and out of control. We addressed that by trotting in to a line instead of cantering, and it has made all the difference.

Still needs work? My legs felt flappy and weird trotting in this week, and Oats was crooked as all hell, funny enough with a big LEFT drift even though he tends to drift right?

Wheee! Mega-dramatic release by me over a tiny jump 🙂

Also I kind of gave up leg-wise and we had two mega chips every evident in the video, hahahah. My fault, 100%. When I actually ‘rode’ to the jump, things were great. If I gave up? Well, chip-city and a re-do. Oats has been performing really well, honest to a fault. It’s just me that needs to get their butt in gear!

And then of course I ride on Wednesday and I don’t know what it is about Wednesdays but Oats is always SO bad?! He picks that day to really lose his mind about every single corner in the arena, regardless of whatever is going on IN those corners…Yesterday he lost his mind about a squirrel outside the arena in one corner, and then had a comically dramatic meltdown including a rapid backpedal at warp speed when the trainer moved the wheelbarrow…. Sheesh. Maybe I should just start giving him Wednesdays off?? Save us a bit of drama and hassle? He’s such a gem on Tuesdays and then kind of a nightmare on Wednesdays. ARgh.

All in all, I’m very happy with our progress. Good boy! 🙂

Happy Easter weekend!

I did have a pretty fine weekend, all things considering COVID…and my injury, ugh.

We had our dressage lesson on Thursday, then on Friday it was Oaty’s day off, so my husband and I went on a hike to a local area (Cowichan) and got snacks at Tim Hortons after.

Cowichan River Trail

Saturday I rode, and it was….eh. I was really hoping to recreate the nice canter I had on Thursday in my lesson. WRONG. It was crummy, ha. Fortunately, the next day was another opportunity and I let things go by then.

Hiking with Gidget

Since we’re not allowed to visit family or friends, or eat indoor at restaurants, our entertainment options these years remain very limited. Sooooo we decorated our Easter gingerbread house, and dyed fake eggs that my husband picked up at the buck store. Fun! The eggs were kind of lame though and barely dyed, taking on a barely-there pastel effort, compared with the very vibrant dyes. Oh well!

Tucker as the Easter bunny with my loot!

Sunday we did our egg hunt and my husband hid 40 foil eggs! Yes! I missed a few hahah but in the end got them all. It was finally a pretty nice day for riding, and we worked on some calm lateral work at the walk, and a nice contact in the trot, and called it a day walking around the outdoor. In the afternoon we took a couple of beers to the beach and listened to music, which was pretty chill and nice.

The eggs could have dyed better…

Monday I had off but my husband didn’t, so off to the barn it is! I worked on some similar things to Sunday, remembering to keep my expectations in check- and Oats was pretty good! Left the shitty canter alone, ha. I headed to the beach after riding with my dog and we enjoyed the chilly sunshine that day too.

Then it was back to work, and a jump lesson, and then a truly horrible ride (yesterday) where Oats lost his brains again and had shit fits at every single corner of the indoor….I guess forgetting that absolutely nothing had changed in the less than 24 hours since we had our jump lesson the evening previously? I really got on his case for that. He is WAY too old for his BS shenanigans?! Plus the temperature had dropped quite dramatically and it was COLD at the barn, and a lot of the horses went crazy. I guess it was too tempting?? He was fidgety and nutty in the crossties, so I kind of figured he was reacting to the weather or something yesterday…HORSES! God. Let’s hope today is much, much better.

Eulogy for you and me

I stopped writing this blog on Aug. 13. That was when Oats was diagnosed with a tear in his mesotendon, the membrane that covers the medial tendon near the DDFT. I just had this 3-month check up yesterday, and how has it progressed?

All we can do is walk.

Good and bad. He does not need surgery, as it didn’t break loose. It, however, is HUGE. So…That’s not great. Any bad movement and it will snap ‘like a rubber band…’ according to my vet. So, yeah. I didn’t even ask about long term prognosis, it didn’t seem worth it.

