Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Talk to me, pony-boy

When my trainer rode my horse for me on Friday, something was not right. Kaswyn had a definate short stride with his left front leg. The nerved one. The one that's not supposed to, and should not ever again, hurt. What's this supposed to mean? Because, if you read back on all of the things that I've had x-rayed, MRIed, injected, scoped, and examined on this horse, I think I've covered it all. So why is he not sound?


We consulted with the blacksmith, who said we should put him back in the shoeing set-up that he has had for the past 6 years. My concern is, if we do that, that we won't be supporting the tendon, which was the point of the special shoes. He says since the tendon is not involved, that we don't have to worry about it. He says he'll come out Thursday and put new shoes on him and that should solve the problem. That would be great, but what if it doesn't? Then what?

To be honest, I'm very close to saying enough is enough. Maybe it's time to retire this horse. But I'm just not sure, because he seems to love his work so much. I'd really like to find out what's going on in his head.

So I've made an appointment with a horse psychic. Yep, you heard me right. A psychic. I believe that there are some people who can "talk" to animals and all that stuff. This woman is coming highly recommended by other horse people who have used her, so I'll give it a shot. Craig is completely skeptical, and makes no secret about it. I know it sounds crazy, but, honestly, at this point I've tried everything else. Why not this? It's costing me very little money, especially compared to the hugs vet bills I've had so far.

The plan is to have the blacksmith out and reset his shoes Thursday morning. Then Thursday afternoon the psychic is coming to have a little chat with Kaswyn. Craig asked what I hoped to learn from this woman. Here is what I want to know from my horse - where does he hurt, what does he do that's uncomfortable or painful, and does he want to retire or keep working and showing? I'm not planning to tell her anything about him at all. Hopefully she's the real deal and will mention the left front and any other issues we've had. If so, then I might believe what she says. If she's totally off the mark, then... oh well. It might just make for an entertaining afternoon at the barn.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Back ...to riding?

I've ridden Kaswyn twice since his recovery was complete. I think he feels really good. He feels out of shape, which is to be expected, but otherwise he's willing and happy to work. In fact, the first time I got on him he was a little TOO eager, and I had to stop him from just running away with me. I think he was so happy not to be walking around that he got overly-excited.

I was happy. I was excited to be riding again. I was looking forward to building him back up again and working on his stamina and flexability. I was anticipating the "real" work and training that we'd be able to do in a few months.

Then my back started to hurt. To be fair, it's been hurting for about a week now, which is not surprising considering the size and heft of my two gigantic children. I don't have to pick up Lily very often, but Macey I pick up all the time for various reasons. Since she weighs 30 pounds (yes, 30 pounds and she's 14 months old) it's quite a strain on my back. I try to lift with my legs and not my back, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. Usually when I start getting some pretty consistant pain, I go to my chiropractor. He fixes my back up in one visit and I'm good to go for another month or so (until I throw it out again). This time, however, the pain did not go away after my chirocracker visit. Which got me to thinking that I need to really rest my back to make sure it's just sore muscles and that I didn't really hurt it this time.

That means no riding. This SUCKS IT BIG TIME. My horse hasn't been right since December of last year. We've just been through multiple diagnostics, treatments, a surgery and it's recovery, which has all finally gotten my horse feeling back to normal and I CAN'T RIDE. Well, I guess I can ride, but I really should not.

This seriously bums me out. On top of a hurty back I have to exercise control and not ride. BLAH.

My restrictions will be - no riding, no picking up giant toddlers, and no other (ahem) gymnastic activities. Until Monday, at which time I'll be seeing Dr. Jointcracker again. If my back isn't much much better by then, I think it will be time for some x-rays. I want to know what's going on in there. I just hope it's not navicular.

Ha! Just kidding.

Friday, August 18, 2006

What a card

Yesterday Craig's mom came over to visit and she brought me a birthday card. It caught Lily's eye because it was pink and had flowers on it. She asked if she could see it, so I gave it to her. Here is our conversation -

LILY: It's very pretty.
ME: Yes, it is. Do you want to read it to me?
LILY: It says 'I will be a good girl. I will be a bad girl. I will put my toys away. We will read a story. The End.'

I'm thinking I should call Hallmark with her idea. It's the perfect mom's birthday card. Well, except the bad girl part. Hey, at least she's honest.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sneaking a trot in

On Sunday instead of hand walking Kaswyn I decided that I would get on him bareback and in a halter to walk him for 30 minutes. Why? Because I couldn't stand the "I'm going to bite you!" game any more. It was just getting out of control. My horse was so bored, so over this hand walking thing that he didn't care if I smacked him - every 10-20 seconds he would try to bite me. We had both had enough.

I have to say it was very nice to ride him again, even if it's only at the walk. He was much happier about being ridden because it was different. He's still not allowed to go out in the pasture, so the only time he gets out of his stall is when I go out there and walk him. I can understand why he was bored. I was too. So I've been riding him and walking ever since.

However, yesterday I just couldn't help myself - I had to trot him a little. Just one lap around to see how he felt. He felt pretty good. Hard to tell really since it was only one lap and he didn't have a bridle on, but he was willing and eager to move forward, which is a good sign. I can only hope that this means that the surgery was a success and that things will be returning to normal once I can get him back into shape. That's going to be a long road because I'm going to take it slowly, but it will be worth it. I miss my regular riding sessions, and I'll look forward to them even if it's just for conditioning Kaswyn cause it's fun just to ride.

