Scattered

This is what Tia thought about schooling!

 

 

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My mind is all over the place today. As I was out feeding I got thinking about how easily I lose motivation. It’s like, once my horse is fairly reliable I start dogging it with the schooling. I just don’t have the experience to know what I should really be working on and I lose my motivation. I argue with myself about this kind of stuff all the time.

On one hand, I know my horse is perfectly capable of doing what I normally do, which is trail ride. Sure, there are things we’ll encounter out there that we’ll need to work on, but it’s not like every time we go out something new comes up. Meanwhile, there are scores of things I could (and should) probably be teaching her, but I really don’t have the means. For instance, I’d love to know I can load her into a trailer with ease in case I ever want to go somewhere different to ride. But I don’t have a trailer and I don’t have any experience teaching a horse how to load. Then again, the breeder got her here, so maybe this isn’t an issue? Same with ring work. I could keep riding her down in the arena, but am I working on the right stuff? I have no way of knowing. I’m not a trainer and a few lessons aside, I’ve never had any formal schooling myself. So I worry more about teaching my horse bad habits than I worry about not doing enough schooling. After all, it’s not like I’m going to need a perfect flying lead change out on the trail. Some would argue that not teaching my horse to be anything but a good reliable trail mount is irresponsible, but if I don’t have any aspiration to show and I don’t plan on selling my horse, then what’s wrong with just having a lot of trail miles?

Sometimes I daydream about different things, like having a trailer and a horse that I know loads so I could take her to a nearby stable where we could take lessons together. Since that isn’t possible, then I daydream about boarding her there for a couple of months so I could take lessons with her. But then Bullet would be left home alone …. not that he couldn’t adjust to that, but it would be a bit chaotic for awhile. And I’m not sure how Dharla would do being moved to a new place, albeit temporary. Would she be a spook machine? Would I have to spend weeks just getting her settled in and adjusted? And I’d have to let go of all my control issues. Not that I don’t trust the place where I’d board her. I do. But I’m just a wee bit of a control freak when it comes to the care of my animals.

OK, I’m a huge control freak.

So this is the kind of stuff that rattles around in my brain as I’m picking the pasture, waiting for the horses to finish their grain.

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Wet Horses

 

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While other parts of the northeast got hammered with a late spring snowstorm, we finally got sweet, blessed rain. We’ve been dry for so long that anything more than a little spit looks good to us. I was starting to get kind of worried about hay season, which is right around the corner. April is traditionally the month that awakens the green grass and hay lots. But this year our pasture is bone dry and dusty and I have to imagine the local hay fields aren’t faring much better. That means high prices when the hay finally comes in. So rain is a good thing for now. And besides, the cooler temperatures keep the no-see-ums down to a dull roar.

The Wet Stuff

Something new! Hazer at an early herding lesson.

 

 

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 At the end of yesterday’s entry I mentioned a river crossing. We have lots of water in our neck of the woods and getting a young Arabian comfortable with a variety of wet encounters is always a challenge. For some reason, Arabians don’t much like water at first. They are desert horses and I suppose their aversion might come naturally. Needless to say, mine have never liked water much. Bean didn’t mind being hosed down and he loved blowing bubbles in the water tank, but the first time we tried crossing Salmon River with him was nearly a disaster.

At that time my husband was a relatively green rider and we were both riding young, green horses. I’d met an elderly gentleman, a retired Navy man who kept three horses and rode the trails in our neck of the woods. I happened upon him one day when I was out riding  on my day off and he invited me to join him. He knew his way around the forest like the back of his hand and I was glad to have someone to ride with. We exchanged names and phone numbers and from then on Lyle proceeded to call me bright and early every Thursday morning to see if I wanted to go ride. (My day off) So for the next couple of years we rode together almost every Thursday, and on the weekend too if we could arrange it. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

It was early the spring of ’90 when we met up with Lyle and rode toward the Salmon River. Previously, all our rides had been on our side of the river, not so much because we rode green horses who didn’t especially want to cross, but because we hadn’t run out of places to explore on our side. But for some reason on that day we all decided it might be fun to cross the river and try out some trails on the other side. Lyle was riding one of his more seasoned horses and knew Stormy wouldn’t hesitate to step into the river. And having ridden in this area for years, Lyle and Stormy knew all the best places to cross Salmon River. What they didn’t advertise too loudly however, was that the river was unusually high that spring … something you don’t always think about until you’re trying to cross a body of fast-moving water on a small Arab!

