Friday, December 30, 2011


A big milestone occurred on July 9, 2010 at midnight....the one-year anniversary of the fire. I have never been a fan of acknowledging tragic events, but as the date approached I felt a great amount of anxiety. All I could think about was the night I received Bobbi's telephone call, 8 hours after I fed Suki a treat, and went home. It physically made my heart hurt to think of the fear and pain that the horses must have experienced that night. I know that it sounds really cheesy to say that my heart hurt, but honestly, there is no other way to describe it. As I record the events in this blog I feel that pain again.

When I asked Lori how her family handled the anniversary of her son's accident she told me that they would go to dinner and "celebrate life". "Perfect"! I thought. That is just the right sentiment. No dwelling on the bad, but celebrating how far we had come. Whenever people ask me how I feel about what happened, and that my horse was the only one to suffer life-threatening injuries I respond: "Suki is happy and healthy. I am grateful that she survived." Of course I would be lying if I said that it didn't bother me that I will probably never ride her again. It does. But the courage and strength that this horse demonstrates inspires me to be a better person, and to be thankful for the gift of life. So that night, my husband and I opened a bottle of champagne and celebrated life.

A year after the fire Suki had grown a significant amount of hair over her burned skin but still had a long way to go. Other than the deeper burn on her back, the skin seemed to be stronger and tougher than it had been, but of course still had a tendency to be dry. Now that she was wearing a fly sheet full time I was also checking her or hiring someone to check her midday as well just in case she was to warm and needed to be hosed off for cooling. Suki was inside during the day with a fan but that summer was quite hot. Of the three fly sheets one managed to keep her reasonably cool and was the one we used most during the day.

Sometimes Suki would go for a week without doing a big roll, so the bandage would stay intact and the wound protected. The fly sheet helped keep the bandage in place, and on the occasions where the bandage would become rumpled or dislodged from rolling, the sheet would protect it from dirt and shavings.

We continued with regular lunging sessions, and on days when Nikki or the other horses would call to her while we were in the ring, Suki would leap, buck and squeal then settle back to work. Sometimes she just likes to play, but a quick reprimand brings her back to her job. It was comforting to see her so happy.

Nikki was also doing well, and did not mind early morning weekend rides or early evening rides during the week. She does not like bugs, and as a 3 year-old her attention span was a bit short! But she was happy and willing to work. I kept the sessions short and filled them with variety. A student of Heather's who lived in the area and had been working with us between Heather lessons before the fire, started to come out to give me lessons on Nikki. She was also impressed with my new baby and thought we made a good team. It was nice to focus on something other than the fire.

Sometimes while I was riding Nikki Suki would call to her. Pretty funny considering that Suki only appeared to tolerate Nikki in the field with her, but not actually LIKE her! She didn't do anything really mean to her, but if Nikki dared to try to get to the gate first to see me, Suki would make the evil faces. Nikki got that message loud and clear! Their stalls were side-by-side and both girls wanted my attention immediately upon my entrance into the barn. the sliding doors opened on the same wall, so I could open both stalls simultaneously and pet noses and feed carrots to both at once! Oh how I love my girls!

This is the link for the follow up story from Bellwether:

December 30, 2011
It was very cold this morning still but with a predicted temperature of near 50 I changed Suki's blanket to a lighter one before turnout this morning. Tonight she will have a full spa treatment and bandage change. As I have said that bandage is simply to provide extra padding for the tender skin of the graft, which is completely healed. It just has a tendency to bruise without the extra protection.
Still waiting for Nikki's shoe to be replaced. The farrier is supposed to come today, so if that happens I will be able to ride tomorrow morning. Can't wait to ride!!

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