Saturday, May 30, 2009

And it Begins...

My dreams of becoming a competitive rider reign once more.

My coach and I spent the day together shopping. Not really horse-related, but we got to spend a large amount of time discussing mine and Zydo's future.

First thing: Get the damn horse into a show ring before he attempts to take his own life once more. For the love of God, let there not be more injuries to my horse. *Pause for contemplative prayer*

Next order of business: It will take two months to get the two of us into shape. That's right: My coach went there. She mentioned ME.

"The horse is out of shape. But you need some work as well."


I need to walk, jump rope, work on some abdominals, do some squats, and quit drinking beer.

Alternatively, I can continue drinking beer, but the squats, sit-ups, and rope jumping need to be quadrupled.

This is a tough decision, folks.

My ideal goal is to be ready for the first show in the show catalogue by July 18th. My dream show occurso n July 5th of this year. My coach feels that the two of us together, with out winter rolls of excess fat and our inability to climb stairs -- or hills-- without losing our breath, will relegate us to showing in August.

Zydeco and I must become fit.

It is now or never, and really, with the mindset I currently have, it is now.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It has arrived....

After many arduous hours working away at the ring, it is complete.

We had to rent a tractor, which was a process in and of itself and I'm sure will become a post in and of itself. I am basking in joy right now and will not weigh down this post with my anger at the difficulties involved in renting a tractor in this county.

Both tractors worked in harmony to finish the ring in a record of about five hours. In all, it didn't take as long as we thought it would, but it was a long day for those out actually doing the work.

By six p.m. tonight, I was on the back of my magnificent Thoroughbred, having the ride of a lifetime. I was a little bit scared as this was the first time Zydo had someone on him since he hurt himself, but he never blinked or took a sore step.

This is what I continue to love about Zydeco, his willingness to go on and go forward regardless of what is keeping him back. I was only able to trot him for a very short period of time and I physically had to fight him to get him back into a walk. He just wants to work and work, and is very rarely crazy about it.

He was a peach the whole time I rode, never stepping a foot out of line. I could have wept in joy for how glad I was to be upon his fine back once more. Really. A tear nearly escaped me.

And now the real fun begins. Now I can ride every day at MY HOUSE. I don't have to drive an hour to get to my horse like I did last summer, or fight to get through fields of hay or worry about oncoming traffic while riding on the road. The amount of freedom I feel in all this is overwhelming: I honestly feel like I can do anything I want without a single limit.

The first task will be to get my fat, lazy horse in shape enough to be ridden for any length of time. After that, the world is my oyster.

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Oh, the Sand-y Glory...


My horse is alive and moving!

And now, LOOK at this...

In celebration of my horse still being alive, we've decided to take the plunge and actually make a place for me to ride him.

Here is me on top of some of the sand we ordered.

I could be riding MY horse on MY farm in MY ring in a matter of days....

There isn't a receptacle big enough on this Earth to contain my excitement.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

On Dogs ...

Dixie came into my life nine years ago around this time. I actually think she was born at the beginning of June in 2000. I thought Dixie was a wonderful idea as, at the time, my eldest brother was expecting his first child and I didn't know how I would possibly wait for that little baby to be born.

Dixie was a wonderful distraction.

My middle brother named her just before he left for Basic Training and although I was angry that my names had been rejected by all, I thought it was quite fitting. I am still irritated that my dog was named after an eighteen year old's crush on Natalie Maines, but it has grown on me after all this time. (And I don't know which of the Dixie Chicks my brother actually had a crush on, or if there even was a crush at all, but this is my strong suspicion.)

Dixie has been through many trials and tribulations in her beagle-y little life. We once lost track of her on the farm and couldn't find her for hours, until we heard an odd howling. And when we followed the sound it turned out that she was stuck in a culvert, having chased some critter or other and could not make it out the other side.