We followed Lyle and Stormy down a narrow trail that wound through a tall stand of White Pines and ended abruptly at the edge of the churning river. Thinking it best to keep moving, Lyle urged Stormy forward and began to cross. There wasn’t much of an edge to the river and it dropped steeply away from the bank in a couple of steps. Later, I came to realize that Lyle had chosen one of the less rocky crossings spots, but it still had a good deal of large, bowling ball-sized rocks under the tea colored surface. And as we were soon to discover, there were a couple of deeper holes, too.

I didn’t grow up in a place where we did a lot of horseback water crossings. We did occasionally ride our horses in the murky stream that bordered our hay fields, but when we did the whole point of going was to get wet. Needless to say, when we did that we wore swim suits, rode bareback and looked for the deepest places in the stream. But this ride with Lyle took place in early spring. The water was high, fast and cold and the last thing any of us wanted to do was get wet. The horses included!

After a few seconds Tia and I followed Lyle into the river. Lyle and Stormy went about 3/4 of the way across before stopping to wait and see if both Arabians would cross. I encouraged Tia forward as Lyle instructed me to pick a spot on the opposite bank and stare at it. Otherwise, you and your horse tend to drift downstream. Did I mention that the river was high and fast? It was, and Tia was only all of maybe 14.2 hands. With a super loose rein I was let her pick her own way across, only steering her when absolutely necessary. Suddenly she stepped into a deep hole. I scrambled to drop my stirrups and lift my feet up over her shoulders in hopes that I wouldn’t get too wet. Startled, Tia stood stock still about halfway across the river. As I let her process things I turned and saw Beanie frantically dancing in place back on the river bank.

Lyle calmly looked at Tia and I and said, “Cher, you’d better move that mare PDQ before the bay decides he’s going to use her as his personal life raft!” Without hesitation I squeezed Tia and we staggered out of the deep hole just as Beanie gathered himself to cross the river in one huge jump! Bean landed in the exact same spot where Tia and I had just stood only a nanosecond before. I have no doubt in my mind that Beanie thought we might be the perfect stepping stone to the opposite side of the river!

Beanie stood there a few moments trembling and snorting. I could tell by the big grin on my husband’s face that he thought that was probably the most exciting thing he’d ever done in his life! Greenhorns! (Roll eyes) However, as he sat there contemplating the thrill of the moment, Beanie gathered himself and launched again. This time the Bean succeed in getting himself almost to the bank and he quickly scrambled up onto dry land where he stood dripping, sides heaving. (The Bean always was a tad mellow-dramatic!) Lyle and I carefully picked our way across the rest of the river and joined my husband on the bank.

I never knew that a horse can panic and try to jump onto another horse while crossing water. Kind of like a drowning person. In due time Beanie grew to really enjoy water and he didn’t hesitate to step right into the deepest and fastest rivers. The guys also used to take the horses to the beach to ride and although I never went with them, story has it that Beanie was pretty darn brave. Arabians are desert horses and I’ve never met one that (initially) liked water. Tia also grew very dependable and level-headed at water crossings, but I wouldn’t say she really liked it. I think she simply tolerated water, but that was just another one of the many reasons why I grew to love her so. Tia always did whatever I asked, no matter what her personal opinion might have been.

So far Dharla’s deep river crossings are a bit like Beanies. She would really like to jump across in one fell swoop, but once she realizes she can’t do that she just tries to get across as quickly as possible. I know she’ll eventually be OK with this.  She used to be equally anxious about crossing small streams, but now that’s not such a bid deal for her and she doesn’t get worked up about it. Well, sometimes she still tries to jump a small stream, but that’s not unusual and sometimes I even encourage her to do that depending on the setting.

So what about your horse? Does it like water?

April 18, 2010

*

Had a long trail ride this morning. A friend came over (an hour earlier than planned, no less) and we were out by 9 AM. Both horses were great and it was the first time L. said she thought Bullet actually seemed happy. Now lots has happened since the last time she rode him, but truthfully, I just think she’s in a better place and she fussed with him less. With Bullet, that makes a world of difference in his attitude. He did seem to be moving very freely and with a lightness that I haven’t seen in him since she started riding him off and on with me.

