Monday, March 30, 2009

Oh, The Things I Could Say...

Alot has been going on here in Cowtown of late. Tia's pregnancy has been confirmed, and here is a picture of her baby to prove it. If you can pick out the horse without seeking the advice of a medical professional... Well, clearly you ARE already a medical professional.

The changes that have overcome Tia since being 'in foal' are overwhelming. It is like she has become a new person, not a fan at all of leaping around like a maniac, puffing and breaking into a sweat every time something Earth Shattering happens, like wind blowing or people making eye contact with her.

My first round of course materials have been shipped from my online university and I am very excited to get started. I can't wait to feel like I'm working towards something again. This from the person who swore to never attend another post secondary institution ever again in this lifetime. Meh, I like it.

I've also been spending a time with an individual lately, and not an individual of equine descent. This has been going on for quite some time now, since before December, and I haven't posted of it on my blog for a variety of reasons. Typically the individuals I spend time with tend to be... Difficult. Things this time around have been going slowly but surely, quietly and with a kind of delicate simplicity that I am really fond of. This whole thing that is going on is very much suited to my needs at this point: neither party is being particularly needy or annoying, bothersome or dependent. I don't feel crowded emotionally or physically, and I like these aspects of what is going on.

The Little Chevy and I are possibly coming to the end of our relationship, and after a car shopping expedition this morning I have to say that I am concerned for my vehicular future. I really want to drive something fun and interesting, but at the same time I know that financially these are not wise decisions to be making, especially as I'm wading into this whole school business again. At the same time I don't see myself coming home with a Cobalt or a Calibre, which is what I thought I'd be looking at a year ago.

The me of a year ago and the me of today are another thing weighing heavily on my mind, and as per usual, Joomy is right there cheering me along in the changes I've been making. Only it is more like changes are happening and I'm a passive bystander in everything that is going on. I am quite possibly the healthiest I have been right now in years, physically and emotionally, and that is quite thrilling for me. But I'm a little confused as to some of the other things going on. I imagine my state of unsettled-ness will ease as time goes by.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Sanity Reigns...

My parents have left me to my own devices once more here at The Ranch. The last time I was left here alone, Tia lost her mind. No, really. Her mind was no longer at one with her person. She trashed the barn, spun in circles in her stall until I couldn't even get in to feed her, and then she kicked me.

After that, I told my parents that they were no longer allowed to leave me here alone caring for horses, as I don't feel that I should have to risk my life as part of a contract for living here.

And oddly enough, here I am. After lengthy discussions, emergency planning, and ideas on how to deal with every horse misbehaviour that exists, I am alone with horses.

I have my trusty neighbor friend coming over twice a day to help me care for these horses that we own. I was pretty nervous this morning but we went out and fed grain and changed blankets and began this process that we refer to as 'turning out.'

In normal barns, turning out is not an anxiety inducing process at all. You clip your horse to a lead and bring it to the pasture. Process over.

In my barn, however, I am frequently near. And when I am near, insanity reigns. Myself and Tia alone are enough to give normal people full on heart attacks.

Now, Tia does not particularly like men (Except my father. She loves my Dad.) and so my neighbor friend was instructed to not go near Tia for fear that her brain matter would boil up into her skull and make her incompetent to be lead.

On the way out of her stall, Zydeco, that dastardly fool that he is, attacked Tia and tried to bite her. In response, Tia reared high in the air (Or, as high as the ceiling would allow her to rear) and bolted out of the barn.

I knew she was freaking out, so I used one of the tricks my father has taught me over the years: Go Forward. Tia and I went forward with fervor, and once we rocketed our way out of the barn, she heaved a sigh of relief and walked daintily beside me.

And I am not even making this up.

Tia, the Dancing Queen, the Spinning Enthusiast, the one who is known as She Who Can Not Walk Without Being Four Feet Off The Ground...

She walked daintily beside me.

I did think it kind of odd, and wrote it off as shock due to my horse trying to eat her on her way by his stall door.


Tonight? On the way back to the barn?

