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.


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.

You, Forever

So I alluded briefly to this, but damn the weekend really went sideways. I was working/on call Saturday, so I had Monday off as my weekend. Sounds good, right?


I had a poor ride on Sunday- it felt crummy, and 100% my fault- so I was looking forward to meeting with my equine counselor to review my issues on Monday and I had the luxury of time! What a good opportunity, right?


Oats decides to eat his hay (we don’t keep halters on in their homes, I just wanted to see if he would eat after I hand-grazed him).


I woke up to about 10 text messages from the morning feeder, who said Oats didn’t eat any of his night time hay, wasn’t eating his morning hay, was sulking at the back of his paddock and refused to get turned out.

Instantly alarm bells were ringing in my brain. Colic? What is going on? Oats’ friend Donato had a big bout of colic on Tuesday last week (and then I learned ANOTHER round of it on Sunday which is quite rare and frightening). Shit shit shit shit shit!!

So I called the vet, they said to go out and take his temp, see how it is and let them know.

I rushed out, tossed on jeans and a tshirt and raced out to the barn. Oats looked fine, his temperature was normal-to-low, and yep all of his hay was still there. The vet asked me to hand graze, and he was very eager to eat grass. So the next step was to shake out the hay bags and see if it was the hay, or if it looked different, would he eat it? Yep! He started eating it.

So WTF? They just said check on him, see how he is throughout the day. So I left, ran some errands (and yeah just went nuts at Greenhawk and bought a bunch of stuff…a new helmet, gloves, a replacement fly mask and SWAT for his poor swollen sheath).


My stress buying stuff. June has been just so crappy. To be fair, I did need a new helmet for safety.

I went back to the barn to apply the SWAT and Oats was back to eating his hay like nothing had happened. Weird. I left a note on the board saying to not turn Oats out in the paddock he was freaking out about, and flagged it online to the stable community…And then I got the message about why, exactly, he was acting so weird.

He had gotten left out till about 8pm in the paddock. His stomach was likely sensitive to due to being out on grass for that long, and he was in a big snit about being ‘abandoned’ in the pasture the next morning too.

Soooooooo that was why. SIGH! I had to text my counselor to cancel. Just too many things going on (see below also…).

No harm no foul, but sheesh I almost had heart failure after my friend’s TWO colic episodes last week…On a hair trigger.

OH and the best part? My hot water heater also died this weekend, so we enjoyed some cold showers and then it got replaced yesterday, a cool 4 hours of that happening and we got to kiss about $2k goodbyeeeeeeeee…FML.

And when I took my dog to the beach, there was a naked guy swimming. UGH.

I hate weekends sometimes. Jesus GOD.


No one wants it to happen to you

Ah, this week has not started well. Actually, the down slope started this weekend when my car started it’s twice-yearly breaking down/stutter process. By Saturday it was full on busted- hard to drive, hard to get going again from stop lights and scaring the shit out of me! UGH not AGAIN.


Mr. Oats has a doppelganger! Meet the new pony Daisy.

I had a lesson with Oats on Saturday and I was in a miserable mood, worried and kind of freaking out about how I was going to drive home with my car like this… Anyways the lesson was challenging and kind of awkward and frustrating. Like how my life is right now, ha. Mirroring much? I didn’t love it but I guess that’s just where we are right now–facing challenges.

I was complaining about my car on Friday night at my friend’s birthday (Bin 4 Burgers- love it!!) and my horse friend and her husband CAME TO MY HOUSE after riding on Saturday to help me fix it. WOW!!! Faith in humanity= restored. They did me the hugest favour, I couldn’t have even asked someone to go above and beyond like that. 🙂 A silver lining in all of this car-related misery.

Sunday my friend and I were going to go to take the horses to the beach, but the weather went to shit and it was raining, cold and lousy. Instead we rode together, and her husband picked up the part for my car I ordered that morning, and he fixed it. And it ran again!!! Hallelujah!! I also rode her horse Donato and it was just hilarious. He is so huge!

Monday brought some more bad news, some bad things happening to those close to me. It made me feel very sad and overwhelmed. I had an equine counseling session that night, because last week I could just *feel* that there was something left that needed to be brought up. I had a great week last week but had this constant, nagging ‘sense’ that I was fragile, vulnerable, ready to cry – like a turtle missing their shell, you know?

So we had the session, and we brought it up to process- and it wasn’t pretty but it needed to be done. I’m processing something bigger that is affecting me, and it has to happen.

