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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Avoiding Regret and Living in the Moment

I started this blog about three thousand years ago. It feels like it's been that long. So much has gone on. I could list it all, but that would just bore everyone. The most important thing is that after almost a decade together, I helped my 31 year old guy across the rainbow bridge.

It was clinical, spiritual, and beautiful all at the same time. The call came while I was on the road two hours away from the barn. I was headed down for a class reunion, of all things. The rockstar awesome barn owners assured me that I didn't need to come for the euth if I couldn't make it - they would be happy to handle it for me. I came anyway.

I took the lead rope and didn't just fight back tears; I tried to keep my face from spasming into an ugly cry. Again, they offered to take care of it for me. No, he was my partner, my ride or die....I was in it till the end. Against the setting sun I thanked him for teaching me and apologized for not being better. My words congealed into a mantra: "Thank you, I love you, I'm sorry..."

The proper fluids were administered and down he went. The vet checked his heart one last time to tell me he was gone. I saw how frail he looked lying on the ground and didn't spend much time with the body. He was already gone. And afterward there was relief.

I believe in at least attempting to regret-proof my life. I knew I'd regret not returning to say goodbye. I knew I'd regret not being by his side at the end. Ideally, my footwear would have been more substantial than the pair of Nike flip-flops I left the house in that day, but I think my regret-proofing was on the right side of history.

Godspeed, Holiday. Come and see me in my dreams often.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What's for dinner?

This is usually the scariest question of the day. I'm not much of a cook, I just switched to a gluten-free diet, and I've been treating my body like not just a temple, but a fortress! For the first time ever, I'm reading food labels as closely as I read horse supplement ingredients. How's the gluten free working? Okay, so far.....I'm suppressing the urge to turn into a sanctimonious bore that preaches the evils of food processing. I'm not -yet- roaming the aisles of the grocery store thinking "I see poisoned people.......and they don't even realize they're being poisoned......." I know myself too well; I'll get there.

So yesterday was a sticky hot day, just the type to relax my seat into a saddle/fullseat breech/sweaty skin sandwich. Perfect for stretching my heels deeper and legs longer. You know, working on developing that seat that can sit a spook really well. Only there was no spooking, because it was too hot for meadow muffin to exert the energy.

Despite the nice recommendation from a reader to try mineral sunscreen that won't sting my eyes, I have burning eyes from sweat and my usual sunscreen (that I need to use up before I allow myself to purchase more). Sweat, sunscreen, and foundation running down my face. Some goes into my mouth. It's what's for dinner.

I keep the ride short because this is less than tasty, and lead my hooved munchkin back to untack him. And there is my helmet, on the ground.
In the heat and bugs and haze I'd forgotten to wear it.

I haven't ridden without a helmet since I was a teenager. No wonder I was consuming a steady diet of dripping sweat (thanks, helmet liner!) Thank goodness I didn't eat a dirt sandwich that day.

My cell phone, which I normally don't carry, was with me the entire ride. For safety.

I rinsed off my sweaty face with the hose and hoped my sunscreen was gluten free. I hope dirt is gluten free, too. Because which contributes to a fall more, fear of falling, or just dumb bad luck?

Discussion of this on Fugly Blog today. That is, when they're not pecking at the authors.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pick Your Poison....No Really, Pick One.....Then Buy It and Apply Liberally

It's gonna be hot today. I'm fine with that. Sunscreen running into my eyes stings, but so does a rush of frigid air. Yes, indeed, it has come to the unfortunate conclusion where I've accepted eye pain as a fact of outdoor life. (Save for the fleeting bits of spring and autumn, of course).

I hold a bottle of cold water to my neck and wrists to cool off, think of all the toxins I'm sweating out, and hose off my horse. Love my Facebook feed, by the way! I have it carefully curated such that there is no stupidity, only dear friends and useful reminders from horsey things I've subscribed to. One such example: after hosing off your horse on a hot day, scrape off the water. Water not scraped actually heats up rather than cools.

I'm struggling to figure out my final opinion on fly sheets. Is it protective armor for my best friend.........or a safe haven under which flies can crawl and bite without repercussion? The flies recently decided it was the latter, so one distressed horse later, we've retired the fly sheet for the year and are back to relying on POISON. I have a bottle of pour-on insecticide that instructs me to "apply to the horse's poll, keeping product out of the animal's eyes".

In what world does that work out well??

Not mine, I suspect. Probably a world in which vet calls only happen during regular business hours and horses stand reliably stock still for all delicate procedures. I'm thinking that world doesn't even have flies, anyway.

So I went off a recommendation from the new barn owner and prayed that this time, this new fly spray will work.

What's been your experience?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Wanna Be Sedated, part 2

So, now that the horse is drunk and sharp points have been removed from his teeth, he is in not much of a state to argue. He's still high as a kite.

Hmmm...what else could we do while the boy is too sleepy to argue? Oh yes, THAT.

It never fails to surprise me how squeamish people get about the mere topic of sheath cleaning! I choose not to own any animal that requires rituals that gross me out. This is why I don't have, say, a snake (needs live mice), or a baby (needs a whole bunch of gross things). I do sheath cleanings myself. The pony doesn't drop for me, and I'm not about to play tug of war with the thing, so I go in blind. I go in with gloves, KY jelly, and a dream. Knowing where the parts are, I fish around with my (gloved!) finger to pick out the putty-colored bean. Mind you, I'm going in blind, so I get what I feel is the whole bean, then clean up.