She's been afflicted with bladder stones her entire life and in the winter of 2007 she required fifteen hundred dollars worth of surgery. In Deer Season 2006 Dixie chased a deer to a town over an hour away until she landed in a hunt camp, exhausted and begging for sandwiches from the hunting party she happened upon. SHe was gone for four days and they were horrible, horrible days for me.

Most recently Dixie's antics involve hassling one of my neighbors. She goes to his house with great regularity and the last several times I've shown up to say hello, I am greeted by my own dog. My neighbor refuses to feed her or allow her in the house, but she has made herself quite at home in his porch and enjoys hunting various small game on his property.

Dixie is my cuddle buddy. Every time she curls up on the couch with me, snuggling her petite frame into whatever space she can cram herself into, I think of what a worthwhile friend she has been over the last several years.

Dixie is starting to act and look old. She still howls at me when I come home, bounding with glee to where I am so we can spend several minutes fawning over each other. Its like every time I come home, she is shocked that I have returned and must then show her gratitude by howling and licking. It is a nice little ritual that we have going on.

I don't like the looks of Dixie lately. She seems sore, tired, old. I don't want her to be so. SHe is only nine, and may have a good long period of time left with us, but I really just don't like how she looks a little rough around the edges lately.

I don't understand how an animal can come into a person's life as a novelty and then worm it's way into her heart and stay there permanently. I suppose that no matter what the future holds, Dixie will be a large number of fond memories and happy naps.

But that doesn't mean that the fact that I must let go at some point will be any easier. I'm hoping now that this point will come much later rather than sooner.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Updates? I Promised Updates?

I was reading through this and realize that some period of time ago I promised pictures of gardening, home improvements, a tree I decided to name Hope, and a variety of other things.

My horse's attempt at suicide once more prevented me from doing so.

Zydeco's stitches have held through! We are now on day nine, and he is still standing and still with us. I am so proud of myself for the job at bandaging I have done. The art of bandaging is a fine one, and while the vet said that all of the stitches would surely blow, only two of them have opened up and the wound beneath them is minor. Yay for me! Before this time in my life I was never much of an equestrian expert. I still am not one, but the job I did at not cording him, not causing bandage bumps, not bowing his tendons, and not chafing his skin excites me to no end. I don't care who you are, for a first time bandage-r, I did a fantastic job. (My horse is still standing. I am damn well going to toot my own horn.)

My tree named Hope prospers. Have I photographed her? No, I have not. I don't know when she will begin to bear fruit, but I have all kinds of hopeful plans for what I will do with the fruit once it begins to come. (Pear jam? Pear Wine? Pear pie?)

The Ranch continues to need improvements every day, if for no other reason than the fact that nature takes its course. Branches die, trees fall over, weeds reign. I need to take all of this out and make it pretty. The summer will be long this year, and I hope to have an awful lot of work done by the time fall joins us again.

I started at university again in hopes of aquiring an honour's degree. This is sure to be a long and windy road, but in order to make the money that I want to make (there are a lot of horses to support in my future), I need to have a Master's, and before that? The Honour's is mandatory. My new school is heavenly in that the people who speak rudely to me only do so in my native language. The first day was deflating beyond belief as there is a large amount of bureaucratic red tape for me to get through in order for me to get in the program I want, but I am taking that by the horns as well.

I also got a new hairstyle which is pretty exciting to me. I've gotten my hair permed (Pictures to follow at some point, I swear, even though I have made this promise before) and I kind of love it. Well, I love how it feels to not have miles of straight hair hanging out of my head. I'm not sure how I feel about the look yet, but it feels so much lighter and nicer that I don't think I even care how it looks.

The vet is coming early this morning to take out the stitches and tell me how Zydo is doing. I can't wait to see the look on his face when he sees my horse not only standing, but with all but two of his stitches intact.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Let The Rain Wash it all Away...

As the title indicates, it has been raining here in CowTown, much to my delight. The puddles of blood around my yard are now gone, replaced with puddles of mud.

