Sunday, June 7, 2009

And I Begin Again

Last Monday I started a new job at a large software company in a management role. To say it was an exhausting and overwhelming five days doesn't even begin to cover it. The week was capped off by a frantic weekend email thread to hash out a crisis I will have to deal with first thing tomorrow morning.

I did set up a schedule for myself and was able to stick with it all week:
Decide on outfit, iron, etc. the night before
Get up when alarm goes off -- no snooze
Arm exercises
Hair & makeup
Out the door within 1 hour (ish)
Stop to get coffee
Arrive at work before my manager

I've had these four pictures enlarged and framed for my desk. I'm sitting in a temporary space until next Wednesday when I move into my permanent space. I am looking forward to decorating my new home.

I also started with a new physical therapist this week. She works very differently than the first one, but I think she's doing exactly what I need right now. My main problem at this point is my subscapularis muscle, which originates from the underside of the shoulder blade and inserts at the front of the upper arm (humerus - the bone I broke). It is a very powerful muscle that rotates the arm inwards and is part of the rotator cuff group of muscles. My subscapularis muscle has checked out completely, so when I try to rotate my arm outward or inward, my entire shoulder blade moves. We also started working on strength this week. I bought a 3 pound barbell at the sporting goods store -- I can only do 10 or 12 reps of the exercises right now but it's a start.

Just when we thought Missy's leg and hoof problems were close to being over, she came up lame on her other hind (right). It's probably an abcess, which isn't really surprising considering the systemic infection that's been racing through her body for the past two months. So she is on stall rest for another week, maybe two, depends on what actually happens.

Sometimes I wonder if this was such a good idea after all. I love her to death, but her family has a terrible track record when it comes to lameness issues. In the two and a half years that I've been at this facility, both of her full sisters have been off for significant periods of time due to health issues. Her oldest sister Somerset is the property owner's mare, has the best care possible, yet can only be ridden every three or four months. Her middle sister Sera has both attitude and health issues, which is why they bred her two years ago. Since she had her filly she's only been ridden a half dozen times.

I look at this picture of me riding Miss and I can hardly believe that that is really me. Another weekend has gone by without me getting on any horse, let alone my own. Thinking about giving Miss back to the barn hurts my heart so much I just can't even imagine it. But I also don't want to continue on this path of disappointment, worry and downtime. I know this comes with horse ownership, it's just very hard. How do you other horse owners deal with this?


  1. Donna, I am so sorry to hear about Missy's ongoing problems. Hope everything works out but if you have to make a decision I know you will make the right one. You and Missy both have all my support.

    The job sounds exhausting and all too familiar. I worked for a large software company in a similar role here in WA. I hope your schedule settles down so it's not like this every week! All the best!

  2. Donna, Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner on Missy's leg, it took me a while to get an answer I could understand enough to translate from Richard.

    He says it's normal in treating that kind of abcess for it to get worse while you are treating it. It's part of the healing. Getting all of that stuff out just doesn't look good but has to happen for her to heal.

    And you are right about it not being usual that she would develop an abcess in the other leg. I sure can see why you'd be disheartened by this whole process. If you depend on your horse to soothe your soul, having this kind of stuff happen makes it a bumpy road.

    Your observations about the family soundness issues definitely warrant consideration. Only you can decide when enough is enough.

    I've had my ups and downs with health issues with horses. I tend to hang in there to get to the bottom of things. Fortunately I haven't had chronic type lameness issues. Mostly I've dealt with things that have interfered with the horse reaching its potential but nothing that stopped me from riding. I don't think I could deal with that for a long term. Riding helps me feel like I have some control in my life when other things get weird. I need that.

    Moving on is something I would do if that's what I needed to be able to ride. Guess I do move on here, but I'm lucky enough I have more than one horse.

    Thinking about you and Missy reminds me of Scandalous and me. When I lost that mare, it broke my heart but when I allowed myself to find a replacement for her, the healing started. The transition was hard but I'm glad that I made it.

