Sunday, October 21, 2012

On The + Side of 50

Tomorrow the sun comes back around marking another year in my life.

I've always felt age was a fact of life and something to be celebrated.  After all, what's the alternative - death? 

I've looked the years straight in the face and spit in their eye, reminding those around me that you're only as old as you think you are.

So what drives me?  My mantra in life is horses.

Horses define me.  I walk, talk and dream them.  Although irritating to some, I can't go more than fifteen minutes without bringing some part of them into my conversation. 

Horses are my motivator in life.  They get me out of bed each morning and keep me physically and mentally active.  While some would call caring for horses "work", I've always considered it "fun". 

When I'm actively riding I take better care of myself.  I'm conscious of what I eat.  I know from experience that when I don't eat healthy I don't ride well not to mention how I feel when I climb up in that saddle.

Riding has always been and still is my ultimate high in life.  The interaction and bond when I'm on a horse is the ultimate thrill.  When I finish a ride and get off I don't walk - I float.  And when I have a really successful ride I get off and jump up and down in joy, doing a little jig - before I float.

But my mantra in life has had a crack in it since summer. 

When Bob's knees gave out and we fell in early June I tried to resolve the issue.  I had the Vet out and I added supplements to his feed,  I had changes made to Bob's shoes.  After some time off Bob seemed fine.  He was back to flying around the pastures and bucking like a baby.  We thought all was well but after two rides Bob's knees were once again unstable.

I snapped this picture just before I unsaddled Bob for the last time.  I had decided to retire Bob and I was heartbroken.  In this picture Bob seemed to feel the same.

I moved to a Lesson Horse for two rides before the owner took him back for her own use.  Without the resources to purchase another horse, I searched to ride another horse without luck.  I spent my summer sitting out in the pasture with Bob while he grazed.  I'd stand by him in silence while we looked out across the fields.  It was hard to watch Bob once again galloping and bucking around the fields and know I couldn't ride him.

Although our relationship became deeper and we achieved that special level where we can now communicate in silence, the crack in my mantra got wider.  I've always looked at the glass of life as being half full.  I was surprised (and disgusted) to find myself now viewing it as half empty.  And another birthday totally depressed me.  I was having a real pity party feeling sorry for myself.

Last weekend I spent time with my Cowgirl Pals who were riding in a schooling show nearby.  Something about being around my old friends gave me a good shake.  Driving home I asked myself how come Bob can fly around the fields on stable knees but not with me on him? 

It doesn't make sense.

And I knew what I must do.  I had never proceeded to go down the costly road of diagnostics (x-rays, ultrasounds, etc.) on Bob's knees.  I had told myself that it wouldn't matter because his knees were shaking and unsteady. 

But on that drive home I decided I must pursue these tests.  What if they allowed me to resolve the problem when I've been sitting around feeling sorry for myself?  I would commit the fiscal resources to having the Vet out and take it as far as I could.  One way or the other I would come to closure on Bob. 

The decision ignited the little flicker left in me, bringing back my spark in life.  Here's Bob last week, waiting for the Vet to arrive.  Even Bob looks happier.

The Vet came out last week and we proceeded with x-rays.  The news?  Not all good - but NOT all bad!  The Vet returns this week to continue treatment on Bob and I'll keep you posted on how it's going. 

Making that call and bringing closure to this issue has repaired that crack in my mantra of life.  If it goes well I get Bob back.  If it doesn't go well at least I will know I've done everything I could and can move on in peace knowing I have a great pasture pet. 

So bring that sun around tomorrow and let me spit in the eyes of age once again.  Because never forget, you are only as old as you think you are!


  1. I'm glad you're doing this because, whatever the answers, you'll be at peace with knowing you pulled out all the stops.

    Bob is lucky.

  2. I agree that he does look happier. I am really interested in hearing how this all turns out, what the tests say and what the treatment is.

    Oh, and I love love love that last paragraph!

  3. i wanted to say again how much i enjoy your blog. you show me my home in your gorgeous photos, and you're going through the same thing i did when ringbone ended my rides on my horse. all the horses i'm looking at, trying to find my 2nd horse, i see so many crappy legs i cannot believe it, but i know in my heart that even perfect legs can have issues. seabiscuit was over at the knee, and it didn't seem to bother him (i don't know about later in his life). one thing i've learned with my 25 years with my horse, upon shopping for my 2nd, i am extremely critical of the pastern area simply because this is is what broke my horse. i'm out there completely biased because i'd rather make new mistakes and not repeat this one. in my case it was a club foot that imbalanced the front legs.

    i did not have xrays; you can see the problem with the naked eye.

    now i have to admit how little i enjoy leasing and lessons lately. i love my one horse so much i prefer watching him graze to riding others' horses. i know that at 28 my horse's days are precious and i don't want a day to pass without him hearing "i love you, my son."

  4. I had a horse when I was younger and was raised around them and felt the same way things have changed and I haven't had a horse in years but I do feel the same of my sweet dog Miggy she had gone through a tuff patch last year and had to have reconstruction knee surgery it was tuff for us all but she is a brave girl and is now doing wonderfully , she is always by my side and truly is my best buddy !

  5. I hesitate to mention this as I do not like to offer unsolicited advice, may want to talk with your vet and farrier about Bob's feet. In your photos, he appears to have very under-run heals and long toes. This is not a conformation flaw, it is a flaw in how his feet are trimmed. His feet are his foundation and if you can correct them, his joint issues may well disappear. You may want to talk with some other farriers. If you find the right farrier who can fix this, it will take 6 months to a year to resolve completely as he has to grow a lot of new foot. Check out for detailed information. Good luck, I hope things turn out well for the both of you.