Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blast from the Past...

I have to make a confession here, and announce that my recent falls off of horses have scared me. Or scarred, me, whichever you prefer.

After Zydeco moved back home and was treated for his injury, he needed some excercise. He was ready to ride last Monday.

I rode him on a hack and he was generally OK, if not a little crazed. There is nothing I can stand less than a crazed horse, and so when he swung his head from side to side and skittered, I leapt off him like SuperMan and wept quietly into his neck.

After I had wept for a period of time, my mother quietly asked me what I wanted to do. What I wanted to do was put him back in the barn, and so that is what I did.

I know that I need to make some decisions here, and I'm not sure how to make them. I have always been weary of horses, scared that they will pitch me to Heaven's End, and now that it has happened, I am more scared than ever.

And so, I did the only thing I could think of to do. I called in another rider.

Adam is a longtime friend I have, and he has made it to fourth level dressage riding. For those of you not in the know, that's pretty freakin' good. Like, I'd kill to ride at the fourth level. I don't even think I've made it half way to the first level at this point.

I wanted to see if Zydo's behaviour with me was due to my riding, or due to some other factor. So Adam saddled him up and rode him until he was in a frothy lather of sweat. And Zydo did all the things that he does with me and more, the head tossing and the skittering hither and yon...

But Adam was able to sit it through and deal with it.

So this is my new goal as a rider, to suck it up and deal with it, to not leap off of Zydeco's back and weep when he takes a sideways step.

Zydo moves back to my coach's farm on Monday, now that he is back to his old self again. I have another show coming up in September, and I need to ride him like I own him so that the two of us can compete together.

It is all about the baby steps when it comes to riding... getting over the fears and qualms that I have, and moving forward onto something better.

Bring it on....

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pulling a No-Show...

Zydeco moved back home on Monday.

He injured himself at his other farm by kicking himself in the ankle. The injury has only worsened in the week or so since it happened, and so it just doesn't make sense for me to pay money to board him away from home while I can't ride him. I am very confused as to how this all happened. It seemed to go from one day to the next, with him being sore and only walked, to him being happy and ready to jump. When I last rode him, he was perfect, and the following day, we were very, very concerned about his health.

My father is currently tending to the sore in a manner in which only he can. While we've certainly had our disagreements over horse care (read: The Great Sweet Feed Debate of 2007), one thing my Dad can do is provide proper bandaging and care. Because Zydo has arthritis in his right leg, and his injury is to his left leg, the right leg needs support while the left leg heals.

I am phenomenally deflated about all of this, and I am doing my best to not fall into a heap in the depths of despair. Riding has been my thing for the last several weeks, it has been the reason I've been getting out of bed in the morning. Spending time with my horse has given me hope and inspiration and all kinds of wonderful things. And while I can't ride any more, what am I supposed to do?

I've been visiting Zydo in his stall, where he has been put on stall rest, and scratching him and talking to him. While I love spending time with my horse, wherever he is, I really just want to be upon his fine Thoroughbred back.

My coach still has several horses available for me to ride, and for that I am ever grateful. Zydo should be back to his old self within the next two weeks.

So, for now, I am just keeping positive and not falling apart entirely.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Let The Show Begin...

Zydeco and I are heading off to our first show in seven days. Well, technically, eight days, but seven days from now I'll be clipping and bathing and brushing and shining.

I have to say that I am absolutely thrilled that my coach has found a show that Zydo can enter. The problem with Zydo is (And this is the ONLY time I will ever say 'problem' and 'Zydo' in the same sentence, because he is ever the perfect horse) that he has arthritis. It is quite manageable at this point, but the medication he takes precludes him going in a recognized show.

I've wept over this countless times, because there is nothing I want more than to take my perfect boy over fences for all the world to see. Were it my choice, I would buy him a bionic leg and take him straight to the Olympics.

I am entering him in two command classes and one class over small X-rails. This is minimally due to his arthritis, and mostly due to my lack of skill as a rider.

Here you see Zydo and I leaping over a log fence. I love this picture because of the look on his face. If you put a fence in front of this horse, he perks right up and his expression states clearly that he MUST proceed towards it at a perfect pace, bound effortlessly over top of it, and land on the correct lead every time.

I know that, in reality, this show is really not a big deal, but I could be going to the Olympics for all the excitement I'm feeling right now. I have no idea if we will be good enough to warrant a ribbon or not; I don't really care.

I just know that I'm taking my boy to a show, that he will do exactly as I ask, and that he will be amongst the most dashing horses there.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Which My Ass Meets Grass....

I came off two horses today, within the same hour. If I keep my right arm propped up on my knee, and my knee propped up in the chair, I can mostly type without screaming out in discomfort too loudly.

First I fell off Zydo, and I have to say that it was nothing short of thrilling. A dog leapt out of the fenceline, taking Zydo by surprise. So, he did the only rational thing he could think of: He reared high, high up in the air, and took off sideways at top speed.

I remember looking at his belly and his right leg, and then seeing hooves above me before I realized that I was on the ground. My right leg was above me and still in the stirrup, and as a result I was dragged for a very short distance in the grass. This is how my new show breeches looked at the end of the day:

After that, I hopped back on (Hopped being a relative term, as my legs are not that strong and Zydo is impressively tall) and finished out my ride without fuss.

