Friday, October 7, 2016

And Then Everyone Was Lame.

I make a plan to get my ass in gear, and then it all goes to hell.

After Jack's saddle fitting, it rained for three days straight. Somewhere in that time frame, Jack decided to brew up an abscess. So, I can't really do any "work" work with him, but I can take him out and just fuss with him. He enjoys any sort of attention, so it's still a win.

Over the many years I have spent with horses, I have found that the single most important thing you can do with them is just simply to hang out with them. We often focus so much on training programs and lessons that we forget to just spend time with our horses. Horses and humans are both social animals, and we both thrive in situations where we are allowed to interact freely with others. You don't really get that social interaction if you're just schooling your horse, just like you don't get to be super chums with your co-workers during a high stress project at work. If you want to develop a relationship with someone, you've got to go outside the work environment.

Honestly, my kids are the best trainers I've ever met.

I'm also lame, but that's not big news because I'm always lame. My back is acting up again, but this time I'm even more annoyed because I haven't been riding!

See, for years every Doc I saw told me that my back problems were being made worse because of of my riding and they couldn't "fix" me until I stopped riding. Well, guess what? I haven't ridden seriously since Aug 7 and my back still friggen' hurts! So, I went to my physiatrist and said: "Fix this."

My new tentative diagnosis is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. That's mostly based on the fact that they've treated my spine, hip and knee with no improvement.  The SI joint is nearly impossible to assess with x-ray and MRI, and the pain it causes mimics lumbar spine, hip and knee joint pain. It's basically a diagnosis of exclusion: My back, hip and knee hurts, they've all been treated, let's inject the SI and see if that helps.

So, I'll be getting that done.

On the bright side, I have been in complete remission from my Crohn's since starting immune suppressant drugs. This is the longest I have been in remission since my diagnosis in 2005. I have had three colds in the 6 weeks my kids have been back in school, but I'll take colds over Crohn's any damn day!

I guess we're moving forward now, huh?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sometimes You Need A Kick In The Ass

This past week I had Spider's saddle fitted to Jack. I expected this to be a tear-filled event. I cried when I sent the email to the Saddler. I cried when he set a date to come out. I cried for two days before the date. But, when the day came, I ended up cussing a blue streak at Jack instead.

Apparently, being fitted for a saddle is way too much excitement for Jack. First, he didn't want to stand still while his measurements were being taken. He noodled around, tried to take the Saddler's clipboard and tools, wouldn't stand up straight, and was just generally obnoxious. Somehow, the Saddler managed to get his measurements (bless that poor man, he's a true pro) and retreated to his trailer to refit the saddle. I put Jack in a stall to wait, and that's when the fun really began.

Jack proceeded to lose what little brain he's got as soon as the stall door shut. He thrashed and crashed into the door and walls, jumped up and down in place like a psychotic rabbit, and then started biting off chunks of my damn barn wall. I was not amused. Very bad words were tossed around, as well as threats of serious bodily harm.

Under normal circumstances, I would probably have left his ass in there to tantrum it out. But, the Saddler needed a somewhat sane horse to finish his fitting, so I pulled Jack out of the stall and took him for a walk. More cussing and threats of bodily harm ensued, as I attempted to guide a 17hh jackrabbit (pun intended) with the mental acuity of a particularly stupid labrador retriever on a calming walk around the farm. As the Saddler peered somewhat nervously out of his trailer, I found myself uttering the words that every equestrian professional dreads: "He doesn't usually act like this."

To be fair, he really doesn't.

Oh, FFS. I've become that owner.

It's my own fault. I've let him sit too long. I've barely touched him since Spider died, so it's unfair for me to expect perfect behavior from him. To me, it was just a saddle fitting. To Jack, it was the first time in months that his favorite person had taken him out, but instead of grooming and riding and having fun like we usually do, he had to stand still and get poked and prodded by a stranger, then locked in a stall, then taken out to stand still again. Jack isn't the smartest horse by miles, and that was a lot more than his little 6 year old brain could handle. He needs routine, he needs experience, he needs a program.

So, now I know that I've just got to suck it up and get it done or else I'm going to have a big, red problem on my hands. It doesn't matter if it makes me sad to work with Jack, because I'm not the only one in this equation. I only lost Spider that day, but Jack lost both of us.


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