Back in February, I was on my way to the airport to fly home from Florida to teach, when Krystal, who took care of my horses when I was in Virginia, called to tell me that Ella had gotten cast under a fence in turnout and really ripped a chunk of herself off the back of her inside hind fetlock. She and Eva, the owner of the farm, both thought it didn't need veterinary attention, so they cleaned it and wrapped it and off I went to Virginia.
The next day, it looked, to quote my vet who'd been called to the scene, like "hamburger." And the chaos began.
What a weekend, what a weekend. It's Friday, and I'm still not recovered (though that may be because, after four days of horse showing, I got in the truck Monday morning and took Midge and Fender up to Michael's, proving that, among other things, I'm a complete nut). But my team came, saw and conquered.
It may be 105* (no kidding; that was the heat index today), but we're busy as anything. My sleep and work patterns have gotten very strange: I'm up at 4:30 to get on Fender by 5:30, get the horses done and my boarders lessoned by midday, then a few hours break, then lessons all afternoon and evening, punctuated by odd bouts of napping, working out, officework and coming up with more ways to cook summer squash and zucchini, which I swear is breeding in my fridge at night.
I have two "kids" in my barn at the moment: my own Fender (6) and my student Amy's Bo (7). Both are well-bred, well-started and athletic young horses with no issues (hooray!). They are both easy to look at and have great paces. And none of those things are my favorite thing about them. My favorite is that they both have the most wonderful work ethic. The more you ask, the more they give.
I was supposed to ride Ella in the Saturday evening extravaganza at this year's PVDA Ride for Life, but a wound she sustained in Florida, which was healing VERY slowly, stopped healing and got very oozy and gross, and has required rather extensive and obnoxious veterinary work, as well as considerable time on stall rest, even though she has not taken One. Lame. Step. I am not amused, nor is Ella. Ugh.
My mom jokes that I'm paranoid. I've always been a little obsessed with expiration dates on food; I don't know why. But it wasn't until I read Michael Pollan's In Defense Of Food that I started reading food labels. And I was really alarmed by what I found in my own food. So I started reading the labels of the food my horses were getting.
Redemption! Neither my horse nor I are ninnyhammers. Hoorah!
Midge and I have had an interesting two weeks. We came home from New Jersey and I said, OK. Look. You're not a bad guy. And I'm not a bad rider. And yet here I am on the one-way train to Crazytown. Let's take a break. So we did. We hacked, we rode outside. And when I put him back to work on Tuesday, he felt like himself again. Go figure.
The USEF rulebook says: "The levels of dressage are offered as a means of evaluating a horse that is changing." I think about this a lot, as someone who makes my own Grand Prix horses. But lately I've been thinking a lot about how much a horse changes within any given level, particularly the top one.