The vet was here today and upon seeing Zydeco standing outside the barn said "Wow. I never expected thos stitches to hold through till now." That's a quote. The infection has been kept at bay for now, although the injury is disgusting beyond belief. I went out to take pictures of it this morning, expecting to see a nice line of pretty stitches. Instead I found a green, oozing, gaping wound that almost made me cry. Needless to say, I need not expose the Internet to such photographs.

The vet has said that he fully expects the stitches to blow; that is, the stitches will rip apart because of all the debris that he was not able to get out of the wound. Zydo's pasture is a mud pit and an awful lot of mud, manure, and gravel ended up in his gaping wound before he was brought in and the vet was called. This could easily erupt in Proud Flesh, which Zydeco and I dealt with last year. If not Proud Flesh, any number of infectious issues are possible.

For now, the only thing we can continue to do is keep the wound clean and dry, as well as provide support for his hind legs so that he doesn't begin to limp on one more than the other. This has been accomplished through the fine art of bandaging, which I am beginning to learn today.

Bandaging is indeed an art as it involves angles and pressure and a whole bunch of other things. Zydeco is the best teacher in the world as he stands beautifully for me to pester at his legs while screwing up and needing to re-roll the bandages again and again. You'll see above me practicing my polo bandages. He doesn't need any on the front, but I figured that while he was standing with nothing better to do, I may as well hone some form of equestrian skill.

If nothing else, Zydeco's mood is much better, such that he looks at me in complete and utter confusion when I leave his stall without first handing him apples soaked in painkillers. I'm sure that if he had opposable thumbs, he would be writing a strongly worded letter to the barn manager regarding this issue.

The hard part here is that we don't know if he has sliced through one of the major nerves going to his foot right now, or how his future athletic performance will be affected. At this point I am just thrilled to have my boy still with me. He is to be in his stall, not moving, for the next seven days and the vet will determine his fitness to move after that.

The relief washing over me as well as the nervousness for what the future holds is an odd combination of elation and dread. My trusty boy and I will surely figure something out.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Horse Ownership is Not for The Faint of Heart

I returned from an outing to the movies last night to find my barn looking like a scene from a horror movie. It was like Zydeco said "There are two hundred acres on this farm, and I intend to spew arterial blood over every single one of them." There was blood on the floors, on the walls, and dripping from the bedding beneath him.

There was some sort of incident in the pasture while I was gone and when my father brought him in from the barn he was shooting blood across the stall and so the vet was called. A shot of sedatives (for the horse, not for me), some freezing and twenty stitches later, my horse is still with us. I got this information over the phone and the horse was patched up by the time I got here. That still doesn't mean that I was prepared for what I saw when I arrived.

I did what any rational horse owner would do and began weeping uncontrollably while trying to get the bedding that was thickly coated in blood out of the stall because I couldn't look at it. That was when I noticed it dripping from the deep bedding on the bottom of the stall, as it seems that gravity did its job and pulled it all to the floor.

Zydeco was moaning and pawing while I did this, still dozy from sedation. I stayed up all night going back and forth from the house to the barn for fear that it would start bleeding again. At around one a.m. he began stamping his foot in pain and I was scared he would open up the stitches again, but he managed to pull through.

When I went out to the barn at six this morning, I got an eyefull of what really happened last night and was mortified once more. There was a towel, several gauze pads. some bandages, and puddles of blood around the entrance to the barn.

Zydeco made it through his first night with success. I've medicated him for pain to get through this night and hopefully he won't be bothered by the leg and commence stamping it again. There is nothing worse than a horse who won't quit stamping his foot on the ground.

I spent the day in the pasture trying to track his trail and find out what could be there that would cut him in such a fashion, but to no avail. I found a trail at one point and it just disappears. Perhaps I am just a really bad tracker and I need to call in some backup to find this terrible thing that hurt my horse.

I used to think that it was the environment that was causing these troubles for my horse. Now that there are two other horses living here, however, I realize that my horse must just be a special kind of idiot.

I haven't slept, my hair is greasy and I smell like horse and medical supplies.

I am going to bed.

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