New Year, Real Talk

Hi, maybe you remember me from my last post about my local vet’s crummy bedside manner… well, turns out he may have been more right than I cared to believe at the time even if his delivery was decidedly poor. Harley and I had a few months of bliss over the late summer and early fall. Bliss!

 

 

 

 

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The vet mentioned that Harley was looking a little pudgy so he got put on a diet over the summer. He responded like any chubby bunny worth their salt would and rooted out a stash of fattening acorns in the pasture to supplement his diminished rations. Clever little truffle pig…

 

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And then things changed. In what felt like the blink of an eye. No identifiable injury, no change in demeanor, just continuous and obvious not-quite-rightness at all gaits. I gave long spells of time off hoping it was muscular or a mild injury. I’ve used various combos of BoT therapies and support boots. Have I called the vet out again? No, I haven’t. I had my trainer, who is very familiar with him take him for a ride to confirm the things I was feeling. She begrudgingly admitted that he felt like her old warmblood whose canter was the first thing to go as he lived with DJD. Is it time for more injections? Maybe. Will they fix the problem? No. The writing was always on the wall, the timeline just moved up.

 

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The Bionic Horse

 

We had our annual Christmas ride where I dress up like a fool and Harley tolerates my shenanigans. This year we were gingerbread cookies.

 

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I have been in the market for a horse for about a month now. Knowing it is not likely I will find a lease scenario as wonderful as my lease with Harley, I am specifically looking for my first horse to own. It’s a big scary step but I have saved up, I have leased, and I am ready.

So far I’ve let my gut be my guide but dang it’s tough out there! I impulsively drove down to Georgia one Friday to try out a baby warmblood in the pouring rain. I had a decent ride but left telling the seller he was too green for me. I had a six hour drive home to second guess that decision and practically work myself up into an ulcer trying to figure out how to get one of my trainers down there to ride him again. I have two trainers and a small group of horse friends willing to offer advice but sometimes that is great and sometimes it’s not. In this case, I had one trainer saying “so much fun! go get him!” and the other saying “I would absolutely not choose him for you for several reasons”. Thanks trusted professionals… I went with the latter and was back to the drawing board.

Next I found a local lead on a well-bred Belgian Warmblood who was started late. I exchanged many emails and finally went for a visit with a trainer and a friend in tow. There was a small herd of homebred warmbloods that all looked super cute but definitely seemed like none of them were regularly ridden and a couple have never been started despite being 8-10 years old. They had no arena and everything else was mud, so after watching the owner ride, I hopped aboard and rode down the paved road. He soundly walked and trotted barefoot on asphalt and although he was a little buddy sour, he was very sane. I am not willing to make such a big decision on so little information so I floated the idea of a trial at my home barn. The owner agreed and he arrived just after the new year.

 

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Cute, but ultimately not a good fit for me.

 

Harley says, srsly, good luck trying to replace me… I’m literally perfect.

 

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Horse shopping is hard. I really do just want to magically have a younger Harley. Many of you have ambitious goals for 2019 and I have just one- find the new EquiNovice blog header model! Wish me luck!

 

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Slowly Making Our Comeback

I’d like to share some super positive news- my knee is doing great! Physical therapy for the win!

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After about three months of my knee feeling so awful I thought sure I’d have to give up riding to have yet another surgery, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am currently in what is known as the most dangerous phase of injury recovery because everything feels really good and it is easy to get complacent and either stop doing the exercises, or worse- assume that you are completely healed and promptly overdo it and re-injure yourself. It is a total mind game at this point.

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Harley is doing great as well and I’m sure he didn’t mind the break at all.

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We got mirrors in the arena a few weeks ago and everybody loves them. Someone really enjoys checking out how handsome he is on a regular basis.

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He has been very well-behaved lately and I even felt comfortable enough to cool him out bareback a couple of times. This is kind of a big trust hurdle for me and something I like to be able to do with every horse I ride. It’s always just for fun and not for very long, but it solidifies a partnership in ways that traditional schooling can’t. I don’t jump and don’t often get to hack or trail ride so this is the next best way to feel a little bit of that rush, take a chance, and trust that you’ll take care of each other. After falling off of him twice this summer, we really needed to reconnect and, as others have put it, refill that trust bank on both sides.

