Or: Please don’t let history repeat itself.
This time last year I had gotten my sweet boy Joey unexpectedly back from a lease. Lame.
Lame and rapidly deteriorating with no real answers from my vet and no desire to keep throwing good money after bad on pursuing advanced diagnostics.
He was my first horse, the horse I busted my ass to get after my entire life of working towards it. 30 years in the making, he was my dream horse in so many ways. It was only months after I bought him before he went lame and was never truly sound after that. I owned him for a year and a half before it became clear to me I would have to euthanize him. That was this time last year.
Here I am, once again in December with a horse that has been not quite right since early October. Phoebe was doing well rehabing from her pulled muscle, we had done our prescribed weeks of handwalking and I lunged her once (where she was so wild I couldn’t assess soundness whatsoever). Then the weather started its normal November downpours, my arena started flooding, and when the arena wasn’t flooded the wind was so bad it was a supremely bad idea to lunge a fresh horse in the dark, and risk any reinjury. So I resigned myself to just leave her alone for a bit and try again in a month.
Phoebe, naturally, decided to let me know just exactly how she felt about being on an extended break. She broke out of her run several days in a row and very passive aggressively tried to avoid being caught and brought back to the barn. She figured out how to open the gate between her and Wake and for another several days I found her in Wake’s stall, having played so vigorously with his water trough that it was empty. We got new gravel in all the runs (yay!!) which my special mare promptly dug a giant hole in. I get it Phoebes. You are over it. So am I.
Clearly she wanted to go back to work so I was planning to just deal with the weather and leg her back up. Then the farrier came and we discovered some heat in her hoof on the left hind. Naturally she is off on that back end as well. Could be an abcsess, could be who the hell knows. I’ve been soaking for about a week with no signs of pus.
Honestly I am feeling pretty defeated. I don’t know what I am doing, I have been trying for over 2 years now with my own horses and I haven’t even been able to manage three lessons between them. I have put so much time and energy and of course money into this and it is just not going well. Originally I wanted a horse that I could maybe do prelim on. Now I just want a horse that I can ride and take regular lessons on. Yet even that seems so monumentally out of my reach.
I don’t know. I hope I am just stuck in bad brain land and that these thoughts are just a super fun negative feedback loop brought on by the gloomy weather and short days and all that. Except, if it isn’t? If I have a horse that can’t really stay sound? What do I do then? I am not confident I can handle having to euthanize two horses. After putting so much of myself to get to what I thought would be the actual beginning of my eventing career only to not even be able to get started. Currently I don’t have any faith in my ability to choose a sound, appropriate horse for myself. I also don’t have any money, and since I have decided to go back to school in January (while continuing to work full time… ) all of my money will be going there. So where does that leave my life with horses? Do I just accept that the universe has been screaming at me to just give it up already?
I know I am still an incredibly fortunate person and that plenty of people would love to trade their problems for mine. I also know that I am likely viewing this situation through a pretty dark lens. But that’s where I am at right now. A place where I feel pretty grim about my future with horses.