She did the same thing. She walked like a little angel, with her head down and her feet firmly planted on the ground, with no spinning or jumping or staring at objects that aren't to be identified by human eyes. Just daintily into her stall.

And then she proceeded to spend the rest of my time in the barn trying to cuddle up with myself or my friends who were with me, nuzzling into our palms and rubbing her face on our jackets.

Clearly, pregnancy agrees with her and has a calming effect on her personality.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An Open Letter:

Dear Zydeco,

In 2007, this whole "thing" that took over me started. At that time it was about me and this sport.

And then I met you, and it became about me, you and the sport. We spent a summer together, and after that summer, it became about us and the sport.

In 2008 I learned more about horses, relationships, riding, jumping, dressage, and passion than I had ever learned in my entire years before that combined, and I realized that it had become about you and the sport.

And now in 2009 it is only about you.

It is not about my desire to move forward and go on to greater things; it is about me giving you one more chance to go on and earn all the ribbons you can earn to wear in your bridle, because you deserve them all. I know that when we go home empty handed this summer, it will be because of my lack of direction in this partnership, and not your lack of expertise or skill.

The vet has only spoken briefly about your X-Rays. I'm confused about the information I recieved but two weeks from now the pictures and the man who can read them will be back here to concoct the best treatment we can for you. This could possibly drain what little savings I've accumulated since I got my new job, and could potentially max out my credit cards, and quite frankly, I don't care.

Is it the year of the horse? Who knows. At my house, it most certainly is.

I have to accept the fact that you won't be here for years and years to come. So I am seizing this one. I am grabbing hold of it and hanging on for dear life, and I am going to ensure that this year is all about you.

Here's our chance.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Taking A Risk

The vet is coming next Monday.

The enormous bill that this is likely to create is the furthest thing from my mind.

When I fell in love with Zydo upon first seeing him on a webpage almost two years ago, I knew that he had soundness issues. I had my parents carefully examine him from tooth to toe before I allowed myself to go near him because they wanted to make sure that he wasn't about to drop dead the day after we brought him home. His previous owner hid nothing from us when we went to look at him and then again when I went back to ride him for the first time. I will always cherish her honesty, because often times when you buy a horse (or anything, really) people try to hide the flaws.

Zydeco has arthritis and takes pain medication for it. We've also tried a number of treatments, such as having his knees injected with sonovial fluid and other herbal remedies.

Zydo takes a painkiller commonly known as bute. It is cheap, it is easy to administer. Some of the side effects include liver or kidney damage when it is used long term. I suppose it is the human equivalent of taking acetomenophen regularly.

Even though I haven't been riding much of late, we've noticed the times that I have been on him that he is a little more sore than usual. We consulted the vet the last time he was here, told him the amount of bute he is taking, and, upon his recommendation, upped the amount.

I would like to know the full extent of the damage done to Zydo's knees by this arthritis. I'd like to know if it has eaten away the tissues and ligaments, or if it is just something that is present and not really creating a huge hazard.

The best case scenario here would be for the vet to examine the X-rays and tell me that the damage is minimal, that we can inject him with something that will support the soft tissues and that he can quit taking his painkillers altogether.

My mother has asked me several times now if I am sure that this is what I want. Do I really want to know? Her most pressing question to me was "What if the vet tells you that you can't ride him any more? What are you going to do with a horse you can't ride?"

Often times horses in this situation are sent for meat. I realize that this may create ethical questions in the minds of thousands (including my own); however, I also realize that keeping something as costly and time consuming as a horse for pet purposes is usually not feasible for most people.

That question alone makes my heart stop cold. I shudder to think of my life without Zydeco. I visit him at night after work, I tell him about my day. I scratch him behind the ears and let him lick my palm. He nuzzles into me and chews on the zipper of my jacket.

Regardless of whether I can ride him or not, Zydeco will remain here at The Ranch as a pasture mate for Tia and Summer. Thankfully, there is enough hay in the barn to support him for years to come, and I am in such a situation to keep him until the end.