There is one good thing about riding consistantly that most people won't think of. Unmoldy tack. See, when you don't use and clean your tack regularly, and it's as hot and humid out as it has been lately, your tack molds. It's really really gross. The other day I thoroughly cleaned both of my bridles because they were starting to get fuzzy and grey, even though they were completely cleaned the last time I used them. I always clean my tack after I use it now. I didn't used to, but when I started doing dressage I noticed that everyone cleaned their tack after riding. When I didn't I got a few looks and comments, so I decided I'd try and fit in and clean my tack. Now I can't imagine NOT cleaning it after I'm done.

Now if I just felt that way about the kitchen floor...

Thursday, August 10, 2006


People keep asking me how my horse is doing. The answer is "he's healing". As far as I can tell he's not lame on his nerved foot, so I guess that is good. I can't get on him until August 20th, so I won't really know until then if the surgery was successful. I see no reason why it wouldn't be, but you never know.

So until the 20th rolls around, it's daily trips to the barn to walk, ice, and hand graze him. Very boring. Except this week my trainer is on Kaswyn duty tonight and Friday because my parents are coming into town tonight and staying until Monday. She says she doesn't mind doing it for me, but I feel guilty. In part because I know that she is really busy and doesn't need to be taking care of my horse. But also because I feel like I should be there for my boy.

Having a horse makes me feel guilty. I feel bad when I'm at the barn and not home with Craig and the girls. On the 30 minute drive out to the barn I have plenty of time to be guilt-ridden about how I should be home with my family. I should be playing with the girls, reading to them, blowing bubbles on the front porch. Or I should be cleaning the house or making dinner. You know, all them wifey things. Because I'm just such the home-maker. HA!

As soon as I get to the barn, however, all I think about is the job at hand, whether it's riding or the current walking/icing/grazing routine. At some point I look at the clock and think "Oh crap, I gotta get out of here!". See, I could spend all day at the barn. I used to in the summer when I was a kid. It was great! No time constraints, no other commitments. I'd just call my mom to come and get me when I was done.

When I'm done at the barn nowadays I feel guilty when I leave Kaswyn. I usually put him in his stall once he's all cleaned up so I can put my stuff away. The last thing I do is go to his stall and give him an apple or carrot. He usually sees me coming with it and nickers to me when I walk up. I feed him his treat, tell him that I love him and when I'll be back out to see him, and then I walk away. Sometimes he calls out after me, which breaks my heart a little. But every time I go he hangs his head over the stall door and watches me leave the barn. It makes me sad to leave him, even though he probably doesn't miss me once I'm gone.

I also feel guilty about the amount of money I spend on my riding addiction. Recently it's been particularly bad because of Kaswyn's lamenesses and all the tests and vet visits. But that's not everything. There's also the board bill, and if I'm showing, the show fees and hotel rooms and trailering fees and on and on. And also feeling guilty for going to the shows and not being at home.

So there's guilt about leaving both my horse and my family. I know that I can't be two places at once, so I'll just have to cope with it. It's not like I'm willing to give up either my family or horse. Having a horse and riding is very therapeutic for me. It gives me a hobby, some time alone to do my own thing, and some relaxing down time.

Now if I could just eliminate the guilt and find a pot of gold, I'd be in great shape.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pimpin' aint easy

Last night we all went to the store and we took Craig's car. Lily knows that he keeps a tin of Altoids in the center console in the front seat. As soon as we pull out of the driveway, she says "I want sumpin' in there", pointing at the console.

I say "Lily do you want a mint?"

She says "Yes, a pimp."

Of course Craig and I start to laugh. As I'm getting her a mint, I tell her it's "mint" and have her say it back to me a few times. Mint. Mint? Mint. Good.

About a minute later she says "Please I have another pimp?"

"Honey, it's a 'mint'."

"A pimp?"

"No...(laughing but trying to hide it).. mint. Say mint."


(more giggles) "Mint, sweetie. Try again."

"A mint?"

"Yes that's it. You can have another mint on the way home from the store."

"On the way home from the store? Then I have another pimp?"

I can just see it now. She'll be at day care telling them how momma got her a pimp. Hello, child services!

Stealthy bandit or Prude making a statement? You decide.

As I've said before, I work in a fertility clinic. We deal with all aspects of infertility, both male and female. While we are not a clinic that sells donor sperm, we do have a full service lab that does semen analysis and sperm freezing for patients. We also have two "collection" rooms where the men can "produce" a sperm specimen. These rooms look a little more homey than your typical exam room. While they do have tile floors (for obvious reasons), they have art on the walls, a bed, a side table and a lamp for low lighting. In the side table drawer are what we like to call "visual aids". They are a various assortment of dirty magazines - some tame, like Playboy, and some a little raunchier, like Hustler. These are to be used as tools (no pun intended) to help the men give us a sperm sample. We've had complaints about our porn on both sides of the scale - some say too nasty, some say not nasty enough. But most of the time it gets the job done.

This morning a patient was put in the collection room. A few mintues later he went into the lab and said, "Um, this isn't going to do it for me." and showed the lab technician the magazine - Woman's Day. Someone had stolen all the porn and replaced it with typical waiting room magazines - Good Housekeeping, Parents, People. The nastiest thing in the drawer was the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

This is the second time this has happened in the space of about a month. Either someone is making a statement by getting rid of the dirty magazines, or someone wants porn and doesn't want to pay for it. I think it's the latter.

But who would want to take those home? Don't they know where, and in whose hands, those magazines have been? Icky.
Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr