Monday, May 14, 2012

If only one more ride....

While driving to my office this morning I started to think about the Suki memoir that I am writing. It occurred to me that I had ommitted the events leading up to the fire, and think that perhaps it should be a prologue.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009: Before heading to north Jersey for a business meeting, I threw my riding bag in the trunk of my car. During the three hour drive I thought about my return home the next day, and riding Suki. The day before I had the most wonderful ride, realizing how far we had come since Suki had her back injected and we had returned home from Heather's farm just two months earlier. The riding connection between us had become stronger once again and we were dancing together with a renewed energy and confidence. I was smiling during my rides and believe Suki was also!
Heading home from New Jersey on Thursday, July 9 I couldn't wait to get to the barn to ride. My plans changed quickly though, as my husband was called to an emergency in Maryland, and I was needed at home to care for our 3 year old son, Isaiah. Michael wouldn't be home until Friday, so riding was out of the question until then. Driving past Pink Star Equestrian, the barn where I boarded Suki, I made a quick stop to say hello and give Suki some treats. "See you tomorrow, Princess," I said to her as she rooted my hands for gummy bears. After making arrangements to have Suki lunged that day, I said one more goodbye, gave her some hugs and headed home, eight hours before Suki's life would change forever.

Riding that day would not have changed Suki's fate that night. It would simply have given us one last dance together. Life changes so quickly whether positive or negative. We can make plans, and in an instant life is on a different course. Last Tuesday evening I volunteered at Shady Hollow to assist with children's lessons. The horse that I was working with, Nikki, (no, not my Nikki)is an adorable Haflinger gelding who is patient but can be pushy, although not in a mean or dangerous way....just in a pony way! I have worked with him on a number of occasions. Thursday I received an email that he had died from colic complications on Wednesday night. My heart felt heavy when I heard this news, but my immediate thought was about the many children that ride him regularly and how they will be affected by his passing. Nikki was 23 years old and had been part of the Shady Hollow program for 12 years. I hated explaining to Isaiah when we lost our cat Jeremy (Isaiah was 3), but it was even harder when we lost Rugby a few short months ago. At age 6, Isaiah has more questions which made it more difficult. Some of the children at Shady Hollow are young, some have physical or mental disabilities. All will be heartbroken by the loss of Nikki the Haflinger.

I am also gaining a better understanding of the physical rewards of therapeutic riding. The emotional rewards are obvious: a sense of freedom while on horseback, the bonding between horse and human, the emotional rewards of a horse nuzzling you...I could go on forever...The physical aspects are related to developing strength, fitness and coordination. The motion experienced while sitting upon a walking horse mimics the actions of the hips when a human walks. That helps stengthen muscles and joints for walking. There are so many benefits to riding and spending time with our noble and majestic friends.....

Suki was in today because of the rain. I wrapped her legs because she tends to stock up behind when she is in for extended periods. Tonight, tomorrow and tomorrow night promise additional rain so I will be dealing with EXTREME crankiness tomorrow! Thankfully she out grew that nasty habit of chewing off her wraps. I am hopeful that Nikki will out grow that habit, but for now, no wraps for Nikki while unattended!
Suki was a little cranky tonight but not too bad. I know that she wants out, but it can't be helped. The GOOD news is, that she is not wearing a bandage so the graft area and surrounding skin is being moisturized.


  1. RIP baby Nikki. I do look forward to reading your book someday about Suki the amazing survivor!

    1. Thank you! Nikki was 23 years old and had been with the riding program for 12 years. He will be sadly missed. Although I hadn't known him for very long, I know that I will miss working with him.

      I hope to have the book completed by midsummer, and submit it shortly thereafter...cross your fingers! Thank you so much for reading the blog and being a fan of Suki!

  2. Rip nikki sorry to hear and I am also looking forward to read more about Suki. You have a very lucky horse..take care:)

    1. Thank you Amanda. It is always so difficult to lose them! I think that I am lucky to have a horse like Suki in my life. The experience has made me appreciate things in life that I have always taken for granted. Suki's courage and personality inspire me and make me laugh everyday!

      Take care.