Thursday, September 27, 2012


Tuesday afternoon, I prepared the girls for my absence. I will be away at a conference until next Wednesday, so in addition to getting everything in order at home for hubby and child I had to make arrangements for Suki's special needs and for Nikki to be ridden while I am away.

Usually I am returning from this conference the day Dressage at Devon starts and although jet lagged I always go for the day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This year the two completely overlap, so for the first time in many years I will not be attending at all! BUt on my last day in Vienna, we are planning to go the Spanish Riding School to watch the Lipizzaners in their morning schooling session! Yay!

VMF is having a clinic, so I asked Meghan if she wanted to ride Nikki in it. She was thrilled, so we met on Tuesday to load Nikki and her equipment on the trailer and her visit to VMF. I frantically did horse laundry the night before, suddenly realizing that all of my white polo wraps were in the dirty been in the garage..... Somehow it all came together, and with very few hiccups, Nikki was on the trailer and on her way. She is impatient in the trailer, banging away until the motion starts. Fifteen minutes later she had arrived safely.

Next, for Suki. Tuesday was the last day for me to spend time with her before my trip, so after pulling the burrs from her forelock I gave her a thorough grooming and spa treatment. The graft looks so amazing! Very nicely moisturized so Suki seems to have far fewer "itchies" than before. I am probably jinxing the situation, but here it goes: "I think we are REaLLY over the hump. I will give it another month, then start lunging with the surcingle! Very exciting! It has been wonderful to not have to bandage. With fewer worries about the graft I feel like Suki really is "normal", albeit a spoiled diva!

Deb will be taking care of Suki's grooming and spa treatments while I am at ESMO, so I wrote updated instructions, removing all bandage language. She knows how to do the bandage,etc should it become necessary, but I am confident that it won't be necessary. Deb texted me Wednesday after she went to Suki and commented about how great the graft looks. It was the first tome she had sen it since I stopped bandaging.

Wednesday night I was supposed to head for Vienna. But 2 hours into the flight there was an air conditioner problem and we had to turn around. Mechanics tried to repair it, and in fact, thought they had, but not so so after several hours the flight was cancelled. We will try again tonight....uggh! Oh well. Better to be safe! And at least we were able to get into a hotel, and not sleep in the airport.

It seems unbelievable that the fire was 3 years ago. Sometimes I think back to the day that Suki left New Bolton.....completely unaware that this would turn into lifelong care. Not that knowing such a thing would have changed my decisions. Working with Suki and spending time with her brings me peace and relaxation, different from what I experience from riding. Suki's sheer joy and zest for life makes me step back and embrace each day.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Still no bandage!!!!

Sometimes I marvel at how the days go by so quickly one after another. It is officially autumn now (my FAVORITE time of year!)and it feels like summer passed with the blink of an eye. As we settle into our fall routine, which now includes amped up homework since Isaiah is in first grade, I try to capture each moment in my mind.

Suki had a very brisk roll earlier in the week, which caused a fair amount of bruising of the pink skin in the graft area. She was wearing a different sheet, and although it has a foam patch over the top, the muddy day and aggressive rolling were simply no match for it. The sheet is a bit trashed, but I think is salvageable. I stood on the stool staring at the bruising on Suki's back. to deal with it. My first thought was to apply a padded bandage,so that the next roll wouldn't be so bad. But then I took a step back and decided to take a risk. After a thorough grooming and moisturizing I Put the other sheet with the foam pad on Suki, turned her out and hoped for the best! I did not get to the barn the next day, so I was unable to check the graft, although I was VERY proud of myself for not completely freaking out over it! When I looked at it 48 hours after the bruising, the graft looked completely normal, with no sign of bruising. I feel a huge weight has been lifted, and we are truly on our way to healing. The peach fuzz on Suki's right side appears to be thickening, But I do stare at it every day so maybe I am imagining it! Pictures tomorrow.

Nikki has been very good under saddle since my tumble, but I still think that she is not 100% in that left hind. She is willing and forward but I am not pushing it. But it was important for us to connect and trust one another after that, so short, light workouts are sufficient. It's all good!

Isaiah had a great lesson on Saturday, passing his level one Stable Management for BHS, and trotting and stearing alone for the first time. It was so cool to watch him trotting around on his own, while Miss L stood in the middle of the ring. Isaiah has talked about it all weekend! (or maybe that was me!)

With strong storms expected Saturday night the horses were inside, and I think that Nikki really needed it. Her lower lip was hanging while she stood in the cross ties. I'll bet she had a great snooze last night!

