Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In Sickness and In Health

There is a reason I named my horse Mystere...she is still such a mystery to me. We were letting her rest another day or two last week after her last shoeing, she cracked the left front coffin bone when she was a 2 year-old and it always comes up a bit sore. I've been lunging her lightly and she was fine when I left her Sunday afternoon.

Monday afternoon I get a call from my trainer. Missy wasn't eating (a sure sign something is wrong) so they took her temperature and it was 105! A horse's temperature is normally between 99 and 101, so this was a big red flag. The vet came and checked her and didn't think it was colic, so she gave her a shot of banimine, which is basically horsey Tylenol and said to keep taking her temperature. She took some blood, which came back positive for a viral infection, so antibiotics weren't going to help. Her temperature has been fluctuating, but is still over 102, so we are continuing with the meds and just giving her hay, which is all she seems to want to eat.

When I went to see her she had those sad eyes that animals get when they aren't feeling well, and heat was radiating off of her, poor thing. The vet said she needs a week's recovery for every day she has a temperature. So, at this point, she'll be off for about a month. *sigh*

This happened the same day I found out that the client I had been working all the extra hours for (the home of Mr. Wart Hog), pulled the filing for their IPO. I knew this was going to happen, but still had to put in all those unpaid overtime hours, for nothing. To say I was upset that night was an understatement.

I haven't gone back to actually count, but I think I've ridden Missy 5 times since the first time in May. Every time we get her on schedule something else happens. She's had two major infections, cut herself badly twice (once requiring stiches and staples), and been lame 4 times. I don't want to give her back to the farm -- that was part of the deal we made, if things didn't work out I could give her back -- but I was very frustrated and worried. Worried she's got health issues that will keep cropping up, worried she's too much horse for me, on and on. I just can't imagine giving her up, I love her, but I need a horse that I can ride on a consistent basis as well.

I know this is status quo with horses, shit happens all the time. We even considered buying a cute little Paint mare, but they were asking too much for her. After a very sweet and encouraging email from my trainer in which she told me she would never have suggested I take Miss if she didn't think I could learn to ride her and that I had made great progress considering I started from scratch a little over a year ago, I came down from the ledge and decided to lease the mare I usually ride for lessons, Angel. At least for a little while, until I get more riding time under my belt and Miss has time to get back under saddle. She's young, and maybe being pushed into fairly rigorous training after being off for almost 3 years is still catching up with her.

Feel free to throw words of encouragement my way. Here are two pictures I took of her last weekend.

Looking fat and happy...

and from another angle, looking svelte and fabulous.


  1. Gosh, she really is a beauty, isn't she? While my dream was to have a white horse with black points, there really is nothing more lovely than a properly appointed bay with a shiny coat.

    I hope she gets better soon!

  2. Donna--that sucks. I know exactly how you feel. I go through those same emotions and thoughts about Maddy. She is a very complicated horse, maybe too much horse for me. I had thoughts about selling her before her fracture, but I felt like I was giving up on her. So I vowed to make her a solid level 2 Parelli horse and then make a decision. Now with her fracture, I worry about everything and it is very pressing. I have to wait 3 more months and see how she does with her healing. When I read that Miss had a coffin bone fracture as well, makes me very worried. Has she ever been on stall rest? Like you, I just want to ride. I just want to enjoy my horse. I have owned Maddy for one year and it has been a roller coaster of emotions and learning experiences. I know I am a better horse person because of it, but dang it is hard! You will figure things out. I am happy you are riding someone else while she heals--it does help. Hang in there girl.

  3. Crikey, Donna, that's a lot of lameness and other health issues to be dealing with! I'm so sorry your girl isn't feeling well and wish her a speedy recovery.

    You know, there are going to be some gentled yearling mustangs available in Oregon next weekend...I'll bet they're just as sound as can be ;)

  4. i hope she recovers quickly! i think it is a great idea to lease for while just to get your riding in.

    if it makes you feel better, a month after i got my TB Gin off the track he lacerated a tendon. 18 month recovery! then, i got him going again for only about 6 mos and he damaged a ligament and was on/off lame for literally over a year. very frustrating! if you add it up, i've probably spent more time helping him recover than actually on his back! but, i love him to pieces.

