Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ho Hum...

It is hard to find things to write about right now...when Chester isn't doing anything except being confined in solitary.  I keep having to move his pen though because he chews up the ground so quickly and ends up standing in mud.  I am sure he is loving every second of that.

Actually - keeping him outside - although in his tiny pen - is the best thing for him!  I couldn't imagine what keeping him inside in his stall would have done to him again, especially when the weather is getting nice.  He is not necessarily happy, but not necessarily unhappy either...I take him out to hand graze a couple times a day for 45 - 60 minutes up by the other horses.  He really enjoys that.  His walk is much much more free now...I am itching to see him trot, but, I'm not going to even go there. 

I also bring him into the indoor at least once a day so he can walk around a bit.  He rolls the instant he is off the lead line.  Rather then walking around the arena and stretching his legs though, he would rather come over to where I am sitting and get me to scratch his shoulders.  He hangs his head over my shoulder, looks out the big door and twitches his lip.  We stay like that until my fingers cramp from scratching him for a long time.  It is as close to a hug as he can give me.

I think he appreciates the time I spend with him.  It still breaks my heart to look at him knowing what we should be doing right now.  We went to John's yesterday to xc school and I could hardly look at him while we were loading the trailer.  He stood there, head up, ears pricked and looked at us with a little bit of resentment. I swear that horse knows how to speak English. 

His next Shockwave is scheduled for either next Friday (while I am at Bromont) or on the Monday following.  just have to check with BO to see if she would mind bringing him in from his cell on the Friday.  After seeing how non-challant he was about the whole thing, I feel confident in not having to be there for it.  My DVME goes on mat leave at the end of the month (and I am freaking out about that) and the the last thing she will do, is administer Chester's final Shockwave on the 29th or 39th of June.  I don't know what I am going to do without her....

Here are some pics from John's place:

Jen and Bridgette!

No Bridgette - there are no horse-eating-monsters in that ditch

John riding Tia...one of the boarders horses.
I've been riding one of the schoolies at the barn - who is for sale, the horse can jump 4' from a standstill! - which has been keeping me entertained.  AND, because John, my xc coach is freaking amazing and has been looking out for me - when we were at his place yesterday, he put me in contact with someone who has a TB/Han mare for a free lease.  John started the horse a couple years ago, knows it annnnd it could potentially be a really good fit for me.  We are going to be cautiously optimistic.  He called the owner yesterday, and in another little bit, I am going to give her a shout.  Hopefully I'll get out to see her this afternoon or tomorrow.  Fingers crossed that I will have something to ride soon!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Huge Vet Bills and No Money To Pay Them...

Seriously Eff.

In the past year and a half that I have owned Chester, I am pretty sure that I have spent more in vet bills then I spent on him.  When you don't have a job to pay for said vet bills, it really really really friggin blows. I just got my invoice for: blocking, rads and his first shockwave session...and it is almost $1,000.  And, we still have another 2 Shockwave sessions to go.  Yes, I knew this was coming and yes I know I don't have any other choice in the matter.  But, what a shock to my system.  I honestly feel like throwing up a little bit. 

The stress of caring for a horse is one thing.  To have to care for an injured horse who is unrideable for almost a year when you have no job...is indescribable.  Trust me. I just sat here staring at my screen for 5 minutes trying to figure out what to say that could possible describe it.  No luck.

To be able to afford to go to events, clinics, xc schooling etc, I have an ING account.  Every Friday, $25 is transferred from my checking account over to my ING account.  This cash helps me to be able to do all the fun things with my horse during the summer and is basically the only way I can afford to anything because, in case you hadn't noticed before - horses are expensive.  Now, I have to take that money and use it for Chester's vet bills.  Although it will put a dent into the bill, it won't come close to paying for all the treatments he will get and there is still no guarantee that he will come out of all this at 100%. 

Chester is feeling it a little too.  He is a little bored and stressed I think.  He is getting a lot of white hairs throughout his body, mane and tail...that is a sure sign of stress.  Understandably so.  He hasn't felt the best for the past 5 months.  Speaking of his mane - he has rubbed off the bottom 6 or 7 inches of it.  Speaking of his tail - his tail hairs are falling out.  My heart just breaks for him.

