Friday, 15 May 2015

So, having a broken ankle sucks

....and it means that all your friends are out horse showing while you sit at home and sulk take excellent care of your broken limb.

In reality, I'm trying really hard not to be down about it, but it's not easy. This thing really kind of broke at the worst time. I'm trying to make the best out of it by doing amusing things like playing with digital ponies and doing adult coloring books per She Moved To Texas' suggestion, but... well, it's not exactly the same as playing with my ponies.  Hopefully I can go to visit them soonish, once I stop sleeping 21 hours out of the day.  (This is actually progress. Previously, I was sleeping 23.7 hours of the day.)

I miss my Rooster.

Anyway, at the risk of having this entire blog taken over by "waaaaah my ankle hurts" posts, I decided to start a blog about the whole broken ankle experience.  So, if you are super bored feel free to check it out.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Ups and the Downs

Right now, I think I'm in that little section with the small sea and boat. Except I might be buried under it somewhere.

Life has a way of giving you peaks and valleys. I think it's pretty fair to say I'm in a nasty valley right about now - and I'm not seeing a very practical way of hoisting up my big girl pants and climbing my way out.

My life right now. Minus the ice picks and toe clamps.

A lot has happened since I last blogged. I'll try to go in chronological order.

For starters, Trainer is no longer Trainer. This has been a Big Deal for me and something that I'm having a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around.  It makes sense -- he's no longer Trainer because he's off gallivanting around Europe, and chasing his dreams with a really nice string of horses. I'm happy for him. I really am. And he'll still be around... some.  But not much.  There are several working theories on whether or not this will be permanent, or if he'll open a different barn or something.  I don't know. But it's damn depressing. I've never ridden so well with anyone or felt like so much was possible. Previous Assistant who is now head trainer is not nearly so positive and that really bothers me.

Secondly, my grandfather, whom I mentioned in my last post, became very ill *very* quickly and this necessitated a gallop back to my homeland where I was able to help care for him in his final days. He passed away around 1 PM on the 21st of April. He was in a lot of pain. I'm grateful the end came relatively quickly for him, because nobody should have to bear that kind of pain.  But it hurts, and I miss him a lot.  I'm glad I was able to be there, in his final days, and in his last moments, too.


Most recently, I came back after a couple of weeks of bedside care and a really difficult funeral, and went back to trying horses. Last Friday we tried several, none of which I liked very much.  I hopped on a youngish mare who went around well, but kept tripping. At one point, she tripped after what might have been a 3' oxer, got mad about it, bucked, and turned in the air. I could have sat the buck, or the turn, but combined I just had no chance. So I flew off, then proceeded to land with my full weight on my right leg, which then proceeded to basically get smashed into smithereens.  

This led to me screaming in pain, the ambulance coming out, and after what seemed like a year some relief with pain medication.  The result of all this fun? A very, very broken leg, dislocated ankle, bones sticking out, and little bits of bone floating around where they shouldn't be floating.  The hospital where I was originally transported was not a big one, so they knocked me out cold, splinted the leg, then sent me on my miserable way to a much bigger hospital where I proceeded to have emergency surgery.  The foot was losing pulse. It freaks me out to think that if it had happened 100 years earlier, or even in a place without good medical care, I would probably be dead from infection or have lost my foot totally.  Gah.

So my leg now has a few plates and screws in it and is in a cast up to my knee and hurts like a bitch. I am seriously sick of being in pain.  The first couple of days were the worst. I was in the hospital for five days, and post-op I had horrifying pain to the point that they finally gave me a nerve block.  Day two it wore off, and led to yet more pain, and a re-appearance of my anesthesiologist (who dubbed himself the Candy Man...) who literally knocked me back out for several hours and also led to getting my own personal morphine drip.  Of course, I had to react to all of this, and got massively sick to my stomach and had the opiate itches, and now have tears in my skin from scratching like crazy.

It's now been about a week since that occurred and I am not a happy camper. My leg hurts all the time, I'm too tired to exist, and I've been getting really bad nightmares about the accident over and over again.  In my past horsey accidents, my head has always been involved to the point that I have only the vaguest of recollections about what happened. Not this time. It's all there in crystal clarity. 

After Trainer sailed off on his merry way, I was horribly depressed and considered taking a break from riding, or possibly just quitting altogether.  I don't think I ever could - not for real - and the fact that I haven't been able to  see a horse for an entire week now proves that.  After fighting that internal battle, I don't think I'm going to quit. But I think I'm going to be pretty careful about which horses I decide to swing a leg over from now on.  

obviously this cutie pie makes that list.