Today Jenn came out to do a photo session with pumpkins and mums (and Suki, of course!) for the autumn months of the 2013 calendar. Jenn does such beautiful work and I hope that she starts to do it professionally, beginning with this calendar! The plan is for this to be for fundraising, with me selecting a horse rescue for the proceeds to go to. We are starting small, but my hope is to continue to find ways for me and Suki to help other, less fortunate animals and the people who rescue them.

After 20 hours inside Suki was ready to work and trotted around on the lunge without stopping for quite awhile! I recognized that "twirly head" excitement that she does, so I would not allow it to get out of hand. I know how much she enjoys working so seeing this part of her personality unaffected by her ordeal is heartwarming. During her riding days I would have refocused her brain by doing 10 meter figure eigghts....guaranteed to get her mind working. By the third set I was always able to feel her relax, and after a big sigh move on to something else. When I see that fire in her eyes now, I am thankful that she survived and grateful to the many people who helped us to get here!

It was fun playing with Suki and taking the photos. She was not afraid of the flowers or pumpkins as I thought she might be (clearly I underestimatre her at times!) and embraced the situation knowing it was all about her. Several times she tried to take a bite or two out of the pumpkins or flowers....such a silly girl!

We also met some new friends today.... Emma and her granddmother Donna, came to visit. Jenn knows them from riding, and Emma is a FB fan. It's funny. Although it is easy to see how big Suki is in photos, people are still surprised by how tall she actually is when they meet her face to face! Suki loved Emma and kept nuzzling and licking her. It warms my heart to see the effect that she has on everyone she meets! What a wonderful gift.....

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day by Day

Saturday, September 15, 2012
The Oley Valley seemed to burst from the crisp air as early fall creeps in. I couldn't help but notice how the deep green on the mountains seems to be lightening ever so slightly as crunchy golden leaves drift to the ground. Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love to watch as the shadows change daily with cool evenings and early mornings requiring a light sweater. The horses seem happier, as do the people. Pumpkins and mums abound at the farm stands, their vivid colors brightening the days and causing us to pause and smile at the lovlieness.

The girls remained outside during the day on Saturday because of the cool temperatures and brisk breeze. With a bit of a headache and leftover neck, shoulder and back stiffness from my unplanned dismount on Friday, I brought Suki out of her pasture. As she was trying to "meet and greet" Sophie and Pete, I realized that I was a BIT more sore than I had first realized!

I continue to be impressed by the graft, and Suki REALLY enjoyed exfoliation. I swear I was starting to get motion sickness from her rocking and swaying! When I came down the driveway, Nikki and Chester were at the top of their field, but while I was working with Suki Nikki stood at the gate nickering from time to time. Against my better judgement (and physical state) I decided to lunge Suki because she seems so put out when i work Nikki! When we got out to the arena she lifted her head and trumpteted a VERY loud whinny! As she moved off into the trot I noticed her nostrils moving with a very low nicker. Then she settled into the work. Nothing fancy, and not too long, because I still needed to lunge Nikki and my head was pounding. My neck had that whiplash feeling of my head being to heavy...delightful. Other than the attractive bruise on my back, and the slightly painful ribcage on deep breaths, I am good to go! UGGGH!

I had planned to lunge Nikki because of my wicked headache, etc. She needed to do a little work, and I did not feel on top of my game enough to ride. Not that it mattered....Nikki was not 100% sound as she moved into the trot. Looks like I am not the only one suffering from the after effects of the unplanned dismounnt! Nothing terrible, but I saw a bit of unevenness in the left hind. As I pushed her into a more forward trot I tried to see if she would work out of it. Nikki was willing to move more forward, but the slight lameness remained. Since she didn't work out of it I stopped. No sense pushing it. We spent some time together grooming and I put her and Chester back out in their pasture. I would have left him out, but he demands to be brought in, and that's fine. I always throw him a bit of hay and let him chill while I work Nikki. He usually calls to her once or twice as we exit the barn to go to the arena. Suki, however, refused to back to the run in with Banker, and nickered to Nikki as I worked her. She obviously realizes that my attention is divided when I am at the barn, and she does not like it! Both girls want 100% of me! It's grand to be so loved!

Sunday, September 16, 2012
My plan was to work with Jenn to get some fallphotos ofSuki forthe calendar. We are going touse mums and pumpkins as background. When I went to purchase the mums they had not yet bloomed fully so we decided to do some photos, then use the mums, etc later in the week. After we met for a late breakfast, I knew that I was in no shape for that. Not sleeping well, so quite tired and that carrying that head to heavy for the neck thing, we planned to check out Nikki on the lunge for soundness and get some glamour shots. With delightfully full bellies we headed to the barn to see the girls.