Tuesday I was in a better mood and felt less vulnerable and less prone to crying. More level-headed, if I might say so. Though I was just exhausted. Running felt like I was running through sand. So tired. My ride on Oats was great though, fun and pretty easy, laid-back. So tired.

And today? Still on the tired side but not as bad as yesterday. No riding, Oats and I get the day off!



You can’t lie to yourself

Dressage lesson semi-private last night, and we had a long chat about courage and progress. I have done a lot – a LOT – of work on this particular subject matter this past year, to manage my anxiety. So, I had some things to say on this matter for sure!


I still have trouble managing my anxiety on occasion- and when this happens, I have to breathe, accept and recognize how I’m feeling, acknowledge it, and let myself ‘feel’ that discomfort. The more I do this, the better I get at it. It’s a journey, for sure, and we live a long life!

In our lesson, we worked on haunches-in against the wall, quickening to trot steps, then back to walk, all in the haunches-in. We struggled a bit with maintaining the angle of the haunches-in during the transition, and actually during the trot as well, but when we changed reins and tried it again on the other rein, and then went back to the original side, things actually improved!

Oats did give one sassy buck/kick out in protest, but in the general scheme of things, he was very good and getting WAY better at lateral work without big hissyfits. Ha, never thought I’d see the day when Oats isn’t the lesson’s problem child!

Instead, my lesson partner had to manage some issues with her horse that cropped up during the canter. Her horse is very good at lateral work, better than Oats, but is managing some behavioural issues right now…

And one thing struck me- you can say ‘I’m fine’ or ‘I would definitely canter, it’s just that my back hurts’ or whatever, but in the end, you are lying to yourself and your horse. It’s ok to be afraid. Hell, I spent a good, long while being afraid of various canter transitions with Oats because I got turfed off him more than once–more than I can recall actually!

When you say ”I’m fine” ”I can do this” and etc., but you ARE AFRAID you are doing yourself, and your horse a real disservice. Be honest. Accept it. Live it! Just don’t try to bluff or bravado your way through it. I can see you are afraid. When you canter, you hunch into a fetal position and your stirrups are literally rattling around instead of firmly planted under your feet! This is not the position of a confident and forward-thinking rider! How do you FEEL?

Very telling, and interestingly, our trainer asked my lesson partner how she felt when she was longing her horse, and the horse was starting to ‘come down’ from being a total jerk. The answer? ”Oh she’s starting to be submissive to me,” and my trainer said yes, that’s good–but how do you feel? That’s not a feeling! There is a mind/body connect that is clearly missing.

Don’t say ”oh that was great” when you are really, truly, genuinely afraid. Your riding gives it away BIGTIME. Horses don’t do well with this type of cognitive dissonance.



How did I get over my fear? Well here’s a big one–I still feel it. I now acknowledge it, and I understand how I am feeling on any given day, and it gives me the tools to manage it, and ride well with it. I don’t push it away, shove it under, or gloss over it. It exists.

The motivation has to come from inside. I don’t think my lesson partner gets it, at all right now.

It has taken me a long time to get it. Sometimes, I don’t have it even! That’s fine, it is a part of the journey and a good part of that is recognizing how far we have come even now.


Oats is afraid

Oats is afraid

Of the hay baler! Yeah, so my ride on Sunday did NOT go as planned…

This is not a new fear for him- the first time he saw the haying process, he lost his freaking mind. He had to be moved to a new pen, because he couldn’t get over himself. He was sweating in fear! When I went to handle him, he bolted out of the crossties and took my trainer for a drag down to the arena, her water-skiing behind him, SEVEN times!

So, this is not a new fear. But he has been getting slowly more mature about it (it only happens, oh, EVERY year…) But yesterday was an exception. The baler was out in the field with workers pulling it off the field, and the bump-rattle and voices just sent Oats into orbit.

I couldn’t get a productive ride in. He was tense, scared and agitated. I was pissed off and anxious, and just couldn’t get a handle on him. My trainer ended up hopping on, facing him towards the ‘scary corner’ where they were baling, and he sat there to watch for a bit. She didn’t push him into a walk past it or anything because he was just too tense for that.

So, Oats chilled out, snorting and watching, and then ate some grass. It was by no means perfect and he’s not completely over it at all, but I was glad to watch him process it a bit better…Then he tried to blow through the crossties at the top again (some things never change??!!) but with not so much fervour as before, so at least I was able to catch him and make him back up. Unbridled him without much fuss.


This happens every year! So much for a relaxing beginning to the summer.

My husband likes to say Oats’ show name should be ‘Honey Bunches of TROUBLE’