Well, my little girl has an owie, I'll call a vet in the morning.  Took me two days to figure out which leg it was in.  She doesn't like to make things easy on me.  She's all clipped up and looking fantastic.  She's the only horse I know that is the same colour clipped as she is not clipped, and just as shiny.  I do love my little angel.


Back to lameness.  She's got a slight swelling on the right fore around the fetlock.  Current theory is that she tweaked herself (doesn't help much).  She's shod all around and has borium on all heels and her hind toes, as the barn she's in has concrete in the aisles, and this mare slips more than anyone I've ever met.  So, since she's hurt herself, we're going to get a bit more aggressive on the borium and put it on her fore toes as well.  That will be next Monday, and we'll put her snow pads on too.  She's basically the only horse on the property thats shod up like that, most don't have hinds at all, at any time during the year, and the ones that do it's only for shows so they can be corked up (they're jumpers).  Unfortunately, she needs hinds as it gives her additional support so she can sit properly (she's a dressage horse).


Now of course I just bought a new saddle and didn't even get a solid go at my 10 day trial period because she's laid up.  It's an Icon from Custom Saddlery, lovely saddle, really close contact, a thigh block that gives you the perfect leg position.  Love it.


Anyway, we were chatting the other night about my previous trainers, who, amongst them, probably got on my little girl less than a half dozen times.  One did suggest that I send her to a local trainer who specializes in breaking and problem horses.  He had her for 6 weeks, then she came home for her farrier appointment... and just couldn't take her back, I missed her terribly.  My current trainer was unimpressed that I did that, but, I know she understands that my baby girl is my baby girl.  That trainer did mention that Miss Maggie was not what he would consider an amateur's horse.  My current trainer concurs. 


This set me to thinking.  I've been slogging it out with this girl for 6 years, only two with this trainer, and might be able to get her and I to first level next year.  I know my girl has the talent and movement for FEI dressage, but she's only about 5 levels behind, and it's all because of her little brain that got screwed up when she was a youngster under saddle.  Don't think for a second I'll ever forgive the woman who did it either.  So, I slog away at her responsiveness and my riding (I don't have delusions of grandeur on that, I need serious work here).  I know most amateurs would have sold her ages ago, but I feel like she makes me a better person.


I don't even feel disheartened by it, if you can imagine.  I have a gorgeous mare whom I love, who will teach me quite a bit so I'll be able to ride my sweet baby Havoc.  She puts up with my foibles (I'm chronically heavy left, although it's getting better), and I try to be patient with her (I have really grown in this area, let me tell you).  She nickers at me when I show up.  I stuff her full of cookies and carrots.  It works for us.

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Comment by MagsNMe on November 8, 2012 at 11:37pm

Interesting that you mention a bone tumour, as that's exactly what my neighbour (who rides at the same barn) said that her friend who is a sonographer mentioned.  And yes, my first instinct was to blame myself, but that's not fair to me, nor productive. 

Thank you to all for your support, it's been a tough few days, but it's good to know other folks are out there who understand how a big silly horse can change one's life!

Comment by Jan Jollymour on November 8, 2012 at 11:24pm

I witnessed an accident like this when I was a teenager, so I have no issues with believing it.  

Quite apart from that incident, my niece fell while playing basketball, and broke her hip (she was 14).  When the orthopedic surgeon assessed the break, he discovered that she had an undiagnosed, and probably congenital bone tumour in the neck of her femur, and that defect caused the break.  It sounds like Maggie might have had a similar problem, something which neither you nor your vets could foresee or prevent.

It doesn't lessen the loss, but understanding these kinds of dynamics can go a long way to easing our feelings of negligence and/or guilt.  You and your vet were doing everything you should have been doing, and I'm sure you were both horrified.  Thankfully the fracture didn't occur when you were riding, as you might have been injured as well.

Comment by MagsNMe on November 8, 2012 at 6:34pm

I spoke to the vet who was with us when Maggie had her accident.  She broke her cannon, about two thirds of the way up.  Even if I'd been able to stop her on the longe line the second it happened, it wouldn't have changed the result for her.  He's spoken with colleagues, and the best we can figure is that there was an existing issue there, probably what was causing her lameness.  No heat, no swelling, no marks, no cuts, nothing... so we wouldn't have had an inkling to x-ray the cannon.  I finally told him that in the end, it was a true accident, we were doing exactly what we should have, no negligence, no sloppiness, and that we both had to forgive ourselves, because it was neither of our faults.  Doesn't make it easier, but it's necessary.

Comment by KatyM., Community News on November 8, 2012 at 8:38am

I am so very sorry - I've lost two to colic over the years - I've never "gotten over it", but with time I got better able to focus on the good memories.  It's so sad and so shocking - My best thoughts to you.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on November 6, 2012 at 10:12am

I am so sorry for your loss :(

Comment by Jan Jollymour on November 6, 2012 at 9:35am

Grieving is important, and you need to allow yourself to experience it, as painful as it is.  It's part of moving on, and of being able to say goodbye to what was, and begin to look forward.

This was a terrible and shocking thing to have happened, and we all live, to some degree, in fear of losing our animals.  It's the price we pay for loving them in the first place, but in the final analysis I think the daily joy of having them is worth the pain of losing them.

One of the things I do immediately is to move another horse into the empty stall and paddock, so that I start to re-calibrate my expectation of the barn and pasture arrangement.  Seeing the "hole" in the barn and the paddock constantly just refreshes the loss.

You may or may not feel like finding something else to ride which takes your attention is the right thing for you - it works for some people, and not for others.  I know that when I lost my first FEI horse I felt like a whole part of my identity, and myself, had been torn away - I have the sense that you're feeling the same way?  In spite of the many wonderful horses I've had since then, Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" still reduces me to tears instantly.  

You will over the pain and the loss, but it takes time, and the smallest things will remind you.  Thankfully you have Havoc to look forward to.

Comment by Barbara F. on November 6, 2012 at 8:54am

Oh no!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(((((((

I am SO SORRY for your terrible loss! I know how much you loved your Maggie and I can't believe what happened. Life can change in the blink of an eye. Thank goodness you had the time withe her that you did and thank goodness you have Havoc to keep your mind busy and to give your love to.

Jackie's right. Whenever you need to cry, just let it out. And remember that you have people who really do care and who are thinking of you at this very sad time. xo

Comment by Jackie Cochran on November 6, 2012 at 7:43am

Let the grief out.  Other people do not understand the depth of our relationships with the horses. 

I am so very, very, very sorry you lost her.

Comment by MagsNMe on November 5, 2012 at 9:17pm

Sadly, today while we were blocking Maggie's leg to determine where the issue was, she had a misstep and broke her leg.  I have no idea what to do with myself.  I loved her so very much.  How does one move on?

Comment by Jan Jollymour on November 5, 2012 at 3:04pm

Hey, Mags:

They just take as long as they take...I was talking to my vet this morning, updating her on my Trakehner mare.  We lost a year due to hoof abscesses, and then I got that sorted out and she broke her neck in a pasture accident.  It's 17 months since the accident, and we can now walk and trot happily, in balance, and on the bit.  She's just started to canter on the longe without tension, so that will take however much longer to get to u/s.  The amazing thing to me is that we're where we are now, having come from where we were 17 months ago.  I don't know if we'll make it into the competition arena, but our daily triumphs are more important.  

I think challenges teach us the most.  Keep meeting Maggie's challenges, and you'll be a better person, and a better rider for the experience.

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