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Fall shots were uneventful and Harley got his teeth done. The vet said his mouth looked great and he only evened up a few mild points. He did ask me if I give Harley a lot of treats. I instantly said no thinking about other barn mates that constantly feed peppermints or the trainers who both have sugar cube pouches attached to their saddles. No way! I do give him treats but not all the time and not pure sugar. The vet grabbed a pliers and gripped it around Harley’s canine. I panicked for second thinking, “is he about to pull that tooth without even asking?!?!” But a moment later a thick whitish yellow cap crumbled off exposing his actual tooth. The vet said, “that’s pure sugar.” As the vet turned to put the pliers away I mumbled something about that being odd because I don’t feed him candy but he absolutely loves bananas. Dr. K’s head snaps back around and he starts telling me about another client of his with a horse only a few years older than Harley who has a tooth that is in such bad shape that it may have to be extracted and they said they feed him lots of bananas! And that is basically the story of how Harley doesn’t get any bananas anymore….

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We’ve had lots of very positive rides together lately and with the weather staying warm for so long I think Harley was feeling really good. He had good energy but wasn’t spooky or out of control and every time I asked him to give a little more or do something tough he tried so hard.

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Work travel and lots of clinics at my lesson barn have kept me out of lessons for a few weeks. I am hoping to remedy that tomorrow because I am definitely in desperate need of a lesson!! I really wish she could come give me one on Harley but it will be good to see Louie, too.

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Good People

Hi, it’s me, yes, I still blog. Sorry for the radio silence lately.

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I have been traveling a ton for work and I also went home to the northland over 4th of July for some R & R and things have been non-stop since then. My days seem to vacillate wildly between getting seven hours of sleep and getting only three or four because I have to hop yet another flight somewhere. I try my best to sneak in rides whenever I can but while I am gone, I KNOW Harley is being very well cared for.

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Right before the holiday, I spent some time in Medellin, Colombia. Lovely city. I had never been there before but I don’t mind traveling to Colombia for work because it is fairly easy to get to and Colombians are very nice people.

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Except when they are trying to kill you with calories.

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This delicious heart attack on a plate is called Bandeja Paisa and is THE meal in Medellin. I was visiting with a group of doctors and hosting a training course at a hospital. We finished a little early with our case observation on the second day so one of the teaching docs, who lives in the US but is originally from Medellin, insisted we all go out and have Bandeja Paisa to get the true Medellin experience. He ordered us all plates and then proceeded to order himself a salad. Well played, doc, well played.

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After the course, I caught a plane home to the northland and got to spend some time with these two old codgers.

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My vacation was devine! The weather was gorgeous and a wonderful break from Indiana’s sticky hot summer so far. I spent my nights relaxing with my family in the screened porch, ate every food that can possibly be grilled, and there was even Tequila tasting with my parents and one of their friends.

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Everything was perfect until the evening of July 3rd when I got one of those novel sized texts from the barn owner about Harley. I had that terrible heart-sinking feeling when she said that Harley was frantic in his stall- pacing, twirling, nostrils flared, sweating. She said she hadn’t heard very many since it had been raining, but the neighbors had set off a few fireworks fairly close to the barn. Harley was terrified of the noise and because he is currently in a small barn with no other stalled horses (I know, I don’t like this arrangement either) he was panicking.

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We talked out our options and I communicated with Harley’s owner to see whether he had acted like this previously or if there should be other reason to worry. She thought about turning him out in his paddock so he wouldn’t feel trapped, but his paddock is right along the road so too close to where the fireworks were being set off and she was concerned that he might run through the fence. She brought in a sweet old arabian gelding who is normally pasture boarded to hangout in the enclosed breezeway outside of Harley’s stall so they could have some contact but it wasn’t enough. I felt super powerless and super awful that she was having to deal with him in the rain, no less, and I wasn’t even in the state. I threw out the notion of calling the vet and even trying some Dormosedan if we ran out of options. I told her to make sure she was safe while handling him- he’s a very very good boy but, ya know, fear trumps all of that. She did call the vet to consult about the sedative but they didn’t think he’d need it. Instead, she hosed him off to cool him down, and brought him to their personal barn. Their barn is a mile or so back from the road, down a hill by their house. It is a much larger barn and a couple of their own horses were stalled in there, too, so he had calm buddies as well as a big fan to help dull some of the noises. He settled right in and was totally fine after that. I thanked her about a thousand times and she sent me a photo of Harley making himself right at home in their barn.