In extremely weird news, as a side note, there's the smallest potential that the x-rays we did on Uno, the horse I tried and fell in love with in Florida, were read improperly. I don't know, and it's a long shot. But I guess we'll see how that turns out.  Pretty unlikely anything will work out, particularly given my luck lately, but all I can do is hope.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

18 Things I Love

In honor of Archie's 18th birthday (go Archie!) here are 18 things I love about my horse.

1. I love that he's a total cuddlebug.

2. I love that he is just a sweet, gentle soul, who is basically a Black Lab.

3. But I love that he can be a sassy beyatch, too, when he feels like it.

4. I love that he will take some really terrifying distances and somehow save both our lives.
Dear mom If I were any closer to this jump I would literally be in it. xoxo Riley

5. I love that can pretend to be a hunter sometimes...

6. But that, at heart, he LOVES the jumper ring more than anything.

7. I love the fact that I know him better than he knows himself sometimes, and can read his moods pretty easily.

8. I love that, even though he HATES hacking and likes to tell me about that frequently, he still tries. Although he would REALLY RATHER NOT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

9. I love that he loves to go horse showing.

10. I would be lying if I said I didn't love that he's one good-looking horse.
Helllooooooo ladiezzzz

11. I love that he's a curious little monkey, and is more apt to sidle over and inspect something than freak out about it. Unless we're hacking, of course.

12. I love his quirky and funny personality which is sometimes larger than life. I swear he is more human than horse. He constantly makes me laugh and love him even more.

13. I love that he lets me ride around bareback: from our first time when I nearly slithered off at the walk, to now, when we can do canter halfpasses.

14. I love that he trusts me and seems to care about me and my presence, and lets me do things like lay on him while he's sleeping.

15. I love that he's basically just a giant pony.

16. I love that he lets me practice on him and doesn't kill me for it... most of the time.

17. I love that he let me jump 1.40m on him... several times... and didn't say "OMG WHAT? NO!"

18. But mostly?
I just love how happy he makes me.

This post is especially appropriate to write now, since doing this makes me feel happiness.

For those of you who are religious, please pray for my grandfather, who is currently in the hospital and will pass away at any moment.  For those of you not religious, your thoughts are appreciated. We wish to encourage him on his journey to pass over, as he is in a great deal of pain.  

I have been at the hospital since Wednesday night, and will be here til the bitter end.  So probably not many updates from me for awhile.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Trials & Tribulations

Not much to report from last week. I had a great flat lesson with Assistant on Tuesday, then fluttered off to Costa Rica for a friend's wedding.  Not as much fun as you might think - consider the 9 hours on a plane + 5 hour bus ride there AND back. Hoo rah rah. Also ended up getting Montezuma's Revenge the day after we arrived, so most of my trip was miserable.  But, the wedding was very pretty, and the wildlife was pretty cool.  Here are a few photos for posterity:

Creeptacular Crocodiles

Pretty pretty sunsets

Monkeys. Everywhere. And yes they really do eat bananas.

Now on to the reason anyone ever reads this: horse stuff.

After I got back, the Assistant procured a few horses for us to try out.  So yesterday, we toddled out to a nearby barn and tried two.

The first was a 6yo gelding that had been jumping around the 1.10s and 1.20s a bit.  He was cute, but fresh and fairly spooky.  He basically landed and bucked and crowhopped after every jump. He had an okay jump, but I wasn't super into him. Nonetheless I hopped on and we jumped around a bit and he bucked and it was fine and all, until I headed toward a 3' vertical we'd jumped three times already, saw the short one, and he saw the long one, and neither of us reeeeealllllyyyy did enough about it, and he went SCRAWK and proceeded to tangle himself up in the jump and send me into spectacular flight with a rather splat-tastic landing.

We almost got it on video but sadly the camera was pointed elsewhere, so all we have are sounds. Whoopsie.

Trainer was all, "ha ha zat was ze wrong stride! You just sit for a minute ok..." and then the Assistant hopped on and jumped him around a little, then I got back on and finished jumping, and it was fine, but not exactly the best trial, you know?

I mean, the horse wasn't for me anyway, but talk about injury to insult.

The barest hints of the start of a spectacular bruise.
This was last night, you should see it today!

Trial Pony #1

Trial pony jumps while I cling on

Next up was a five year old mare. Assistant hopped on her first and, despite being advertised as a casual very cheerful amateur horse without spook, proceeded to lose it at an open door, then spooked at all the jumps as she went past them.  Trainer gives me a look and goes, "do not get excited about zis one, not gonna work..." to which I breathed a sigh of relief because I really didn't want to ride her after seeing that.

DAMN YOU UNO FOR NOT VETTING. Still melancholic.  The whole "hee I bought a halter and now it's sitting in my tack locker at the barn reminding me of him every time I see it thing" probably isn't helping either.