  5. Oh, Donna. I'm so very sorry. I'm sorry for your horse, but much more sorry for you. I'm glad you're leasing in the meantime.

    She is a beautiful horse. But no one would blame you if you said, "You know, I've waited all my life to have a horse, and though I'd like to have this particular one and follow my dreams with her, riding only five times since May will never get me going with her and isn't much better than not having a horse. It's like having all the heartbreak of having a horse and not much of the pleasure." Donna, I read your post on I Gallop On about how this blog got its name, and I think you need to move on here. If you can give this beautiful mare back to the farm, then you know she will be well cared for. There are many, many sound horses. Perhaps not as beautiful. But your heart needs to not be continually broken. Good luck in all these difficulties, and take care of you as well as the horse!

  6. My goodness what a tough year you are having with Missy. I think Anne gave you some very sage advice. I think if you can afford to lease Angel for a month or so and work on your riding, you might have a better idea what is in store for you with Mis.

    We too have had our share of horse ailments. Some years are harder than others. Hang in there, it will get better.

  7. Oh Donna, that is heartbreaking that you've got to let her rest for so much longer (totally understand it, but I also hear the pain and longing in your post). I'm glad leasing riding time is an option for you: takes the pressure off you and her until you see how things fare down the line. Hope your beautiful girl heals quickly and well.

  8. Listen here, cowgirl, don't you go given up on her just yet. She's gorgeous! Hang in there... P's guitar teacher tells him that when it gets really bad and you really want to quit, I mean really just want to throw the whole damn thing out with the baby AND the bath water... well, that's when you're about to have a breakthrough.

    I hope yours comes soon.

    Happy riding!

  9. Hi Donna, I really feel for you. This is hard stuff. Our andalusian injured a coronary band a while ago, we literally had to have the hoof wired back together, special shoeing, special vet work, it was very expensive and took over a year for her to recover. Now, after a couple of good years of being sound again, she's very stiff in that hind leg, and she is not ever going to be the same again, despite our efforts. But I've had her over a decade, and nothing short of death or losing everything I had would make me give her up. She's a member of our family. I'd have a vet who I trust come out and give me an assessment of her long-term usability and soundness, if he/she can. Maybe it's just a matter of some time off for her to be sound. And, while it hurts to say it, she could possibly have some larger problems. It can be hit and miss with our horses. I tend to agree with Anne. You have waited a long time for a horse of your own, but this is a very personal decision, Donna, and if I were in your shoes, I don't know if I could give her back. If you decided to give Miss back to the barn, then you'd have the assurance that she would be taken care of. But, I know, you will still have the heart ache because you love her. I'm glad you're leasing a horse you can ride right now. I'd be tempted to keep Miss and buy myself another, but that could be extremely expensive, something I probably couldn't afford if I were boarding. What does the vet say about her? If you want to talk about it, give me a call. I'll email you my phone #. I'm going to be at this vaulting thing until about 4PM today (Mountain time).

    Pax. Kimberly

  10. This is a tough post. I've been thinking about a comment to you but just can't quite bring myself to insinuate my opinion on you.
    I've got your back in any direction you decide to turn.

  11. Wishing you all the best in your decision with Missy. I've been through those tough decisions. So understand how difficult it is.

    You have lots of friends supporting you on this!

  12. I'm sorry I missed this post. I'm not sure how that happened but it did.

    I hope that Missy is doing better. I don't think there's anything that scares me more than a high temperature in a horse. I can imagine how you must feel.

    I'd never heard that you must give a horse a week off for each day with a high temp. I wonder what the thought is on that.

    Like Kathy C, I have dealt with EPM and its devastation. It was long, hard and sometimes terriying. But the horse and I did came out the other side. Even though it took years, I wouldn't have given that horse up to avoid the pain.

    I am glad that you have a horse available that you can lease so you can still be riding while your mare is recuperating. I think it will make things easier for you to be able to be focusing on your riding skills instead of worrying about what's coming next.

    And I'm with photogchic, Hang in there!