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SMCLeenie 04-27-2013 10:47 PM

Gotta Start Somewhere
So, this thread is mostly to chronicle my (probably long) journey to (hopefully) becoming an eventer. Eventing is something that I have been wanting to do for about ten years but every step I've ever taken in the horse world has been a struggle and only recently have I had the opportunity to begin eventing lessons. So I figured I'd start this journal just to remind myself how far I've come, so I don't focus on how far I have to go. I welcome everyone who has any interest to read this thread, though I'm starting it for me, and I welcome any advice. However, please don't critique and pictures and or videos I might post here. I'm only posting them as bench marks to see where I started. I know I have a long way to go. So without further ado, I give you (the very abridged version of) my life in horses until now.

My mother grew up with horses, but she doesn't often talk about her time riding. I know she rode with some really nasty girls and that sort of soured her on the whole experience. She kept her horses until she left for college but didn't continue riding in school or afterwords.

My dad's sister had horses at various times as they were growing up but my dad never got into them.

When my sister and I came around, it was clear we had gotten "the horse bug". We frequently asked for horses, horse themed birthday parties, riding lessons, anything we could to be around horses. This passion is the only thing in my life that my parents did not support me on. When I was young it was because we simply did not have the money, and when I got older it was because my mom was worried about me falling in with the kinds of girls she rode with. It wasn't until a random event in the middle of the lake lead my dad to feeling so guilty/ proud of me that my parents realized how badly I wanted a horse. And finally they agreed.

Several months of searching later my dad's long time friend from high school happened to be selling a horse. Looking back now, I'm not sure he was the horse we should have bought, but we did. He was a nine year old black quarter horse named Jasper who was broke to ride western. We bought him and changed his name to Gambit. He was calm which was good, but rather lazy, which was alright for a first horse. We bonded, but didn't really "click" for several months.

I found him a place at a western barn, that was beautiful and affordable. Unfortunately after a year and a half, we had to move because it was too far away from campus and I wasn't getting out to see him everyday. I moved to an English show barn hoping to get started in jumping and work my way over to eventing. This didn't happen.

About ten minutes into my first lesson Gambit pulled up lame in the front right leg/hoof. I'd been out the day before and he'd been fine so I was confused but I figured he'd be fine. I kept him on stall rest over the weekend but when Monday came he was though not noticeably worse, not better. I felt heat in his hoof and called the farrier. When I described it over the phone the farrier said it sounded like an abscess so we mad and appointment for him to come drain it. However when the farrier got there he revised his earlier diagnosis and said he wasn't sure what was wrong but he suggested x-rays. So I called a vet, and made an appointment.
(Continued below...)

SMCLeenie 04-27-2013 11:06 PM

I was nervous on the day of the appointment but also relived that we would, probably have some idea what was going on by the end of it. I was wrong.

Gambit had been on stall rest since coming up lame, and had had very little exercise since then. Since we hadn't known what was wrong we hadn't wanted to aggravate it by making him walk around. However the vet wanted to see him move so I took him out and was stunned. He was stumbling and sliding all over the place, he couldn't seem to keep his back feet under him. The vet, fearing something much worse did a blood test, but tentatively guessed that he had EPM, and that the lameness in his front foot had come from over compensating for his lack of balance. (To this day I'm suspicious of this because his lameness was so sudden and much before we noticed his problems with his back end).

Anyway, the appointment was on Dec. 21st and the blood work didn't get back until Jan 7th. It came back with a greater than 95% chance that it was EPM. She proscribed something for him to try and slow some the progress of it, as well as some bute for the pain in his front hoof. The medicine didn't help and he continued to deteriorate at a rapid rate, even the vet admitted to being surprised at how fast he went down hill. We made the decision to put him down and on February 10th we said goodbye. The barn lost his halter at some point, which really upset me.

Though I'm not over it yet, I couldn't stand being out of the saddle. I found an eventing coach online and have taken five lessons with her on a little Fjord pony who will test me from time to time but is overall a great little guy. We've covered the basics of dressage and are starting over jumps next week. Which I'm really excited about.

Thanks for reading, hope you got through all that. I'll try to keep the other posts shorter.

SMCLeenie 04-29-2013 02:14 AM

So not a horsey update really but I figured I'd post it here anyway. I've had a rough week so my mom suggested we meet for lunch halfway between my home town and college so that we could talk in person. Since I haven't seen her since Easter, and I'm always down for a free meal I agreed happily. Everything went great (we had lunch at IHOP) and after a short walk we said goodbye. I was about half an hour away from school when traffic got slower, a bunch of people were rubber necking at an accident. It soon sped up again only to be slowed by another accident, this time bringing traffic to a complete standstill. I had completely stopped and was waiting to go again when I heard a loud bang and felt my car lurch forward. This was followed closely by another loud bang, and a third. Someone had rear ended me causing me to hit someone else, who hit someone else. The guy was *flying* down the road and didn't seem to have noticed that traffic had stopped again. Everyone was fine we exchanged numbers and information. I just wanted to post this here to make it easier to remember the date it happened, also in case there is any discomfort or pain in the future I'll have an idea of where to look.

Cacowgirl 04-29-2013 10:21 AM

So sorry on the loss of your horse.

Car accidents are the pits. Hope there are no problems that show up later (whiplash). Keep records. How is your car?

SMCLeenie 05-02-2013 03:34 AM

Thanks Cacowgirl! My car (actually a chevy colorado) held up really well! I lost the bottom half of my front bumper and the license plate off the front. We found it on the side of the road afterwords. On the back its just a small dent in the tail gait and some scratches, as well as some scratches on the towing hitch and bumper. The driver who hit us totaled his car I think. He couldn't drive it afterwords and his whole front had crumpled. The person he pushed me into got a few minor dents in her bumper but all in all everyone was okay. My back was a little sore the next day and my tail bone has been bugging me (not sure if that's the accident or just life. It's been hurting off and on for years), but other than that I'm just fine. The guy who hit us admitted fault and my truck is getting fixed next week.

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