Thursday, June 30, 2016

Here Comes Your 19th Nervous Breakdown

Are you tired of the endless lameness posts yet? Because I am. I have started and deleted this post more than once. Mainly because my brain has been a dark, dark place recently, and I didn't think anyone wanted to be there. Least of all me. Luckily, things seem to have turned a corner, so I feel it is safe to let you all in.

My new fav picture of us. At least I look happy?
First, it has seemed like some kind of sick joke that Boca has been lame during the 3+ nicest weeks I can remember in, oh, forever. Literally every day in New England has been perfect. Weather in New England is NEVER perfect. At least not for this many consecutive days. Or hours.

Second, all of the plans I had started to let myself get excited about were getting scrapped. June 26th Hunter Show? Not happening. Trailering to the Beach? N-O. Our first ever attempt at a Schooling Horse Trial?  That's a negative, Ghost Rider.

I knew I was being a big baby, and first world problems, and yadda-yadda-yadda. But, I was kind of pissed that here I was, facing ANOTHER medical issue. Enough, I tell you. I have had enough.

But, I gritted my teeth and tried to put on a brave face and tried not to complain too much (at least out loud) about having a broken horse, again.

Cutest face! At least we can play petting zoo.

I think I seriously misjudged just how emotionally precarious my mental state was. 4 Weeks of no riding does not a mentally stable person make. At least not if that person is me. Riding is my escape. It is literally the only thing in the world that shuts off my brain long enough to afford me any peace. When I ride, the rest of the world drops away. I concentrate on nothing but the horse under me for as long as my ass is in the saddle. I need a break from the mental circus that is my brain. There are scary clowns in there.

Bryan decided to make the rare visit to the barn on Saturday. I think he innocently thought he would get to spend some extra time with his wife, and maybe see what our money was paying for. What he got was ... not that. More like a chance to observe and participate in my full-on emotional and mental breakdown. Fun!

The long and short of it is, I got on, Boca was not sound, and I fell apart. I don't know if my expectations were too high. Dr. C had been using cautionary language all week that I didn't like - such as "Hopefully, he's sound". Uh, hopefully?

I got on in the indoor in the GGT footing and he felt better, but not 100%. My instructor H was teaching a lesson in the outdoor, so I thoughtfully interrupted her lesson to make her watch him trot circles and confirm that no, he was not 100% sound.

Upon which I completely and totally fell apart. I walked him back to his stall, sobbing all the way. I cried so hard I actually thought I might throw up. I cried into his neck as my husband stood on, trying to comfort me and calm me down. If there is any upside to all this, at least now he fully understands that 1) Yes, his wife is insane and 2) How much this riding thing actually means to me.

Maybe we have a future as a Pony Ride team.

Now I get to invite you all in to the insane circus that is my mind. Ready to take a ride?

Of course I called my vet right away, but being that it was Saturday at 10 AM, I didn't get a call back until Monday night. Which left over 48 hours for all the crazy to percolate.

I will say that saner minds, such as my husband, cautioned me to wait to hear what the vet said, before getting all upset. But that ship had already sailed.

These are the following scenarios that I came up with:

1) Boca needs extended time off. I should bring him up to H's boyfriend's farm in upstate New York to recover, and take one of the standardbreds down to Massachusetts to retrain for a second career.

2) Boca needs extended time off. I should put him on layup board at instructor H's farm and borrow/lease/swap one of her 10 horses while he is off.

3) Boca is not physically capable of the job I want him to do. I should free lease him to a nice trail home where he can be-bop on a long rein at the walk and take care of some nice old lady. I should adopt a OTTB or OTSTB. Yes, I already had candidates picked out.

4) Boca is not physically capable of the job I want him to do. I should retire him to a trail home and check out a few of the horse dealers in CT to see if they have anything remotely suitable.

Of course, the most reasonable 'Hey maybe he just needs a few extra days for the injections to take effect and to get used to his shoes' scenario just seemed to be the least likely one.

In case you are thinking I am a terrible person for even considering retiring Boca and taking on a new project, consider this --  We are now somewhere in the ballpark of over $4,000+ in medical bills for Boca in 5 months, and I have been able to ride him a grand total of SIX WEEKS. So maybe I can be excused for my momentary desire to think I should consider another path. In all honesty, if Boca were not the totally awesome individual that he is, I probably wouldn't have gone this far with him.

Long story short - Boca is better. He just needed some additional time for the injections to reach peak effect. I have resumed riding him. Sanity is returning.

I think, just maybe, we might just be ok.


  1. Man. I know how you feel. I think we've all been there at some point. We wouldn't be into horses if we didn't use them as some sort of sanity check. I was miserable for the 5 or so years I went without a horse during college. And when Fiction was practically unable to be ridden, I pretty much broke down every day.

    But it does get better. I'm glad to see you are riding again. Don't be ashamed to break down every once in a while. I believe in embracing your emotions, letting them out, and then refocusing, which is exactly what it seems like you did. You'll drive yourself crazy otherwise!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. Horses, man. They can really break your heart.

  2. Lameness issues are so frustrating and emotional. Don't let it get you down! I have to repeat to myself "Don't worry until the vet/trainer gives you a reason to worry" on an almost weekly basis.

    1. Why would I not worry, when I am clearly so good at it??? ;)

  3. I can't even count the number of times I've had days like that. My horse was diagnosed with EPM last year and I'm still hopping on board the crazy train at the slightest thing. Hopefully things keep improving for you guys.

    1. Chestnut geldings really need to just STOP with the issues!

  4. Lameness sucks. BUT the good thing is we've all been there so... you don't have to drink alone? <3

  5. Umm...I'm pretty sure we all do this. No judgement here. :)

  6. I definitely would not judge you if you retired him. I'm really glad he is feeling better though, its always such a relief!

  7. Yup totally normal sadly. We're all crazy people here. Glad you're back on the right track with Boca!

  8. Glad it he is doing better.

  9. I'm SO happy you're able to ride again.

    The worst-case scenario/back up plans are completely necessary as a means of self-defence, right?!

    I 100% get you on riding being so important to keep you sane, too!

  10. So glad he's feeling better (and you are too☺)

  11. I had a horse with navicular in high school and the ongoing stress of NQR has never fully left me. I am constantly jumping to the "worse case scenario" because I totally lived it already. I feel you! So happy Boca is A-OK!

  12. Oh man. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Glad to hear Boca is doing better.