I planned our ride to include riding down the dirt road that runs parallel to Salmon River. Fishing season opens this Saturday and for the next few weeks River Road will be busy with folks looking for that perfect fishing hole. Not that I still can’t ride there, but it’s always a much nicer trip before the cars and trucks invade the peace and quiet. Usually it’s pretty dead during the weekdays, but since the road is closed to vehicular traffic several months out of the year, it makes sense to ride it then.

So we walked and trotted our way down the AL trail towards the river. When were were almost to the path that cuts down to River Road, both horses suddenly spooked. We were approaching the last rocky ledge cut-though and the trail up ahead was shadowed by the steep rock ledges. With my eye issues I certainly couldn’t see what the horses were bugged by and initially my friend couldn’t either. We both gave the horses a few seconds to collect their thoughts, then urged them forward. They both took about three steps, then suddenly spun around and lunged several feet in the opposite direction!

Now I was perplexed. First of all, Bullet rarely spooks. He occasionally will react to something new or strange, but he’s pretty Even Steven when it comes to seeing something on the trail. He tends to be more curious than afraid. And unlike Dharla, Bullet’s not the least bit prone to making up stuff in his head to spook at. He simply can’t be bothered. The fact that Dharla was spooked didn’t phase me at all, given her dislike of the rocky cut-though areas to begin with, but often she just spooks at shadows. Yup, she still has young, green Arab syndrome! We turned the horses around and began to approach the passage again, but neither horse would go any farther than before. Suddenly my friend said, “Snake!”

Well I couldn’t have seen that snake if my life depended upon it, but I took my friend’s word that there was (what she through was hopefully) a very large Black snake slithering toward us at the base of the rock ledge. I say hopefully because we DO have Timber Rattler and Copperhead snakes here, though they are not as common as our other native, non-venomous snakes. I tried for several minutes to see the snake, but alas, my vision is still too impaired to see it at our distance. (About 10 yards away) Neither horse was going to go past that snake and frankly, I wasn’t too willing either. So we turned around and walked a bit in the opposite direction, then cut into the woods. I knew there was a path somewhere nearby that ran parallel to the trail we were on, it was just a matter of bushwhacking until we found it. We didn’t have to go too far before the trail suddenly materialized and we followed it down to the river road.

As we approached the dirt road we saw a dark green pickup truck parked off to one side. There was a middle-aged man standing beside the truck with what we assumed was probably his dog. The dog was a medium-sized, cute, but unleashed bully breed. We approached with caution, more or less assuming the man would reach out and grab his dog as we slowly approached. We were wrong. Suddenly, the dog started barking and darted in our direction. Thankfully, both horses didn’t over-react, but when the dog sidled up a bit too close for comfort behind Dharla and she started dancing a bit, the owner casually said, “Don’t worry if your horse kicks the dog.” Huh? Once again, I was totally dumbfounded by the stupidity and ignorance of yet another dog owner. (Ironically, my riding partner is a professional dog trainer!)

Dharla managed to keep her cool as we continued on and the dog stayed behind with his owner. I turned and said to the moron, “I wouldn’t want my horse to kick your dog any more than I want your dog to go after my horse. Neither would be a good thing!” Suddenly, the man got nasty and shot back, “Yeah, well it would be nice if you horse people would pick up after your horses when they crap on the trail.” Huh? Well now I was pissed off because it just so happens that every time my horse poops I stop, dismount and kick the manure off the trail. EVERY time. I’ve been doing this for over 15 years and I’ve got the crap-caked riding boots to prove it.  I also do this for anyone I happen to be riding with if they are using our horse. Sometimes, I’ll even dismount and boot poop off the trail that other riders have left because I know this is a sensitive issue and I don’t want people to start lobbying against equestrian use on our trails because of a little horse manure. (Yes, this HAS happened here a LOT, even though most of these trails were used and maintained as horse trails for over half a century before bikers and hikers started using them!) I stopped my horse and turned around.

“I DO clean up after my horse and always have!” I said.

“Oh yeah. Right. Like I’m gonna believe that!” He shot back.

Screw you, buddy, and your little dog too, I thought as I shrugged my shoulders and moved on. You can’t fix stupid.

The rest of the ride was pleasant and uneventful. We rode down under the AL trestle to see the work that was done on the culverts last fall. For the time and fuss it took to repair the culverts it doesn’t look like they did much of anything. You could drive a Sherman tank back there now, though. Both horses were a bit leery about the plastic erosion guards and the change in the landscape, but they coped.