It sucks.  I can see why people end up having to use their credit cards all the time, which in turn gets them even farther and farther into debt that they just can't get out of.  I have been feeling pretty good for the past couple of weeks...and that all came to a crashing stop about 30 minutes ago when I saw the bill.  Almost like a 'This is your reality wake up call! You have no job, an injured horse and huge vet bills. Good luck to you."

I'm trying, really really hard to remain positive.  The fact - for whatever reason - I haven't been able to land a job - is really starting to get to me.  It's been almost 7 months and for 5 of those months, I have had an injured horse.  Not a good mix. 

Getting a HUGE bill like that and knowing you still have another $800 to come. Blows.  I'll do everything I can for Chester - to make sure he has every shot at recovering fully.  I don't know how I am going to do it, but I will.

Friday, May 20, 2011

We Survived...!

When you expect the worst and then you finally get around to that situation where you were expecting the worst....it usually ends up being not as half bad as you originally thought it was going to be.  Really, I was more upset about all of this then Chester was. 

Enter - DVME Extraordinaire. Today was Chester's first of three Shockwave Therapy sessions.  Leading up to today, I was not a happy camper.  From what I know knew about Shockwave, I wasn't looking forward to my horse having to go through it.  The last thing I wanted to be dealing with was Chester grunting in pain each and every time the machine shocked him.  Technically, the machine uses Soundwaves to help the damaged area heal.  Some genius however, decided that Shockwave sounded better considering  that is more what it feels like.  Thanks whomever you are.

You know what it feels like?  Think about touching the electric fence.  That's as close to a comparison as I can describe. It isn't pleasant, but it could be worse.  The hardest thing about the whole process, was listening to the damn machine making the noise!  Each shock makes a really loud clicking sound (again, like the sound the electric fence makes), and the only thing I could think of was ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch every time the machine went off.  And, he was shocked 1,000 times...yep, you heard that correctly, 1,000 times.

Chester - took it like a champ.  He barley budged the entire time - the brave boy.  He was a little bit uncomfortable around the back of his heel when DVME was around that area, but it was just a shifting of his weight.  He is now resting comfortably in his stall waiting for the sedative to wear off before he can go back outside.  That is one of the benefits of this therapy...there is no recovery period other then waiting for the sedative to vacate his system.  He gets to resume his outdoor solitary confinement within the next hour or two.

DVME says that I should definitely see an improvement by the final session (end of June) at which time, if all goes according to plan, hahahahaha, I will be able to walk under saddle and then take it very very very very very slowly from there.  There is nothing I can do now but continue to wait.

Oh - as for the 'Pickle'...yep, you guessed it...out the entire time. There is something seriously demented about my horse.

The process starts by the torture victim being given a sedative and the damaged area getting clipped down to the skin

Then it is cleaned thoroughly...not disinfected though, because there is no needled piercing the skin.

Then some gel is applied to the area and then -> Let the Shockwaving begin!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Big Announcement...!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ecogold Launches Horse Junkies United, a Blog by Amateur Equestrians, for Amateur Equestrians!

We are very excited to announce.... that ECOGOLD has created a new website for amateur equestrians, “Horse Junkies United”, by and for amateur equestrians from different English riding disciplines.

The content is written by Amateur riders from across North America who are actively involved in dressage, hunter/jumpers and eventing. The goal is to provide cool, fun and meaningful content - with a point of view - that will relate to amateur equestrians across all English disciplines. The blog will cover all aspects of English riding including coverage of events and shows across North America, clinic reports, fashion, informative product reviews, and interviews with professional riders, special segments and of course contests!

The blog, which can be found at www.horsejunkiesunited.com, is the brainchild of Patricia Da Silva, ECOGOLD's Marketing VP. “After the successful Ammie Blogger Experience at Rolex Kentucky, where a team of amateur riders covered the event on ECOGOLD’s blog, some of the bloggers expressed an interest to keep going,” she said. “It just made sense to create a separate website and to bring in dressage and hunter/jumper riders to be more representative of the North American horse show scene.”