  3. How do I deal with it - add to the herd, ha ha!!!
    It is a problem that I seem to have a one-way gate on my pasture...
    I was joking w/a new friend that out of 10, I only have TWO good rideable mounts: 2 are elderly, 2 are babies, and 4 have an assortment of lameness/injury issues - some which are resolvable, and some permanent.
    Meditate on it to decide upon your best solution for Missy.

  4. I seem to find myself in Val's boat as well. We normally end up with unwanted rescue horses with training and/or conformation or health problems. The horse closest to your situation is a rescue Mustang mare that has a long history of recurring laminitis. So far her cannon bone has not rotated down through her sole. More than once we have considered putting her down, but it has usually been more for our concern than hers. When we watch her, even when she becomes tender footed, she still gets around and lives to be with and around the rest of "her" herd. She will never be ridden, but we can still give her a good quality of life. Turning her over to someone else's care offers no guarantees. As long as she does not seem to be in debilitating pain, and obviously longs to be with us or the other horses, we will provide her with loving care, quality food and shelter. Being ridden is not the only purpose in a horse's life. All that having been said, it takes time, and with a pressing new job, it also is not fair to an ailing horse to be attended to only at corporate convenience. Animal ownership isn't easy. Good luck to both you and Missy in whatever you decide.

  5. I really admire how you really open you heart about your horse ownership concerns. Never having been there, I can offer no advice.

    Also, I've been meaning to tell you CONGRATS on landing a great job in this economy! I wonder (but doubt) it's for the same company I work for (also a large international software company)?

    Hoping work is not always that stressful, and that Missy heals up in both legs.

  6. I think it's a fabulous idea to have photos of your loved ones around you at work. I work in a Gallery setting, so my workspace is very public, however, I still have images that provide visual cues for me framed and displayed on my desk. You'll settle into your new routine before you know it and then you'll be looking for some excitement to spice it up a bit. ;o)

    I'm sorry to hear Missy is still not well. She's absolutely gorgeous. I'm not a horse owner, so I can't offer you any advice there other than to follow your inner voice. It will never lead you astray.


  7. Donna, big congrats on the new job! How perfect to have those photos for your desk... great pictures!

    Sure hope the new physical therapist works some magic. You deserve it!

    About the problems with horses, I have a tendency to hang in there even though it isn't always in my best interest. I have this idea that whatever horse with the problem ... "needs me". They tend to stay.

    One exception, I decided one horse we had just purchased and had newly discovered issues would be happier back with the original owner. I was right and everybody was happy, especially me.

    It's great when it doesn't break your heart ... that is the tough one.

  8. great news on the job and the photogs for your heart


  9. Wow! Great news about the job - congratulations!! Glad to hear you're working with a PT too, it takes time and effort, but usually has great results - hang in there. LOVE the pictures of your beautiful dogs - amazing shots! I would have had them enlarged and displayed on my desk too - it's always comforting to have your loved ones to gaze at during stressful times.

    About Missy - it's not uncommon for a second foot to abscess due to the excess weight that leg has been taking while the original foot was painful. Abscesses are quite common, and really aren't considered lameness issues - they just happen. Be patient - you have a lot on your plate right now. DOn't make any hasty decisions you might regret later. Me...I'm always in for the longhaul when it comes to my animals. When I get one - they're with me for life, generally...good or bad. I make a committment to them and stick to it. Riding is great, but not the only benefit that we gleen from our horses - far from it!! Enjoy time with your horse whether you're riding her or not. Listen to your heart.

  10. When Maddy fractured her coffin bone...everyone told me to cut my loses and sell her or put her down. I decided to give her a chance...In the meantime, I begged everyone at the barn "let me ride!" I rode as many as I could. I even helped saddle break a three year old....the experiences I got while Maddy was healing were amazing. I fell in love with many horses and realized I can find joy in all horses. Whatever your decision....just make sure you exhaust your options....without that, you will have regret. Either way, we all support you and know how much care and thought you put in to rebuilding your happiness.