Friday, February 12, 2016

Four Years.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Facebook "memories" feature.  Sometimes it induces a "awww, that was 3 years ago?? how fun..." response.  Other times the gentle reminders are less flattering - either showing evidence of bad decisions, or irrefutable proof that maybe not that much has changed in __ years..

Regardless, I find it impossible not to click when I get the little notification that I have FB memories to look at. 

This morning, while I was enjoying my coffee and a few minutes in bed before the Toddler took over my morning, Facebook reminded me of one of my earliest rides on Prair, exactly four years ago:

I remember this ride.  The Boy and I were getting ready to leave on our fabulous honeymoon, but he drove me down to enjoy a few lessons while Prair was still at the barn we bought her from.  I already loved her and her personality was so obvious even in those early days.

Canter transitions were a disaster (read: non-existent) and Prair was so heavy on her forehand my hands were literally bleeding at the end of the weekend... but I was excited about what the future held for us. 

I would have never guessed that we would end up in the Hunter Ring, or that we would find so much success together and that eventually, even our right lead change would be nearly effortless.

That's what's so compelling about horses to me.  The things that seem impossible or down right inconceivable can end up being second nature, and the sort of things that happen by just "thinking" them. 

I've yet to find something else in my life where that sort of transformation happens. 

Sure, relationships grow, but I've never looked at The Boy and been like "man, remember in 2007 when we could barely get through a date without fighting?? I can't believe we're Spouse-ing at Second Level now!"

It's just not a thing. 

Even more progressive aspects of life lack that same sense of accomplishment for me.  School or work... which often have an element of constant improvement (in theory).  In those areas when I've mastered something or moved on to a new skill it feels more like a foregone conclusion rather than an accomplishment. 

Maybe that's because I never had to convince a 1200lb warmblood to go to class with me or study real hard for that test...

Anyway, back to the Facebook memories... what made this one particularly poignant is that our vet managed to squeeze a visit to Prairie in this week, and the prognosis isn't exactly what I was hoping for.

The fact of the matter is that Prairie is showing about a 50% improvement in general lameness, and about a 40% improvement in her flexion on that left hind.  At first, my vet was thrilled about this and said she'd like to revisit things in another couple months. 

But my frustration came through and I asked what she expected to change from month 10 to month 13...

Which is when I saw her face fall a tad and she said that she forgot it had been that long... she was thinking this was month 6 of stall rest... not 10.

That's when things got more guarded.  At this point, another 3 months is unlikely to change things much. 

Another year? Maybe.  But then again, maybe not.

So, right now I'm busy adjusting my expectations.  Prair will likely never have a competitive career again.  Will she be sound onto he flat? Maybe.  Maybe not.  Nothing is guaranteed (is it ever), but I certainly wouldn't expect a return to a full training schedule with her.

So we enter a new phase.  We are going to (slowly) reintroduce Prair to some turnout so she can enjoy life a bit more while I evaluate what's going on.

I drilled my vet on her thoughts about breeding her (in terms of her soundness and back) and she was adamant that she wouldn't be worried about that, so that was a glimmer of good news.  At least mommy-king is still on the list of potential jobs.

But if I'm honest with myself, there's no way I could manage a baby horse and a baby person and a Windsor in my life right now. 

Today the choice feels like it is between keeping Prair as a pasture puff (and knowing she's safe and happy), or considering the idea of re-homing her as a Broodmare maybe to someone who can still hop on and stretch her legs a bit. 

Depending on the hour of the day, I waver as to which of those things I am firmly committed to.  I wish I could abracadabra myself a cute little farm where it wouldn't be a burden to retire the (ten year old) lady in grandeur and comfort.  But, alas I lack that particular resource so the issue becomes more complicated...

I know it will take me a while to feel confident in either choice, but for now - I think. And ponder. 

And I giggle a little at that picture of the two of us from Four Years Ago, and all that we've jammed into that time together.


  1. You guys really did SO much together in a short period of time. I hope you can rest easy knowing that you did every single thing in your power to keep her happy, healthy and comfortable. Few horses have the kind of life you provide for them and she's very lucky to have you. I think she'll make a spectacular pasture ornament/prancy-pants/momma or whatever else she decides.

    1. ps. Don't look at my blog for a few days unless you want a preview of your paper cuts! I'm posting a 300th post giveaway today!

  2. I have similar feelings about those fb memories. Sometimes they're great, sometimes I hate them. At least Prair has the possibility of being a broodmare in the future. She's such a pretty girl, more of her would be nice.

  3. I'm sorry this wasn't the news you've been hoping for :/

  4. Wading thru these murky waters too...this is the not fun part...I'm sorry it wasn't a better visit. Ours is on Monday :-/

  5. Sorry to hear :( She would definitely make some beautiful foals.

  6. We had a mare that retired at a similar age due to ring bone, and our solution was to just lease her out as brood mare for a couple of years. Eventually she came back home and had two babies for us, and with enough time off ended up sound enough for light riding and even a few lessons with students here and there. If you can find the right situation, that could be a way to get the best of both options!

  7. ugh tough news from the vet appt, i'm so sorry :( good luck figuring it all out! who knows, perhaps she'll love mommyhood?

  8. Facebook is fixated on telling me that 4 years ago, I was happily bumbling around on a giant red gelding. I can look at the pictures about half the time.

    It's complicated. It always is. :-/ Hugs to you and the big mare.

  9. Oh man, she would make gorgeous babies though. Hope you find a good answer

  10. I'm so sorry this wasn't the update you were hoping for. Hugs.

  11. If if helps, I know someone who is interested in breeding her Hanoverian stallion to Prairie. I don't know what she'd want to work out but I can send you her name if you wish (you will know who it is). She'd like to talk with you about it.

    1. Hi Jaqueline! for some reason that address keeps bouncing back to me.. I tried without the dashes as well... hmmmm is gmail just mad at me?


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