In 2011 ECOGOLD was the winner of the Equestrian Social Media Award for Best Use of Social Media in Category 14 - Saddlery or Tack Company - International.  ECOGOLD is proud to welcome CHARLES OWEN & CO. as their first partner. Danielle Santos of Charles Owen said, “Horse Junkies United is a great idea! Amateur riders across disciplines love to share their experiences and this blog gives them a place to do that. Charles Owen is proud to be involved in such an exciting new project.”

Another feature of the blog will be reviews of Boyd and Silva Martin’s training videos. The Martins, who are both sponsored by ECOGOLD and CHARLES OWEN and compete at the international levels of eventing and dressage, respectively, have created a series of training videos. One of the Horse Junkies United bloggers will watch the videos and write something about each one.

Carrie Braff, an amateur event rider from Ontario, Canada will be Blogger-in-Chief for Horse Junkies United. “We really want this site to branch out to ALL the amateur English Discipline riders out there.” said Carrie. “What better way than to have the content be written by amateur riders who are not only intelligent but funny, witty and somewhat crazy. After all, if all of us horse junkies were normal, let's face it, we'd have nothing interesting to write about!”

While the blog will feature regular contributors, anyone can submit blog posts or get involved by emailing info@horsejunkiesunited.com

Check it out!!!!! www.horsejunkiesunited.com

Sunday, May 15, 2011

That Cat Has Class..!!

Bertuzzi Watching The Black Stallion:
(sorry about the flash!)
Classy Kitty

Friday, May 13, 2011


Look what arrived for Chester and I from South of the border the other day...
No smartasses - it wasn't the beer, it was the bumper sticker...
You know - there is something to be said for those of us here in the horse world.  I have never ever met the infamous Eventer79 OR Solo...but, you can bet your butt I would do anything for either one of them if I could.  EV79 has been commenting and providing guidance and a not so logical approach to the whole Chester situation and it is because of people like her that makes going through this ordeal with Chester that much easier.

THANK YOU - and the bumper sticker will be transplanted to my tack trunk ASAP!!

Drinking, Swearing & Breaking Stuff...

So, what do I do with myself when I am feeling the frustration level hit an all time high???? While I would like to basically run around drinking, swearing and breaking stuff, I think that would land me in the clink pretty quickly....that said, the clink at this point in time sounds like a pretty good option for me. I would get fed 3 meals a day (and more then likely better then the wieners and KD diet I have been feeding myself), be able to sleep a lot (well, hopefully since I have a hard time sleeping lately), and not worry about all the other BS that is going on....but, Chester would be first and foremost on my mind.

It has been 6.5 months since I have worked. It has been 4.5 months since Chester hurt himself. I think I am allowed to feel a little frustrated. N'est Pas? So, with all the pent up frustration I am feeling, I figured it would be a good idea to blow it off somehow... with keeping the drinking, swearing and breaking stuff to a minimum. How did I do it?! I moved Chester's cell from beside the paddocks where he was standing on dirt and eating hay to beside the outdoor arena which is grass covered and lush. I think he liked it. This however involved yours truly acting like a pack mule and walking gates literally across the property.

Running Around Drinking - while there was no beer involved - although it would have made my chore much more enjoyable - I did reward myself with a Raspberry White Tea Ginger Ale...I NEVER drink pop.

Swearing - Oh, there was definitely swearing going on. For future reference, I now present a note to myself. Self -> the metal gates that you use to build Chester’s cell act as a conductor for the electric fence post which you used as brace for his enclosure. You found that out the hard way. More then once...more then three times even.

Thanks Mom!!
Breaking Stuff - Don't ask me how I did it, but I managed to bend a metal gate almost 45 degrees...how? Well, try packing two of them on your back and then falling backwards into a fence. Not only that - but this led to more swearing as my arms got pinched between the two gates. I will wait a day or two before taking a picture of my arm in order to showcase all the pretty colours it is going to be.

End Result - Chester, LOVES it. And well, isn't that what matters most anyways?
(Okay - NOW, I am going to have a beer.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's Not Bone...

Chester supervising...as per usual.
There was a part of me today, that really really wanted to see something significantly different in Chester's x-rays. Please let it be bone, please let it be bone, please let it be bone....Bone, is easier to deal with, it is pinpoint-able and special shoeing can do wonders.