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It gives me so much piece of mind to know that they were truly concerned about his well being and bent over backwards to make sure he was okay. All’s well that ends well! And I could finally get some sleep.

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I am back in Indiana now, and very much hoping that the rest of my summer can include much more of this:

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And this:

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and much less of this, no matter how pretty it is:

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Does your horse mind the fireworks? How often do your barn owners/managers communicate with you? Do you worry about your horse when you travel?

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How to Beat Boredom

…when your person travels a lot. By Harley

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  • Be a Dolphin: extra points if you rile up the rest of your “pod” by being a lunatic in the arena by yourself. amirite Courage???! The most fun.

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  • Get a Pedicure: Try your best to require that your person order this service for only you- that way they get to pay a “special rate” –people love those.

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  • Mud wallow: It’s like a day at the spa with more fungus.

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  • Spook at the wind: if you do this enough in the arena, your person might turn the radio on for you.

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  • Rip some of your face off! Your person will sure think twice about leaving you if you do this, plus you might get some of that good grass by squeezing your head through the fence. It’s important to wait until the day before your person has to travel internationally.

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There you have it! 5 funtastic ways to entertain yourself and your super busy person!!

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-Harley

Everything and Nothing is Happening Right Now

 

I’m excited but I’m nervous.

Nothing is happening.

I’m worried but yolo.

Please stop getting ahead of yourself. Why are you having any emotions?! There is nothing actually happening here.

I’m lost but I’m hopeful, baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine.

Oh good god….pathetic.

This year was an interesting one for me and instead of doing a review of my year, I thought I’d just repeat history for you- live!

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So here we are, well into January, and almost exactly around this time last year was the very beginning of this epic fustercluck. I had all the feelings because I had two potential leases on the table and was going to have to make a decision. Much hand-wringing ensued and a decision was made! I leased the little gray dressage horse and had fun, fun, fun, until mommy took my T-bird away.

Are you having a stroke? …

I truly did have a blast riding Tyco but sometimes I wonder if I’d have been better off never choosing this lease. On the one hand: I was riding four days a week and I was happy; On the other hand: being too high, dropped me pretty low. My mistake was not mentally factoring in the other parts of the equation. I thought the situation would be longer term so when T’s owner had to move him home with her not even two months later- I broke. I handle my shit pretty well on the outside so no one really knew (and truthfully, it even surprised me) how deeply the situation affected me. Conveniently around the same time frame, work started to get…different. That’s what Minnesotans say when they don’t like something: “that’s different”. So work got very different and then my only outlet got cut back to once a week at most. There were months where I only got to ride once. This is a heavy load to bear when it’s not your choice to cease an activity. Logic says “just find another lease!” but logic clearly doesn’t live in this area. All in all, 2015 was a bit of a bummer.

Emo pizza cuts itself. Get over yourself, this is 2016!

 

I am back on track and in good spirits leading into the new year. I am making no resolutions or horse related goals at this point, but I have chosen to focus on wellness this year- in all of its facets.

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Tonight my lesson may or may not be a special one as I may or may not be trying a horse that I may or may not lease. Also, the blogosphere is a very kind, small, network and I have been given details on another potential lease.

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I know that you’ve hurt in the past, but if you want it, here’s my heart, no strings attached!

What?! inner monologues like to have a little fun too.

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It may seem like I really am back where I started a year ago, but things have changed now, and I have very healthy perspective that I did not have last year. Right now, I am just going to let things play out a little. Don’t worry, I won’t need as much hand holding this time around. In fact, I think it’s best if this is the most I say on the matter for a while.

Right! Because, again, nothing is happening.

Just know there is some behind-the-scenes action going on in the EquiNovice realm and you all will be the first to know if, indeed, anything actually happens!!

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