We did a deep water crossing down by the broken bridge. Dharla was pretty animated crossing and ended up getting much wetter than necessary. This has only been her third deep water river crossing, so I’m sure she’ll get better with practice. She kept her head, she was just a wee bit “anxious” and hurried, but I expected that.

Snakes and morons aside, it was a great day and a fun ride and both horses did great!

Time 3+ hours

Distance: Guestimate; 8 miles.

April 15 & 16, 2012

Tia

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I’ve fallen a bit behind in my blogging. Visual impairment will do that I guess! I got out for a nice ride on Sunday. The plan was that the guys were going to ride around 1:00, so Aldo and I tacked up an hour ahead of that and did a little loop together. I like to do this because I can ride for a bit with Aldo and Bullet, then break away and finish my ride alone. This gives me an opportunity to do two things. 1. It allows me to help teach Dharla that it’s OK for us to leave the company of others. Nothing’s going to happen to us and we can continue to enjoy our ride without the “safety” of a group. So far Dharla has accepted this lesson well. On this ride she seemed a slight bit more concerned when we left Bullet and he went the other way, but she didn’t OVER react and that’s what I’m trying to avoid by doing this every now and then. Bullet actually made much more of a fuss than Dharla did and he called out to her repeatedly. This has happened before, but this was the first time Dharla has ever whinnied back. She hollered once, then that was it, but I was surprised as she’s never made a peep before. Overall, she did well. I could tell she was trying to see if Bullet was going to eventually follow us as we went on down the trail alone, but she didn’t struggle to turn around or anything like that. I spoke calmly to her and encouraged her forward and she complied. Although she tends to be more spooky when we’re alone, she did well and it seems she soon forgot about Bullet. We could hear him calling for some time, but eventually he rode out of range. Later, Aldo told me Bullet continued to call for Dharla even after he met up with his buddy and they rode off together. I was kind of surprised by that and it made me even more happy that Dharla chose to be silent. I hate having to listen to a hollering horse!

The second thing this strategy does is it engages Dharla’s mind so that when we get back home she’s a bit more fatigued and less stressed about Bullet being gone. Aldo’s ride usually last anywhere from 3-5 hours and that means Dharla is on her own until they get back. I’ve noticed that when Aldo and Bullet leave and Dharla is left behind, she’s much more stressed out, but if we’ve done a little “send off” ride and come back home alone, she doesn’t seem quite as worried. Not that she doesn’t call and holler; she does! But she’s less dramatic about it. I’ll tell ya, it’s things like this that kind of make me miss having a third horse! 😉

Monday’s ride was a nice jaunt down that AL trail. I got out early because the temps were supposed to reach into the low 90’s and by the time we got back I was glad we were home. It did get unseasonably hot! We didn’t really “work” on anything special because (as I found out later that day) I’m not even supposed to be riding yet. So we took it easy. Still, it’s always great to be out and spend some quality time together!

*

On another note, I fired my eye surgeon. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting on what happened to me last week and I know I can’t go back and see this guy again. I mean, I’ve never in my life seen such indifference for a patient’s comfort as I’ve experienced with him and his staff. Since I’m right in the middle of a mess I hate to have to change doctors, but I can’t bring myself to see someone who can’t be trusted not to hurt me. His bedside manner is unconscionable and so I must vote with my feet. He’s done. After discussing this matter at great length with the office manager of this group practice, it’s been decided that I will give them one more try, but with a different doctor.  She assures me the doctor I’m going to see will answer all my questions and treat me with dignity, compassion and respect. So I’ve booked my next follow-up appointment with him and we’ll see how it goes. (No pun intended.)

Meanwhile, there is little to no change in my vision and I still can’t see anything clearly through my right eye. Although I’m not using the dilating drops anymore, the pupil is still dilated and I suspect my vision will remain blurry until that situation changes. I’ve heard (again, the doctor didn’t address this issue) that it can take several weeks for the dilation to diminish, so I’m being patient. For the most part it doesn’t bother me too much unless I’m out in bright sunlight and/or I try to do anything that requires finer vision. I can get by. I did ask the office manager to please find out if I have any restrictions since the doc couldn’t be bothered giving me any directions after my last torture session. Oh, so it turns out I DO have some restrictions. Fancy that! I mean, this idot just put me through hell … you’d kinda think he’d want me to have the best possible shot at a good outcome … or maybe not? Grrrrr! I don’t want to think about it … it makes me so flippin’ mad.