This vet call is on my mind quite a bit and I won't be at rest until after the X-rays are complete and the information is all there in front of me. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, and trying not to fear the worst.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Five Hundred, Twelve Dollars and Thirty Five Cents

I think I'm going to write a really honky tonk style country song with that title. It has a nice ring to it.

Here we go again...

I'm going back to school. Some of you may not have been with my on my last journey through higher education. For those of you needing a recap on the Donkey Ball Suckage that went on there, please feel free to click here.

My last attempt at education was successful, but very trying. I don't know if all institutions of higher learning are as difficult. But I figure I may as well find out while I'm still young and limber.

I currently have *trumpets, please* a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science with Concentration in Sociology. It sounds dreamy, doesn't it? Fancy, cultured, aware.I also have a diploma in Child and Youth Work. I love the sound of my credentials. My alphabet soup, I believe, is "Bsc Soc, CYW." Nine whole letters. If only I had a business card.

Unfortunately, these credentials just aren't doing it for me. I need more.

I need an Honour's Degree in Sociology.

And then...

I need a Master's degree. (Oh, Yes. I said the "M" word.) (The Master's will NOT be in Sociology. There are only so many places a degree in studying the idiotic crap that people do will take you, and I don't plan on going to those particular places.)

I went to one of my schools today (I will be doing some courses in person on a campus, and some courses through distance education) and as I was practically dancing through the campus after a successful meeting, my mother turned to my dearest friend and said:

"This from the high school dropout."

Indeed, I was prancing around stating that if I could walk and tap my heels together, I would. After all, it is not every day that you go somewhere to pay thousands of dollars for an education, and the administration speaks to you in your native tongue. I could have hugged each person I dealt with. Really. I wanted to. It is also not every day that you wake up and think that you can take a new direction in your life, and then actually put on pants and start getting it done.

I've perused the course lists, I've selected a course, paid a little bit of money and accumulated two student numbers.

I'm excited. I don't plan do be done my studies until I'm thirty, so no need to move too quickly. No need to place undue pressure on the person who has horse show aspirations and a million hour per week job.

Here we go again, indeed.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

The Great Return...

Tia's boyfriend lives just down the road from us, and a right turn away. However, Tia's ride home from her boyfriend's house was a long and windy one. That's just how Tia rolls.

The romance wasn't exactly over when she was brought home, but everyone involved had had enough of her prancing around with her tail in the air like some kind of harlot. Our mare is a lady.

And so she returned to the land of Thoroughbreds, whose heights outdo her and whose spirits will not be held back by her biting of their faces.

I went down to visit the lot of them, with their noses sticking out of their stalls after work tonight. I brought with me a *plastic* bag of apples.

My one true joy in horse ownership is to feed my horse treats at the end of a long day. That long day generally has nothing to do with having ridden my horse for all he's worth, as I spend so much time away from home that I generally can't ride him.

And so, I feed him treats so that he knows that he is my one true horse, and that I love him dearly. When working with equines, love can always be purchased with carrots and apples.

This is the bain of my father's existence. He hates nothing more than a person feeding a horse treats by hand.

Tonight I approached with apples, which Tia tends to dislike. A carrot, she will accept. An apple? She has to think about. (Zydo and Summer scarfed theirs down so quickly that I don't think they tasted them, but that is neither here nor there. They are boys, they are Thoroughbreds. Enough said.)

Tia was wary of the apple. She had to sniff it and dart back a time or two before she took it from my hand, and ate it carefully as though it was poisoned.

And as she ate her last apple, the bag became empty. I noticed that Tia was concerned about the presence of the plastic bag in her barn, so I decided to crumple it and see what her reaction would be.

She bolted away from the door of her stall and I decided she needed some aversion therapy.

And then Tia proceeded to attempt to escape the solid plywood wall of her stall, kicking out with her hind legs and shivering as though a wildcat was standing in the doorway.

Life here at The Ranch just isn't the same without our much loved Arabian mare.

I'm glad to have her home.

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