Friday, July 18, 2014

I'm Back!!!

As the movie Poltergeist says "They're baaaack". It's been 4 years and I decided to resurrect my blog after some prodding from friends.  After about an hour of trying to remember passwords and user names I finally was able to log back in and take a look back at my life 4 years ago.  Wow have things changed! Some have changed for the better and some not without a lot of heart break. So let's just take a minute to quickly recap the last 4 years of my life... Well first, I lost my beloved Possum to sand colic in May of 2011, and 3 short months later I lost my best friend and dog Phin due to complications of lyme disease. This was without a doubt the hardest thing emotionally I have ever had to overcome in the my life.  Thankfully I was in a relationship at the time (And still am) with someone who was very supportive and basically just let me fall apart and try and deal with things from the ground up.  When Possum died I was lost not having a horse in my life and not having equestrian goals anymore. My parents thought I should take a break from horses and just get my life together but after a couple of months I felt like I had been starving and was gasping for the air that it was to have a horse again.  I did keep riding horses at the boarding barn but as most of you know, it's just not the same. I casually browsed online sale, ads mostly free for the taking and came across a young TB in Mass. On a whim I called and set up an appointment to drive the 3 hrs down there to look at him. I kept my emotions at bay pretty well and just tried to look at him objectively. He was a stunning almost black 16.2 hands 6yo gelding who had been off the track for about 5 months.  His owner got him off the track and just never bonded with him and was pretty nervous of riding a green horse.  Her trainer had ridden him twice and her daughter rode him about 4 times. I hopped on him walk, trot and he was great, kind of quirky personality but super fun and forward. I went home and thought about it a week before making a decision, as this would be a lifetime commitment. I decided to take him and made arrangements to go down and pick him up the following weekend. JP was green but caught on quickly and we had a lot of fun learning together. The same summer I got JP, my partner and I bought a house 4 miles from the barn that needed to be finished. I thought everything was finally working out, but that August my Phin died and I was thrown for a loop again. Just when I thought I was getting it back together, the universe knocked me down again.

As I slowly healed from those two big losses, our house was also slowly being finished and JP was coming along in his riding. He loved to jump and run and we were quickly forming a solid bond.  I found him to be so much easier than Possum. There were no fights no real struggles and his athleticism was 10x that of Possum. JP did teach me one thing though, and that was about emotions. I could not lose my cool with him, if I became emotional in any way he would just shut down and not move no matter what I did.  This really made me take a look at myself on a deeper level and helped to make my riding and training that much more advanced. As things were starting to once again come together and my partner and I moved into our newly finished home, the barn where I boarded for years and was my safe haven and where all my friends and supports were, was starting to unravel. The number of horses on the farm kept increasing while the help and daily chores decreased.  Breeding of horses was getting out of control while the resources to feed and keep them became more scarce. I became more and more concerned and made sure I was at the farm every day to make sure my horse had food and water. The owners' focus had shifted from good quality riding and horse care to maintaining a dating life and her own physical image. As much as she lost weight and stopped eating, so were many of the horses on the farm. Others shared my concerns but felt that if they just tried harder to help her and make sure things were taken care of, it would somehow right itself.  Having a background in psychology and working in the social services field, I knew that this was just a way of smoothing over symptoms and not really getting to the root of the problem. Things had festered for so long I felt that this had really turned into a psychological problem.  I had a very hard tome coming to terms with this because the owner was my friend and someone who I had respected and looked up to for her experience and riding. On an early winter evening an intervention was formed and with care and delicate wording it was decided that we would band together and confront the owner about the serious issues that were ensuing on the farm. We all agreed to help and support as much as we could and formulated a plan as such, as long as the owner admitted that there was a problem and wanted to make a behavior change. Well, as I'm sure you can tell, things didn't work out that well and a divide and conquer technique was used as a defense mechanism that because highly successful in planting the seed of doubt in others minds. Because I had already mentally and emotionally come to terms with what had become a reality on the farm, I became the scapegoat for these doubts and marked a villain because my perception of reality did not waiver as these waves of doubt washed over others. Another series of abuse and neglect happened at the farm and it was at that time I decided to do what was best for JP and myself and that was to move to another barn. I knew the owner would not take it well, but I finished up my chores for the week and only after I was done did I let her know that not only had I decided to leave, but the reasons why I was leaving.  Well this went over worse than a fart in church and she quickly became defensive and tried backpedaling and as a last resort began yelling accusations at me.  It was at that point I realized that the relationship I once had with a pretty awesome person and horse woman had come to an end. Even the weather at the time seemed to indicate it, it was drizzling, freezing rain with dark angry clouds on the verge of dusk. I made arrangements on the following day to pick up JP and move to another barn. As one chapter closed, another was beginning. I'm not going to lie though, I was really scared for the horses and other animals on the farm.  Now that I could not personally put eyes on them everyday I had no idea how they were doing. I had formed relationships with these animals and cared very much for them.  After I had moved to another barn I heard snip-its of goings on at the farm and it was not positive at all.  My heart still aches for what was and how much fun it used to be up there and the great amount of support we all felt.