On a happier note: I have a crew of tree workers here today. They’re working on clearing the roadway for our new hay barn.  Oh joy!

PS. I posted a picture of Tia because a recent post by a fellow blogger made me think of her! On a happy note, it’s the first time I’ve posted a picture of Tia since I lost her without tearing up. Yay!

The Eyes Have It

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I’ve tried to keep up with things here, but as I’ve learned, when your vision is poor it makes every task tedious. So I promise that as soon as my vision improves I’ll get back to responding to any comments. In the mean time, please know that I read and enjoy every response posted here and on my other blog. I feel so honored and blessed when people take time out of their busy day to respond and remark on my blogs. It’s amazing how encouraging and positive my fellow bloggers can be and I’m very humbled by the kindness of complete strangers.

It’s been a difficult week here. As much as I’ve been fortunate that I was allowed more freedom to move around, my vision has been poor at best. Granted, I still have one good eye, but I’ve discovered that anything that requires any sort of accuracy really needs the benefit of better vision. It’s actually easier to see if I close my defunct eye than if I try to do things with it open. For some reason the skewed vision throws my depth perception and equilibrium off. Because spring is coming on like wildfire I tried to do some weeding and organizing in my gardens. I fear I’ve probably pulled up as many flower plants as I have weeds for lack of seeing things clearly. Oh well! My gardens were getting a bit over-crowded! I have to laugh at these little things because if I don’t keep my sense of humor I get very down.

Friday I had my (almost) three week follow-up at the surgeons office. I was very much expecting a quick look-see and expected him to tell me that all is progressing as planned and he’d see me in a few months. This sort of thing just takes time to heal and I get that. Well, that did not happen. I’m not sure if anyone reading this has ever had a thorough retinal exam, but for those who haven’t let me tell you that it’s one of the most unpleasant things I’ve ever experienced … and I’ve had a lot of nasty medical stuff done to me!

I think people who are very myopic tend to be almost over-protective about their eyes. Perhaps because we are already visually impaired, we have a deeply rooted appreciation for the vision we DO have. Granted, we are forced rely on glasses or contacts to see, but all we have to do to know how impaired we truly are is remove them. As much as I’ve always loathed having to wear glasses or contacts and have done so since a very young age, at least they make it possible for me to see well. And that’s a good thing. Still, I never take my vision or less than perfect eyes for granted.

Having experienced annual vision exams since I was in third or forth grade, I’m used to an eye doctor peering into my eyes from inches away from my face. The only other doctors who get that close to your face are dermatologists, ear, nose and throat specialists and dentists and I have to say, it’s a bit …. well, disturbing. But having someone poke you in the eye at close range is downright creepy. The protective, instinctual reaction is to pull back or away when anyone gets too close my eyes. It’s only natural not to want to be poked in the eye! Well during a retinal exam the doctor uses an instrument to press down hard on your eyelid as he gets as close as possible and peers into your eye with an outrageously vivid bright light. When he’s not dictating to an assistant who sits on the sidelines frantically scratching medical jargon into my records, he tells me to look in various different extreme directions. But no matter how hard you try to comply, it’s never enough.

Doctor: Look to your right.

I do

Doctor: Look MORE to your right!

I do

Doctor (as he presses even harder on my sore eye) : OK, now look even MORE to your right!

Huh? OK, I’ve had enough of this game, pal. Get away from my face!

Unfortunately, this process drags on for several long minutes before the lights come back on and he sits down to flip through my records. He’s left his fancy welding headgear on, which doesn’t do much to convince me the torture is over yet. The good news is that things are healing. The bad news is that my retina has sprung “another leak.” This is of great concern and must be corrected  … immediately. Whoa! No gentle lead up to it, no go home and think about it, but it must be done now. With very little detail I’m told he will laser the leaky area right there, right now. (Well, truth be told, in a few minutes) I’m told that by doing this repair now he hopes to avoid having to do another hospital procedure, because apparently the leak is in a “dangerous” place. I’m too stunned to even ask what “dangerous” means, but now I’m really scared. I don’t want more complications and I especially don’t want to have to go through another operation and two weeks of laying on my face.