Wearing her bridle, I brought Nikki to the arena while Jenn set up for the photos. It was obvious that Nikki was still off, and again I tried to see if she would work out of it. The lameness becomes less obvious as she moves, but not yet enoughfor real work. If I felt better I would have hopped on her to walk around, but I know this would have been the wrong decision! So Jenn took some glamour shots! My goodness, my baby girlis beautiful!

Suki and Banker were in the paddock by the bank barn, giving them access to the run in. They were very playful, and Jenn took some great shots. Suki, always the ham, dribbled carrot slime on Jenn's feet then proceeded to lick them! Banker thought to do the same but thought it would be MUCH more fun to eat her entire shoe! It was one of those days where I marveled how healthy Suki is. I watch her antics and know that she displays the same arrogant, diva behavior that preceded the fire. It is beyond what I could have ever hoped for, after I learned about how badly burned she was. Now that we are several weeks without a bandage on the graft site, I believe we are just about ready for the surcingle!

I have talked about breeding Suki, but as I observe her skin,and the way it scratches easily, I wonder if it is "stretchable" enough for a pregnancy. Do I use a surrogate mare? That means I need to buy (or better yet, rescue one!). Research into the cost obviously needs to be investigated. While I would absolutely love to have a baby from Suki, the most important thing is her health and well being. The stallion that I wouild LOVE to breed her too is Sir Gregory, a chestnut Oldenburg with a lot of chrome, just like my girl. I even have a baby name! Oldenburg naming protocol requires that the first letter of the foal's name is the same as the sire. So many people have said that Suki's baby should be named Phoenix (out of the ashes rises the Phoenix). So I thought about it....S....Suki's Phoenix!!! Gender neutral and the baby would be called "phoenix" for a barn name...... isn't it just wonderful to dream??

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's a loooong way down.....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I am so thrilled that the graft continues to do well, without a bandage. Keeping it well moisturized does make Suki seem less itchy, and even when she rolls, it does not seem to be with the same vigor. Thank heavens for small favors! I do need to do something about that mane though! Maybe this weekend I will shorten it.

M from VMF was to meet me to ride Nikki today and school her over fences. I arrived a little earlier so that I could give Suki her spa treatment and my FULL attention! Armed with a new jar of moisturizer and mitt, I set to work. I must say, thatgirl enjoys being exfoliated! When I hit the exact spot, Suki rocks back up and forth and quivers her lip. Each time that I stop, she turns around and nudges me. No words necessary! I started again, and Suki turned around to "groom" me in return. That is all fine when just the lips are involved, but every so often Suki likes to sneak in a little teeth nibble! She always looks quite sheepish when I sternly say "SUKI! NOo teeth!"

M arrived while Suki was still in cross ties, and was surprised to see that yes, she is taller than Nikki! She was surprised at how good she looks and was equally surprised that the tips of Suki's ears were missing. It is not always apparent in photos, but you definitely see it in person. They are her badge of courage....

As I turned Suki around to put her back in the stall she stopped by Nikki in quiet conversation. They clearly understand the connection between them is me. But do they remember each other from when they were together before? and WHAT do they SAY to each other?

J had dragged the arena, so while M was warming up Nikki I set the jumps. They had a fabulous school, and Nikki seemed to enjoy the work. M said that Nikki really felt good, a testament to the work I have been doing. It was a good day

Friday, September 14, 2012
I was SO looking forward to my ride on Nikki following a long week..... Suki was nickering the entire time I groomed and tacked up Nikki, but was briefly placated by a few treats and the promise of grooming after my ride.
Lunging Nikki seemed lazy at first, but spooked at the horses as they ran through the stream to the other side. The ride was going well, although I did sense a small amount of nervousness from Nikki, which is VERY unusual for her. She worked well, when all of a sudden the horses splashed through again, and she leaped, spun, etc....I thought I had it, then one last effort and off I came. Yikes, that is a LONG way down! Landed on my back, then my head hit and I saw stars. Of course I was wearing my helmet as always. J and K saw it happen and quickly came to my aid. I was up instantly, and Nikki walked toward me. I took the reins and stood there with her for a moment. K walked her while I caught my breath, then I got back on and did a bit of walk and trot. Nikki still seemed a little nervous, but I was likely a bit tense sitting up there. Back in the barn I finished giving her a shower, then tended to Suki. Nikki still seemed a bit on edge, but eventually settled.

Suki's grooming was cut a little short, but she was happy to get out afterwards. She immediately caught sight of the blue heron in her field and went to investigate. It reminded me of the story that Suki's breeder had told me....the horses had all been out in the fields (Suki was 2 at the time)when KS's daughter cut through between the fields to go swimming at the neighbors', carrying a large inflatable whale. All of the horses ran away as she made her way through. All except Suki, who trotted over to the fence to investigate!