No. Such.  Luck.

DVME checking his legs out

His Rads this afternoon were pretty much identical to they looked like 3 months ago.  While I was somewhat relieved to know that we can actually 100% confirm what is causing Cheter's lameness, it is also somewhat like being stabbed in the heart.  There is absolutely nothing we can do right now (except follow protocol and administer Shockwave Therapy) except give him the time he needs to heal.  The absolute earliest I am looking at being able to get on him is July.  Then, it will be nothing but walking for another month or two, then trotting maybe in September and then well, who knows.

That horse of mine was in one of his typical quirky moods this afternoon for sure...at one point, he had both front feet on the x-ray board, was snorting profusely at the playdough used to pack his hoof and trying to untie the strings of DVME's xray smock.  She did say he looked good and happy...which was nice to hear considering his predicament.  I honestly think that it is because he is still able to go outside.  I truly do.  So long as he is being quiet and not acting like a doorknob, he gets to stay out.  The second he starts acting up, that privilege is being taken away...I have threatened warned him about this numerous times.
So, now we know for sure it is soft tissue damage, we have already booked him for his first Shockwave therapy session.  It will be on Friday, May 20, then the second and third treatments will each be 3 weeks apart. 
I almost feel like saying....here goes nothing...

Monday, May 9, 2011

And, So It Begins...

Tomorrow is going to be my very own TSN turning point.

DVME comes tomorrow to take the second set of  xays.  Part of me wants there to be a bone problem - because then we will know for certain the cause of Chester's lameness.  Part of me doesn't want it to be bone, because, well, that would suck for Chester.


I have had a hectic past couple of days - hard to believe for someone who is unemployed, I know, but trust me is completely the truth - and haven't ridden Flick since last week.  But I will tomorrow...well, I guess I will decide if I am going to ride her or not tomorrow once the rays have been taken.  The Boss is also coming...I like having her there to keep her eye on things...and to try to make sure I don't react in a completely irrational emotional way...not that I would ever do that of course.

If only it were that easy...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thinking About Decisions...

There isn't much more that I can say about the time I spent at Rolex, with Ecogold, my entourage, my time there, then what I wrote in my wrap up post for Ecogold.  Rather then copy and paste the whole thing, I will just do what all the cool kids are doing (NO, I am NOT going to buy a pair of Dubarry's) and link to it like this --> http://ecogold.blogspot.com/2011/05/carries-rolex-experience-what-its-all.html  The response I got from it was very overwhelming...and it touched me in a way that is hard to describe...I think because I truly meant every word that I wrote...and to see the absolute joy these horses bring to those around them...is very very hard to put into words.  And is also a very very very special thing to be a part of.

I was able to be a part of something special over the course of the last weekend in April and I am very thankful for it.  Knowing that my new hero (I will let you guess which one), went through a very similar experience (with a very high ranking Rolex horse this past weekend) a year ago, gave me a lot of hope for Chester...not necessarily to be my Rolex mount (although, I can guarantee you that if that works out to be the case, then Sinead ain't got nothin' on me in the waterworks department), but, to make a full recovery. 

Yesterday was pretty tough.  Someone I respect a lot told me that they didn't think Chester would be able to event again and that I would more then likely have to end up selling him and taking the hit.  For the first time since this has been going on - when that person told me that - it hit home more then it ever had previously.  While that person wishes that isn't going to be the outcome, they don't necessarily feel as optimistic about it as some of the other people in my little support group.  While selling Chester is not something I ever want to have to do, it is something that I think about from time to time.  Especially when he is walking normally and then all of a sudden takes a couple really ouchie steps.  He had his shoes pulled on Monday.  I am glad I wasn't around for it.  I more then likely would have started to cry. 