I’m moved to the laser room and watch as the assistant sets things up. Remembering that the laser part of my surgery was the most painful part of the procedure, I ask if this will hurt? She gives me what I’ve learned is their standard answer: “I don’t know. Huh? You do this procedure all the time and you don’t know? I’m baffled, so I probe more. Turns out, some people feel it (pain) and others don’t. It depends upon where and how close to the nerves the repair is. Since she was sitting in the room with us taking notes I have to imagine she knows exactly where the leak is, but she’s non-committal. She sticks a paper dot above my right eye “To make sure the doctor zaps the correct eye,” If I wasn’t having an out-of body experience I might have found this funny, but I didn’t laugh. She hits my eye with a couple more “numbing” drops. I try to tell myself this is reassuring, but my brain isn’t buying it.

The doctor comes in, turns the lights off and they begin to lock and load my head into place. My head is literally strapped into an apparatus that holds it completely immobile. Once in place, the machine prohibits you from speaking or moving. There are “handles” on this machine that I’m told to hold and I feel around until I find them and latch on for dear life. The doctor then inserts a “lens” into my eye, which is really a device that holds the eyelids out and away from the eyeball. It’s not uncomfortable, just cold, wet and weird. Without further adieu, the doctor sits down, twists a couple of knobs that move my head a few minuscule increments higher and turns the laser on. I’m scared, but neither the doctor or his trusty assistant has said a single word of reassurance or comfort. Perhaps empathy is forbidden?

I’m not sure why, but I always thought laser lights were red. They’re not, they’re green. Initially, all I felt was heat as the laser beam zapped my eye. Zap. Zap, zap. Zap. He worked in a pattern. Suddenly, it hurt. It wasn’t horrible, but it was unexpected nonetheless. However, I couldn’t move or react to anything I felt because I’m strapped into this machine that prohibits you from moving. Remember, your natural inclination is to pull back and I can feel my head pressing against the strap that’s wrapped around the back of my skull. Zap, zap-zap. OUCH! Now it REALLY hurts! I began to see a pattern. When one beam hurt a little, it would be followed by several more zaps that hurt more and more each zap until eventually he moved to a different spot that didn’t hurt. I whimpered in pain, but my discomfort was ignored. I never knew if a zap was going to hurt or not and I soon began to shake with fear and revulsion. Finally he hit a spot that I could not bear and I cried out loudly through clenched teeth. Although I could not “see” him clearly, I could see his outline on the other side of the laser machine and I watched in humiliation as he stopped and turned to look at his assistant who was standing slightly behind him. Did he roll his eyes at my discomfort? I don’t know, but his only words to me were, “We have to get this done. If you’ll just bear with us we’re almost finished.” No, “Are you OK?” “Do you need me to take a little break?” No empathy was spoken or shown to me.

The doctor went back to work and I sat there, tears streaming down my face through the rest of the procedure. It hurt a lot. Not that it mattered to them. When he finished he congratulated himself on a job well done and left the room. His assistant stayed behind, writing notes in my chart. At some point she passed me a tissue and I told her how much that had hurt. She remarked that some people DO feel it more than others. That was it. No, “I’m so sorry,” or “Are you doing OK now?” Nothing. When she finished her notes I was shuffled down the hall to another technician who proceeded to take a series of pictures of my now throbbing eye. Although I wasn’t sobbing, it was pretty obvious that I was shell-shocked and crying.  The tech was a cheerful fellow, but he never once asked if I was OK; he simply proceeded to do his job.

When the picture taking was finished, the tech gave me a card and told me to go out to the receptionist and make an appointment to return for a follow-up visit in 2-3 weeks. I went out to the desk (still crying) and waited as an elderly gentleman proceeded to ask the receptionist several questions. From what I could tell, it was going to be several minutes before she could finish with him and get to me. There were five or six other staff members milling about behind the desk, but nobody asked if they could help me, little own ask me if I was OK.

I left. I simply walked out of the office without making my next appointment. In pain and humiliated, I fled to the elevator half thinking someone from the office would come after me. I was wrong. I drove myself home shaking and crying. I have had a lot of medical procedures done to me, but I’ve never encountered such uncaring, unemphatic medical staff in my life. I’m not a wimpy person or a drama Queen. I seldom ask for help unless I really need it. But as someone who worked in the dental profession for a long time I find it unconscionable that an entire office could be so callous and cold.