So, sore tonight and likely more sore in the morning.....I am now on the couch after a few Advil and a glass of wine....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Suki is a bit jealous!

This beautiful weather is such a teaser for autumn. Temperature this morning was in the forties, a crisp start to the day requiring a light jacket! I even broke out a "transitional piece" to wear to work. Fall is my favorite time of year. The cooler weather, changing scenery and pumpkins! I love when I have to wear a light sweater or sweatshirt for riding. Leaves seem to be falling at an alarming rate, which I think is early, since it actually started in August.

With the cooler temperatures it will soon be time for regular sheets for the girls. I will have to put some type of foam piece into the sheets for Suki, but once we switch to heavier blankets extra padding may not be needed. Which reminds me....time to call the Blanket Lady to send the mid-weight and heavier blankets out for cleaning. I am also once again, tragically behind on saddle pad washing and am considering sending them out en masse to be washed! When I removed a saddle pad from the clean bin on Sunday, I believe there was only one remaining in the bin!

Yesterday I took a FaceBook hiatus.... AND I didn't even go to the barn. It was a beautiful, cool day so I figured the girls had probably been out all day. Nikki had been ridden on Sunday, and Suki had a full spa treatment that day. I texted the barn manager to check on them, and decided all was well and to forgo a trip. Isaiah and I were able to focus on homework, popcorn and a movie. It worked out well!

I am definitely noticing that Suki seems a little jealous about Nilli's presence in the barn. Clearly she understands that my attention is now divided, but just as with multiple children I try to balance the care and attention. This afternoon everyone was still outside because of the cool, breezy day. I brought Suki in first, after coaxing her out of the run-in part of the bank barn. She spit clover saliva all over me while I tried to put on her halter and hold the gate closed with my foot. I continue to be thrilled (and relieved)at the status and progress of the graft area without the bandage! Suki's back is nicely moisturized, but some spots do get a bit dry. The right side of her neck, although protected by her mane it still requires extra moisturizing. The scarred skin has a different texture from normal skin and appears tougher than what it actually is. I have noticed that it is prone to scratching open when not covered by protective clothing and Suki decides to have a big scratch against the wall. Additionally sometimes small pustules erupt occasionally, but a bit of antibiotic ointment with aloe, or Furacin keeps it small and they heal quickly.

When I finished taking care of Suki I put her back out with Banker and brought Nikki in to get ready to ride. That too, required a bit of coaxing as she and Chester looked at me from the top of the field with little interest in coming to the gate. Instead of going back to find Banker, Suki stood by the gate and watched my every move, even nickering to me from time to time. I had to bring Chester in with Nikki, because there was no way he was going to let me take her without him!

The entire time I was getting Nikki ready I could hear Suki out in the back talking and pacing. It was not frantic, just sort of a discussion.....

When I brought Nikki out through the front of the barn Suki was standing by the fence. She called to Nikki, who responded. There is definitely a recognition between them. That was the only calling but Suki stayed close to that part of the fence grazing while I had Nikki out. Nikki was delightful and after a brief warm up we set to work on transitions within the gaits. Going down the long side at the canter, Nikki sometimes required a little bit of a sharper reminder to shorten her stride again. It was a good exercise, under Suki's watchful eye! Not until Nikki was back out in her field did Suki relax and go back to grazing with Chester. She even watched and called to me while I was turning Nikki back out! A treat appeased her and off she went. Such a funny girl. And obviously VERY possesive of me!

And now I must address homework and the scarf in school colors (GO WILDCATS!) that I am knitting......(don't ask)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Continued progress

Post storm brought cool morning temperatures and low humidity. I walked outside to put out birdseed and peanuts and was greeted by the crisp pre-autumn air. My house sits on a hill, so I am privvy to a beautiful view of the mountains surrounded by clear blue sky on this morning. As usual I had one thought on my mind...perfect day to ride!

The horses were in last night because of the storms that blew through in the late afternoon and early evening. As my feet crunched along the gravel driveway (I love that sound!)I anticipated a bit of crankiness from the girls, but was instead greeted by a hearty nicker from both Suki and Nikki! Of course when took Nikki out of her stall first, Suki poked her eyeball through the bars on her stall door, while simultaneously giving me the evil eye. She has excellent communication skills!