He knows something is going on too...we haven't ridden (and No I do not include the couple weeks in March when I thought we were making a recovery) since December 30.  It is now May 5.  Five months.  He is confined to a tiny paddock for 8 hours a day and is in his stall the rest of the time.  My heart breaks for him.  I think when I was away at Rolex, he thought I had abandoned him...when I made it to the barn on Tuesday, he spotted me instantly, raised his head and walked over to the door of his cell to meet me.  He looked at me as if to say 'thank God you came back for me'.  I still have a hard time looking at him.  I can only imagine what it is going to be like when the barn is doing their show prep for the first time...and then the second and the third and...sigh.  I keep telling myself that we are doing all the right things for him...we have pinpointed the area of concern and we are doing everything possible to help him make a full recovery.  The rest is up to him.  I hate not having control.

I met a lot of people over the weekend...from all walks of life, from riders to spectators to riders who wished they were riding Rolex and everyone else in between.  All of them basically said the same thing to me - horses, will always break your heart, you always have to be strong for them and they will love you unconditionally. The horses' needs come first.  I think specifically about Manny and Exploring...

Where am I going with all this?  While it would absolutely break my heart to watch Chester get on a trailer and leave me crumpled on the dirt standing in the driveway as he starts his new life as a trail/dressage horse... if that is what is best for him, he will get it.  Why are the right decisions always the hardest ones?

Chester comes first. He always will. (At least that is an easy one eh?)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Project...

I thought about it a lot...deciding what to write about tonight....and to be honest, I wasn't 100% sure until I sat down literally 17 seconds ago.

I could have written about Rolex - and the absolutely incredible experience it was - but, I will save that for another day...probably tomorrow. 

When you go through rough times in life, it really is the support crew that you choose to surround yourself with that will either make or break you.  Be your rock when you are going through your hard place.  Enter BO.  BO suggested I needed something to take my mind off of all the other shitty stuff going on in my life and said she had something in mind.

BO mentioned a project she had which she wanted me to manage.  Said project is a four legged, shaggy looking, qh/tb cross (with something else in there, we are just not sure what), who knows....nothing.  Wait, I will say 'knows the basics' (meaning if you squeeze hard enough she will trot and if you haul on the reins enough, she will stop)....and she can jump the moon.

Enter Flicka.

Flicka, who I refuse to call Flicka and will call Flick from now on, is a super cutie patootie of a mare with a sweetheart of a personality to go along with her...all 15.1 / 15.2 hands of her.

Not much is known about Flick - the lady who BO bought her from used her mainly for trail riding, parades (poor Flick) and well, that was the most of it.  She is currently being used once a week, as a school pony for the lesson program at the barn.

BO sees something in her and asked me yesterday if I would like to ride her and treat her as my own for the next several months as Chester is enjoying time behind bars.  Well...sure, I guess! 

To be brutally honest, I had to ask the Coach which one she was...I wouldn't have been able to pick her out of a crowd if I tried.  I was pleasantly surprised when I saw her!! She is cute, more long then she is tall, short little legs, a super gentle eye and well...a head that doesn't really belong with the rest of her body.  I looked at her in the field, she looked at me and instantly started walking towards me.  What a cutie.

Flicka: Before
I rode her today - for the first time.  She doesn't know how to bend, when she gets nervous, she sticks her head straight up in the air and trots faster and faster and faster and..., she has no brakes, she has no knowledge how her front end and her back end are supposed to work together, she needs 30 cm spurs (because I found out pretty quickly she HATED my dressage whip), and really just knows...how to get by. 

But - she has heart, she has the desire to please, she wants to try, and she tries hard, she wants to not get freaked out when people ride her (by the end of my ride, I had a nice slow trot with a stretched out neck) AND, she is a super super sweet and kind mare.  That was enough to win me over.  And I can't wait to ride her again tomorrow. (Yes, Chester is extremely jealous.)

I think I will call her the Distraction, more then I will the Project.  Either way, I have her to work with and learn from...My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to teach Flick...well, everything that I know (which isn't much, I assure you), make her into a more rideable horse and yes, you heard it here...event her by the end of July.

Flicka: Before the Makeover

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What It Is All About...

Greetings all!! Here is my Rolex wrap up post...
I think I will do my own post about it here on my blog, but for Ecogold purposes it will be a little different then the one I write...
I'm suffering from Kentucky withdrawal already...sigh, can't I just go back there?!


I will never, ever, EVER, think ANY brush-top
table is 'too big'...ever again.