I will see this treatment through to the end, but I will never use this doctor for anything ever again. And I will never refer anyone to him either. He may be highly skilled, but he has absolutely no bedside manner. That’s unacceptable.

April 11, 2012

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I decided last minute on a bit of a whim to go for a ride. I don’t have the surgeon’s OK to be riding, but I couldn’t let another week slide by without riding. The weather is so screwed up that it could be 80 next week and buggy and I will have missed the entire spring. Since I live for spring and fall riding, I HAD to go against my better judgement and ride.

The second risk I took was that I decided not to lunge Dharla first. Yes, she’s stood around for three weeks and one small groundwork session aside, has done nothing, but for some reason I just thought it wasn’t necessary to lunge her first. We had so many great rides this winter that I felt I could skip this step. And I’m happy to say she behaved like a champ! No bucks, no hops, no silly spring nonsense! (yes, one or two mild spooks, but she’s an Arabian!) Now granted, I didn’t do anything goofy or crazy, but still. I’m loving this girl’s no nonsense approach to things more and more all the time!

We stuck to the AL trail and did some very nice walk/trot transitions and extended trots. I was tempted to move her into a slow canter a few times, but I decided not to push my luck on my first ride back. If the weather holds I’d like to try to get back out tomorrow for a little meander through the woods. It feels great to be back in the saddle again!

April 6, 2012

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I’m still unable to ride, which is frustrating to say the least. In rethinking this whole eye surgery thing, perhaps I should have waited until the dead of summer to have it done, since I don’t typically ride once the outdoor temps and humidity creep up. I dunno. It’s too late now to cry over spilled milk.

I’m allowed an hour up and about for every hour I spend face down. That’s a good deal compared to having to be face down around the clock like I was all last week. So yesterday I took Dharla down to the ring and worked with her a bit on basic stuff like backing, and moving the hindquarters and shoulders. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to lunge her or not. My vision is still very impaired. My sight in the right eye is blurry from being dilated and I have almost no depth perception. That tends to throw off my equilibrium. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done anything with Dharla and I didn’t want to allow her to get into a position where she might try to take advantage of my impairment.

Still, I wanted to try, so we just started out with a walk/trot on a shorter line. She was so well behaved and listening nicely that after a few minutes I decided to switch over to the long line and see what she would do. She ended up working very well for me. She got a little feisty at the first clockwise canter, so I decided to let her have at it and then when she wanted to come back down I continued to push her more. That made an impression on her the next time I asked her to pick up a clockwise canter she was all business.

All together we worked about 45 minutes, which was long enough work up a little sweat. The gnats were getting nasty, so we headed back up to the barn. On the way back I stopped to let her munch a little green grass in the front yard. She gets kind of worried when we go someplace she’s not used to going, but the lure of the green grass soon had her ignoring her fear. Aldo had left to go riding with Bullet, so when we got back to the barn I hung out and brushed Dharla and combed out her mane and tail. I gave her a nice pile of hay and we just kept each other company for a bit. Dharla always seems to enjoy being with me and she didn’t holler for Bullet at all until after I left the barn. When she gets worried about being alone, all I have to do is step out the front door and call to her and she settles down. I think she just wants some reassurance that she’s not alone. She’s such a smart cookie, that girl!

It felt great to be able to spend some time with my horse. I’m really itching to go riding and I hope I get the thumbs up to start again next Friday!

Shedding

 

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This morning I spent one of my ten-to-fifteen minutes of “upright” time out brushing Dharla. Good grief, her hair has let loose! Even though I went out to the barn every day last week I was only out long enough to give the horses some mid-day hay. I couldn’t be out any longer than that and besides, I was in too much pain and my vision was too compromised to be around the horses. Hard to imagine, but even with horses that I trust I can’t take the chance that I might get bumped into. I feel frail and vulnerable, which is not a place I’m used to being.

Still, I miss Dharla. I know as the weather warms up I’m really going to start itching to ride. I so hope I don’t end up totally regretting having this surgery and missing the entire spring. Well, I (more or less) already do regret it, but I’m still holding out hope that it doesn’t turn out to be a complete and total miserable failure. God, if I have to go through this again I’ll just shoot myself. I don’t think I can bear it.

Not much else to say, when every hour of every day is identical. I lay here and wonder if the world will ever look the same again?