No turnout- ever again. 😦

I can start trot rehab with him, for the next 2-3 months (what the vet calls actually rehab. My other work with him, every single goddamned day, was merely recovery. Hah.) Shoot me.

Goodbye forever jumping

Oats at least has been the ideal rehab candidate. Not stupid in the arena, basically turned into a chubby, lazy slug. I can appreciate that greatly, given he had a few major freakouts over the past three, going on four, months. I will take lazy! He thinks he is retired now.

I will do the trot rehab, with my rehab partner who handles Fridays for me (a steal at $30/day!), and then we have another re-check before he will be allowed to canter. That takes us to 7 months of this effing journey. Yay.

I have been out at the barn every single day since Aug. 6 to help Oats with his recovery (except for Fridays starting mid-Sept, phew). It’s a lot. I have not felt happy, contented in months. I don’t have great sense of humour anymore. I cringe at the touch from another person. I just wish I could get out of it.

After this saga, I was saying I either want 3 horses, or no horses. How much pain are you willing to deal with? I don’t know anymore, but I guess a lot.

It’s not a secret unless it hurts you to keep it

Oats is lame, and this time it’s not a ‘oh just a big abscess’ sigh of relief. He is REALLY lame, and it looks serious, and it felt serious. And I also feel like I caused it.

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From this, last weekend…

He went kind of off on Thursday. I got to the barn early to set up some jumps in the field (love jumping in the field!!) and prepare for my Thursday lesson, which is my dressage lesson but to keep Oats fresh and interested, we do some jumps here and there too, mixed in.

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To this, this weekend. FML. 

When I got Oats into the cross-ties, my heart sank, a bit. I saw his right hind ankle/pastern was very slightly swollen. I knew that this meant he was very likely lame, and I was right, unfortunately. I took him down to the field, hopped on, walked around to warm up and trotted…BAM. Head-bobbing lame on the right. Pretty good on the left though.

We both saw it, I definitely felt it, and I hopped off to cold hose & wrap his leg. It wasn’t that bad, the swelling and everything, so on Friday I decided to saddle him up and ride him, see if a day off made a difference (he was not turned out at all). He was ok, about 80% there so I could sense ‘some’ change but nothing that bad. We did light w/t/c and slowed to a walk, I was going to hop off and everything changed in 1 instant. He stumbled, HARD, and almost went down.

He was instantly, seriously, lame.

Game over for us. 😦

With my friend facing a recent, terrible lameness episode (that will take up to 2 years of rest/rehab) to resolve, it’s fair to say I am on an absolute hair trigger. Oats has a vet appointment on Thursday and every single day I play a miserable waiting game. This summer has been just terrible.

Mr. Oats abscess journey

So as I mentioned, I was in a real tizzy…A panic spiral the past month or so. It just felt like EVERY SINGLE WEEK there was some new drama with my horse. You name it, I had it. And I felt like I was on a hair-trigger, since my good friend’s horse has had some terrible health issues recently (two colic episodes, and he came up dead lame a day after Oats did, but it was more serious than Oats and continues to be…) 😦 Just awful.

So, in light of my friends miserable horse journey, every single week I get a panic text or call or message from the barn, I rush out and find some new disaster. Fortunately they were not serious but still. I am on a real hair trigger…And Oats came up dead lame on Canada Day, so we had to rush back from our little ‘stay-cation’ out of town but first our car died, so we had to get a jump, to get a new battery, THEN to the barn. Jesus.

So Oaty went lame, dragging a leg, very lame. No heat, no swelling. I called my vet and he suggested we check for an abscess, since it came up so suddenly with no obvious trauma or swelling. I got the farrier out that day and BINGO! She dug in and was like yep, big abscess.

So this is his foot journey for the week he was lame (THANK GOD!!!) it was only that long. Thanking my lucky stars!

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Saturday- some progress, you can see puncture spots and 1 bruise-like area I circled that was the big one!

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And this was on Sunday- I poked at the bruise spot and it was bleeding/puss a bit.

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Wed/Thur- All healed! I was able to check him on Wednesday and it healed over, and then ride on Thursday and lesson on Saturday and then BEACH on Monday! 🙂