Outtatheblue, it sounds like Reily is doing every bit as well as people predicted! What a horse! It's normal to do the "what if" thinking (in fact, I wondered when you would start doing that!) but it isn't very healthy in the long run, because this was an accident. Reily could have taken a bad step on that trail and blown a tendon - and you wouldn't have been able to ride him or show him in any of the events that are still on your to-do list. In other words, this accident left you with 99% of your horse where some other accidents would not have.
All that being said, it is normal to grieve for what you lost, and for what Reily lost. After that, you move forward again just like you have already been doing, with plans for how to enjoy your super horse. The people who don't recognize how awesome Reily is are either ignorant (they only know about the frantic, anxious horses who don't deal well with the loss of sight) or shallow (looks are more important to them than talent). So, ignorant you can fix - Reily's adaptation is the lesson for them! Shallow - I wouldn't waste my time on them.
Ah I know it isn't healthy! It just keeps snowballing until I feel terrible and am only focusing on what I could have done to prevent it, instead of how I should deal with it now that it's done. And I know it could have been SO much worse! I think I've been lucky with this horse, in the four years I've owned him we've had zero health problems/accidents. None at all... vet bills were very cheap! I took that for granted, and something I never would have thought happened did. But I am grateful that it is not affecting his soundness and riding now!
This whole thing gets more complicated though emotions wise... the person who let go of the branch that got flung into Reily's eye I recently found out didn't realize her part in the whole ordeal (I told her when it happened, but then we didn't think it would end NEARLY this bad and weren't too worried). Over text they asked me if there letting go of the branch was the cause, and I couldn't lie so I told them it was, BUT that I knew it was a freak accident and no one was at fault really. They apologized many times, and even offered to help pay. Of course I couldn't hold anyone responsible for something that could have happened to anyone, anytime, etc. just a freak accident.
She then texted me hoping it wouldn't affect our friendship, which I didn't think it would at all. But now when I see them at the barn.. I think they still feel guilty/something and always look sad when they see me. Whenever I see them, I remember everything about that day and it's just a reminder of our hope (they were with me the whole way encouraging me about Reily's eye) that was unfortunately VERY high that was completely wrong. Or I remember the actual day of the trail, how we were smiling and happy not thinking his eye would be THAT bad (I thought it was only a scrape at most until I got back to the barn because of the way Reily acted). I think when I probably look sad when I'm around her because all of those reminders start bubbling up, and I don't like dealing with them. BUT I think she sees this as me being mad at her, which I am 100% not. I cannot put blame on this accident on anyone beside myself, because ultimately I am responsible for my horse especially since I was riding him. BUT even then, I'm beginning to come to grips with this being a complete freak accident.
I know we just need to talk in person about it, but I'm very nearly sure it will make me emotional which I don't like to be in front of people. It makes me so sad though, because now we barely say anything to eachother at the barn and we used to talk all the time...
Too true, thanks for the descriptions of the people. Unfortunately, I think we are going to run into a lot of the shallow people at the horse shows this year. But we'll just grin and bear it. As for the ignorant, I do plan on proving them wrong and surprising them. There's one person at the barn who treats Reily extra 'careful' when I have him out.. which isn't bad per-say (sp? haha) but my plan of action is/was treat him the exact same as before and address any issues as they come. I don't want to baby him too much and make it sort of self-fulfilling by treating him 'careful' making it so I always have to treat him 'careful'.
Unfortunately I'm leaving for Wyoming tomorrow and won't be back in town until Tuesday, I'm going to miss my boy! My lessor is going to take care of him while I'm gone, and Tuesday night she's going to use him for a 4-H level test (she just has to canter a circle both ways) I'm hoping I make it back in time to watch :) my goal is to get her and him to state this year, I think that would be fantastic!