At a previous dental appointment a few years ago, the vet tech told me I had done a good job. I beamed! Why is the stuff I'm good at always stuff that simply cannot go into the annual Christmas letter?

This most recent vet check went a little differently. Turns out my going in blind had not been sufficient, and he had a large bean. Those pockets are deep! The vet was able to feel the bean by touching the outside of the penis (didn't think of that!), and remove it by pushing from behind where the bean was. How obvious! But nobody ever talks about technique. There's just a lot of nervous giggling and cringing and hoping a repairman doesn't crash the party.

Today while "it" was dropped (don't want to use the "p" word twice and scare anyone), I felt what it should feel like from the outside when it's clean. Perfectly spongy. I'm happy to know that I have kind of a baseline or "default mode" for a clean gelding. Life is good.

This information will not be divulged in a Christmas letter OR a Facebook status. Can you imagine vague-booking about that? "Half a tube of KY later and a bit of patience, my goal was completed before the drugs wore off."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fun with Sedatives

Ponykins had a lot done yesterday - shots and teeth. This divested me of $211, and left my normally alert steed with a thousand yard stare and wobbly feet. I'm all "hey, buddy", and he's staring at his pile of hay like "I can see GOD". I helped keep him propped up while he fixated on the leprechauns or whatever he was seeing. I kid, I kid. He was just stoned as hell, not hallucinating. Though the antics of the new barn kittens may have added some element of trippiness.

It was a successful vet visit in that I received confirmation that he looked good, and I got to geek out at all the fun veterinary terms. Pitting edema! Occlusion! Dewormer chemistry! Swoon.

He'll get several days off as he recovers from the big day. I'll take that time to properly store his winter blankets, clean tack, and wash saddle pads. Ah hell, who am I kidding? I'll play with the kittens and ride one of the girls. I DO need to fix my half chap and order supplements. Aren't horse folk the only ones we know who spend an afternoon filling up baggies with white powder? Smartpak wasn't started to make our lives easier; it was an attempt to make us look less like small-time drug dealers! Baggies and white powder and syringes oh my! Um, I think we've established that my horse is the druggie, NOT me. I can't afford to get both of us high.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Most flattering helmet for when my house gets flattened?

It's supposed to be crazy hot this weekend! This is going to make a lot of people unhappy. I'm a fan of the heat, so I'm getting excited like most people do over a first snowfall of the season. "What is WITH this weather?" people say. A lot of people who hate the heat love its by-product: wicked storms.

As if I need a reason to indulge pack rat tendencies, I came across a PSA by the local weatherman: keep helmets on hand for severe storms. Most tornado deaths happen as a result of blunt force trauma to the head. My old riding helmets just became less Tally Ho and more Twister.

"It might look a little silly," he cautions. More silly than me crouching under the stairs with a death grip on the cat, grimacing in terror and trying to remember the words to The Lord's Prayer?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Being Judged

Oh, the part-time jobs we're willing to pick up in order to fuel the horse addiction! I'm not speaking of the barn rat type gigs. Another topic entirely.

I'm talking about the times when I become slightly touched in the head and think, how about doing something that doesn't involve shavings in the hair and boots that aren't allowed in the house? How about dangly bracelets and styled hair and nail polish?

I know, I'll become a leader with the popular weight loss company with which I was so successful. I'll be inspirational, I'll change lives, I'll make some mad cash!

I aced their interview, and filled out the mountain of hiring paperwork. This included a form solemnly swearing I wouldn't eat my feelings and no longer appear to be "the face of our organization." No problem. I've got breeches I need to fit into. I'm your gal. Solidarity and all that. Unless I have to move my horse and he goes on a hunger strike, or he colics, or dumps me out on trail. Then I'm embedding myself into a tub of ice cream like a tick on a dog. Legs waving in the air, and all.

I go through their extensive training and before I know it, I'm up doing my first presentation for actual members. What works in front of the judge? Good turnout, remember to breathe, don't grimace when you concentrate, needs more energy, add leg, look up, breathe, half-halt....I'm up there getting the job done, feeling composed, breathing, speaking, smiling. It's then that the person training me gets up, cuts me off, and finishes the spiel for me. It was as if the judge had leapt out of the judge's box in a fit up disgust, divested me of my horse, and finished the test. I was aghasted (hi, COTH'ers!).

My audience left and trainer lady glares at me and has one word: "Sit!" Which I do quickly in a submissive state that annoys me. I chalk it up to the fact that I've spent so many hours and dollars LEARNING how to sit. Then I realize that I just followed this command for someone who can teach me nothing about riding. Her feedback: I hadn't given the presentation right, I left out sacred phrases and added in unnecessary information when, I don't know, I was answering someone's question. She's going on about my screw-ups and I'm doing the math in my head....how many hours do I have to spend with this harpy to pay for a month's board? The exchange rate is not looking good.

I'm wanting to get some dirt back under my fingernails. I use my best "this isn't a good fit" verbiage to extricate myself from the situation. So many times though, in and out of the horse world, I want to tell someone: "They make pills for how bitchy you are. Ask your doctor if being heavily medicated is right for you."