After that some shit happened that I can't get into, since not even everyone in the barn knows yet, but suffice it to say I spent the next year and a half in a very bad mood.  So, I got a little drunk with my barn people and spent some time chillin' with Riley, who is always good for a pick-me-up, and spent a good hour doing his best to curl up in my lap while I sat with him in his stall.

"Water u doin down there?"


Hallo bonjour I am Riley and the most handsome

At that point I was deep into the pits of depression and had been crying all day, more or less (which really had zero to do at all with being flung off the equine earlier, though it didn't HELP) and had about thirteen powwows with Trainer, Barn Owner, Barn Manager, and my favorite of favorites, my Florida fwend who also works at the barn who provided alcoholic beverages. (#adulting!!!!)  I had no plans whatsoever of riding. But then Barn Manager was like, narrows eyes, YOU WILL RIDE YOUR HORSE AND YOU WILL FEEL BETTER.

So I rode him and she was right.

He is my light when all is dark.

Unfortunately the bad carried into today, when I got a phone call from my aunt telling me my grandpa has terminal cancer, and about 1-2 weeks to live.

Beyond that, someone tried Riley today and they're pretty sure they're going to lease him. So I will be officially horseless coming up quite shortly here, and I have no idea what I'll do without my perfect little Riley bean, who is, besides my amazing and unbelievably supportive and kind boyfriend, the only real stable thing in my life right now. That includes ALL THINGS BARN RELATED. Why can't there ever just NOT be drama?

But enough depressingness for one day.  I'll leave you with this adorable photo of Riley right after he got clipped. He looks like a real boy again!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Hooray, Lessons Are Back!

I've been back from Florida for about five days now and slowly getting back into the groove of normal life.  Which, BTW, isn't as easy as you might think. Despite not exactly having the time of my life at WEF (still debating on whether I want to write a post on the wild and wooly dramatic world that is Wellington) I'm still experiencing that strange sensation that is the Horse Show Hangover.

This sensation is akin to coming home, feeling absurdly wired for several days, continuing to wake up at 6AM despite not having to, and then crashing. HARD. and sleeping for, like, three days straight. And only ever thinking about sleeping. It's all you can do to stay awake for four hours straight. Even with ten cups of coffee.

Anyway, I got back into the swing of things, after sulking around the house and consuming copious amounts of Xanax, on Wednesday, when I wandered out to the barn for some horsey therapy in the form of the cutest pony on earth, Riley.

It was a good reminder that my life doesn't totally suck (despite my illogical brain telling me WAH LIFE SUCKS EAT MORE XANAX.)

Riley was awesome Wednesday, though totally wild. I let him run around and he bucked and leapt and struck out (not at me, mind you, just at the air) and reared and galloped and galloped and galloped. He was still looking quite bright eyed, but I hopped on bareback and did the whole ~horsey connection~ thing which was just nice. We did canter half passes (good ones!) bareback and I somehow ended up riding forever. Still sore. Gentle sob.

Ha ha.

Anyway this week also heralded the return of the Assistant from Wellington, which means jumping and lessons again! Yay!

Riley and I had one earlier today, and after what can only be termed one of the shittier weeks of my life, I was totally expecting to fall off and break my neck, because that's just how my luck has been going this week.

Instead, we managed to have a perfectly pleasant jump school with only a few "SCREEEEEE I'M JUMPING AGAIN!!!!!!" moments from Riley, who mainly acted these out fairly kindly and upon landing.

We did enough actually, and ended up jumping some verticals around 1m, which I was pretty okay with for our first "real" jump school back in a few months.  He was pretty good, and mostly listening. We did some lines and rollbacks and stuff too, and though he wasn't totally attuned, he got better as we progressed.

I had a moment of clarity, though. Even though Riley is safe and fun, I get a little thrill of fear when I jump him... even over low jumps.  When the jumps went up, even a few notches, I went "oh noes" despite knowing that I can get him there well, he can jump it, and that it's probably going to be just fine.  

I didn't have that with Uno. Not even once.  And he was a new horse that I didn't even know.

The Assistant mentioned a trip out eastward to try a few horses soon, and although I still feel mildly funereal about the whole thing, it's nice to know there's something new on the horizon to take my mind off what did not come to pass. So... we'll see?

In last but not least news, the Global Champions Tour Miami Beach happened this past week. Trainer was there attempting to win some serious cash but unfortunately it was not his week. I stand by the fact that it's because he hasn't been wearing the lucky (because I said so) tie bar that I got for him.... and am seriously starting to wonder if he lost it. The good news is, he now wears an absurd diaper pin because I told him his tie flying out irritates the living crap out of me. So that's kind of cute. Losing the tie bar is less cute.

Anyway, the Miami Beach location is ridiculous. Right on the beach and people can wander up from wherever. Kind of cool, really. It looks incredibly warm though! #notjealous