On the topic of barns, my partner and I are currently in the process of building a barn at home.  A two stall shed row with a grain and tack room and a small loft.  Why 2 stalls you ask.....Well I have acquired another horse! I will save a post on Al for another day hehehe.

So after I moved JP to another barn about 30 min away he suffered a pasture accident 2 weeks after moving. He somehow fractured his coffin bone on the frozen ground. After weeks of thinking that it was an abscess (they have similar symptoms) I trailered him to get a x ray and sure enough it was a nasty fracture. So once again when things seem like they are looking up, I get knocked down flat on my ass again.  I was devastated at the thought of possibly losing this horse that I had grown to love. Thank goodness I had brought a friend with me who was a big support and kept me talking to keep my brain moving and not get stuck on the woe is me saga. I decided to pour myself into JP's recovery and give it my best shot.  He was a wonderful patient through it al. He was fitted with a cuff shoe to keep the foot encased and out in a small paddock to keep his movement to a minimum.  It was long year and few months but gradually he began to heal and become more sound. It was a real tough time for me and a time of reflection. I really had to step back and take a hard look at myself and what I wanted and expected in my horses. It made me more humble and appreciate for what I do have.  I started working with a project horse on the side at the barn to take up my time and keep me riding. I will post about that tomorrow ;)

JP is now doing awesome. He became totally sound this spring and I was able to ride him again.  I will never forget the feeling of climbing up on his back when I had my doubts that I would ever see the world from that view again. I was absolutely giddy and he was more than happy to move out. I felt like I had the use of my own legs again and freedom had once again opened its doors to me. JP is currently getting over a pretty nasty abscess in the non-broken foot, but anything after this past fracture seems like small beans to me! Once he is sound again we will start back at the beginning and slowly build up his fitness once again. Through this whole ordeal I have come to appreciate the journey so much more than I used to. I don't take any day with my animals for granted and make sure to love them as much as I humanely can. With all of the ups and downs in the past four years I have definitely grown intellectually, emotionally and mentally. There have been smiles, tears, fists clenched in anger and frustration, feelings of helplessness and through it all being thankful.

Well, it's been a long time since I have written this much and my fingers are starting to cramp so I guess I will sign off for the day. I think I will stick with this blogging thing again for a while. It's cathartic to be able to write down my thoughts and feelings again, since let's face it, I have a lot of them! haha. I guess tomorrow I will start with my second horse, the standby pony who has brought me so much unexpected joy and helped me to achieve a dream and goal that I have always wanted to accomplish. So I leave you today with lyrics from an older song that has been swirling around in my head for a few days now. I think it appropriate for this time in my life and with the new breath of life given to this blog. Also, take a listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7PufAygAxI
Play Music
"Release"

I see the world
Feel the chill
Which way to go
Windowsill
I see the words
On a rocking horse of time
I see the birds in the rain

Oh dear dad
Can you see me now
I am myself
Like you somehow
I'll ride the wave
Where it takes me
I'll hold the pain
Release me

Oh dear dad
Can you see me now
I am myself
Like you somehow
I'll wait up in the dark
For you to speak to me
I'll open up
Release me
Release me
Release me
Release me

1 comment:

The Overanxious Girl said...

Holy cats! welcome back!!! I nearly un-followed you this spring since you hadn't posted in so long! I'm so sorry about Possum and Phin. I lost Junior in December to a double impaction colci/post surgery so I feel for you. I look forward to hearing more from you.