Next, I hopped on Winter, a lovely little quarterhorse who was in a bit of a mood today. First she deaked out from in front of the fence. When we went at the fence again, she simply stopped in front of it.

I, however, continued on in a forward motion, such that I landed with my head in the sand, and my left hip on the fence. I daintily bounced off that, wrenching my shoulder in the process. I'm kind of confused myself as to how the whole thing went down, what with being upside down and in excruciating amounts of pain and all.

I'm not gonna lie here: I cried like a baby. After I'd done some deep breathing exercises, I shakily remounted the horse and continued on, but the pain in my left arm was too much to bear. Getting off the horse again was a whole new experience for me, and once I finally was off, I collapsed again beside the horse and began weeping.

All of the mobility was lost in my left arm, the pain was shooting down into my elbow, and I couldn't move it. We iced it, we left it alone, and an hour later I was in such pain that I couldn't speak without screaming obscenities and begging Our Heavenly Father for assistance.

I was examined briefly at the hospital and told to not move my arm for two days, and keep it in a sling for that time to a maximum of a week. If it hurts I'm not to move it.

What the doctor doesn't know is that I have my first ever horse show in TEN DAYS and, God help us all, I will be there with bells on. And whatever casting will be needed by that time.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

In Response

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how I feel sane and rational for one of the first times in my life. I receieved a comment asking about taking myself off of my trusty CrazyMeds, as I affectionately referred to them in the past. Hopefully I can answer some questions here.

I deliberated on whether or not I should quit taking meds for quite some time. My final decision was made when I saw my doctor about my feelings and he gave me a prescription for a new drug, one I don't even remember the name of. I filled the prescription but never took them. The reasoning behind this is as follows:

When I first started taking medication for the problems I have, it took a long time to work up to a dose that actually helped me. For a couple of years, I was on the highest dose of that drug, and it quit working. We fiddled around with some new medications for a while, and then I gave up on that and went back to my old standby. When it quit working for good, I was put on another medication, one that wreaked havoc of my body and my mind. I went up to higher than the highest possible dose of that, almost died, and was switched to the drug that I quit taking in April or May.

When that one quit working, about eighteen months after I started taking it, I saw my doctor again and he recommended a stronger drug than the one I was already on.

And so, I feared that I would spend the rest of my life being fine for a while, and then being suddenly not fine and needing stronger and stronger medication. Since I was seventeen, this has been the case.

Further, I wanted to see if, at this point in my life, I could manage my symptoms without medication.

Coming off the medication was hellish, to say the least. I was not supervised by my doctor, and this is strongly not recommended by anyone (especially me). I had a large number of electronic-type shock feelings in my brain, huge mood swings (Weeping, then singing out with glee, then more weeping, lather, rinse, repeat). I lost sleep, I lost some weight, I fretted that I was going straight back to the place that I lovingly refer to as Crazy.

It took about four weeks. Maybe six in total? It was painful and hurty and I worried every day that I was doing my brain permanent damage by subjecting it to these strange shocking sensations. They would literally jar my body and occasionally render me unable to move. I had terrible headaches, I was frequently dizzy, and the only thing that made it better was sleeping, which I couldn't do a whole lot of. I was also nauseous, I couldn't really eat. I took to taking the long way everywhere I went in my trusty little car so that I could alternately sing at the top of my lungs, weep, and have a cigarette before I got to my destination.

I'm happy to say that I made it out alive, that I'm now free of the strange jolting shocking sensations. I feel generally ok, but I think that's because I've been getting so much exercise. I really feel that exercise is key, here, because you need to be tired at the end of the day. Physical exhaustion can easily override emotional upheaval. If I'm physically tired at the end of the day, it is much easier to fall asleep at night, and not have my mind whirl around all of the things that my crazed mind can whirl around.

I'm perfectly open to the fact that at some point in my future, I may need the assistance of medication again. I don't know when or how I will know, and I don't especially look forward to that happening. However, I do know that right now I am fine and I am particularly happy with myself for trying.

And so, here I am. I don't speak that often about my Insanity any more, not because it isn't so much a part of my life, but because I've been exploring it on a more personal level, one that I don't necessarily want to share with the whole wide Internet.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008


I rode my horse again today, that wonderful Thoroughbred who I'm pretty sure I will name my firstborn child after.

As soon as I was on him, he charged away from me. He did this three times, in fact, and I did not feel an ounce of terror in my heart: Instead, I felt joy and wonder, because all that horse really wants to do?

Is go.

He wants to run and canter and leap over fences. He wants to have the correct number of strides between his obstacles, and if he doesn't get it, he makes up for it. He wants to run until his neck is lathered to froth in sweat and then? Once he is lathered?

He still wants to keep going.

Today I had to forcibly stop him from trotting or cantering. I had to force him to walk in a forward motion until the froth had dissipated from his neck.

And I must say that I am jealous. I wish I had that much urge to please the people around me, I wish I had what it took to keep running despite the fact that I was already huffing and puffing. This horse wants to move. He wants to go. He wants to run and he wants me to stay with him.

And for that, I love him, and the glee in my heart simply can not be spelled out in words for the Internet to understand.

And as a result, you'll just have to take my word on it.

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