When Cleo sustained the injury that would end her career and, as of today, her life, my vet, Dr. Kent Allen, told me that the average time from diagnosis to euthanasia was two years. That was the summer of 2009. Cleo was never one to go down without a fight.
But I won't know whether she'll take euthanasia easily, because I won't be there.
Here in Virginia, summer gave us one last beastly hoorah with a few days in the 90s before gifting us a beautiful weekend to head off to Morven Park for the last show before our Regional Finals in October. What was supposed to be a little outing for us turned into 12 horses, but everyone rode great, and our results spoke for themselves.
My farm is actually three parcels of land that all came up for sale at the same time—35 acres in the back with nothing on it, 50 acres on which we built the main house, and 50 acres on which there stood a 12-stall barn, with a few big paddocks and a tiny, rock-hard outdoor arena.
It's hiring time again at Sprieser Sporthorse—in addition to a replacement for my sadly departing Molly (who's off to work in the Real World—what a doofus!), I'm adding stalls to my barn (more on that later), and that would necessitate the hiring of a whole 'nother person. I've blogged on this subject before, but I learn something about the process with each new hire, and about what things are important to me, and what things aren't.
I'm a big "NCIS" fan, have been since the show came out (though I never have time to watch it "live"; I haven't had cable for a few months now, so I Netflix it, and am, therefore, always a season behind. No spoilers here!). If you've never watched the show, the main character, Special Agent Gibbs, has his own list of 50-or-so rules that form his personal creed. Some are funny, some are serious, and all are poignant and good.
"You know," my mother said, "I'm just starting to appreciate what hard work dressage is."
I looked at her like she had three heads. We've been doing this a while; you're only just now starting to appreciate this?
"No, I know it's technically difficult; I know it requires great skill," she clarified. "I mean the physical work of it all. I watch you professional riders, and it looks like you're just sitting there. You make it look effortless. In reality, you're working really physically hard."
I'm riding some wonderful horses right now. In addition to my own, I've got two super-fun almost-Prix-St-Georges horses belonging to clients, plus some other delightful client horses at the lower levels.
But the one who's making my day, every day, is a 14.3-hand Arabian named War Lhord.
If you're thinking, "Lauren, aren't you 5'9" and leggy? Don't you look preposterous on a 14.3-hand Arabian? Is it possible I can see both your feet from either side of the horse?" You are correct, Sir.