The footing in the arena was perfect and I set up some trot rails for Nikki. She lunged quietly in spite of the antics of some of the horses in pasture around her, and having been in over night. Nikki really has always been quite sensible, with a wonderful mind. I can't help but grin as I swing into the saddle. This time is all mine, and I cherish it more than I can say. Although occasionally distracted by a goose honking in the nearby stream, it was a productive ride, and I believe both of us were smiling at the end. Nikki enjoyed the trot poles, and I got off once to spread them further apart to test her reach and stretch. As usual, my beautiful baby rose to the occasion. After dismounting, naturally she wiped her foamy mouth on me before I could prevent it, and we did our forehead-to forehead post-ride snuggle. Nikki knew that she was good and strutted back to the barn. In just two short weeks I have increased my riding hours and spending quality time with both girls. In spite of my busy/crazy schedule, I am having the time of my life, and know that I am fortunate to have this experience.

Suki was still sulking when I returned to the barn, so when I finished with Nikki a took her out to lunge. Wearing a bridle and polos, Suki passaged past the dump truck (this is such a game to her sometimes!) and went into the arena. After a bit of trot and canter in both directions I presented Suki to the trot poles. Once again I was rewarded with her natural talent....she trotted through them beautifully and after a few times through I increased the distance between the rails. The girl quite literally FLOATS over the trot poles. Suki knows when she has performed well and with her arrogant, diva attitude, she too, strutted back to the barn. I know that a lot of people do not really like working with mares. I actually prefer mares. For some reason I just bond more deeply with them.

Two weeks and no bandage.... okay....does this not look great! Dr. Mike is also impressed, but is too humble to take the credit for this success!
I have not yet applied a lycra lining to the foam, which I think will help prevent rubbing. But I am so thrilled about the progress. Once blanket season arrives maybe I won't need the foam?? One thing I noticed is that Suki's mane needs a serious shampooing! The area beneath it does not have a lot of hair, so it is moisturized frequently, leading to an oily build up.....

So yesterday, I was talking to a fellow boarder. She has a cute TB who I believe has never raced, and she has done the majority of the training herself. Previous interactions have included this person talking about her past successes in training, management, etc. Our conversation yesterday started innocently about winter riding pants. I had said that I have never been very comfortable riding in them because I don't have enough feel. K said that she doesn't need to feel because her horse is so sensitive to voice commands that she doesn't need to use her leg. I tried to explain about dressage training a little but she countered with a comment about how dressage riders like to sit on their couch horses and not do anything. HUH?? Again I tried to explain that is not what dressage is about, without really getting anywhere. Once again I was bombarded with what a fabulous rider she is. This is someone who has never seen me ride, or my horse go....a little frustrating. I am not one to talk about my glory days, because they are just that...glory days, in the past. I work toward new successes and milestones. Another comment included about the hoof prints in the arena and how heavy Nikki must be when she moves and her horse just floats....I bite my tongue and move on....these conversations do not seem to progress...

As long as me and my girls progress, I guess that is what matters. I try not not make snide comments, even when they sit on the tip of my tongue.....

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Getting into a routine and another milestone!

So school is now in full swing with homework extracurriculars, volunteering, career, riding laundry cooking,etc! Uggh! But It is nice to be riding regularly and seeing both girls everyday. We are all trying to settle into a routine that works, between my husband's work travel and mine and all things in between.

Rain, back-to-school night and other events kept me from riding Tuesday and Wednesday, but there was time to groom both girls and Suki had her spa treatment.

The graft continues to do well without the bandage, so I have been able to keep Suki's entire back moisturized. Judging from the mud on her knees and sheet, there has been some rolling, but the graft area has not been adversely affected. I am grateful for that! Perhaps I am finally finished with regularly buying elasticon?? It seems like we have reached another milestone! There will always be a few rolls in my box just in case, but then, Elasticon is always part of my wound/medical box. So finally, a 1 1/2 years after the graft surgery it looks like the wound will stay closed (knock on wood). The delay in healing had nothing to do with the procedure itself. It is primarily due to the location of the wound and the nature of the horse and the desire to roll. One thing I am noticing is that the long hairs from the plug sites have rubbed to shorter tufts. This is likely due to the friction of the foam against Suki's back. Overall, I believe she is more comfortable.

Thursday and Friday were very hot and humid. I rode Nikki both days, and she was happy and willing to work. Adding in some additional tasks for her keeps her mind occupiped, and her body physically challenged. We are falling into a nice rhythm of training, and I look forward to a lesson with Cheryl next weekend. Nikki is light off the leg and soft in my we are coming along nicely! My mental well-being has improved with riding regularly! My abs are tight again....yay! Nikki and I are strengthening our bond. After riding, she enjoys her ear massage and closes her eyes in relaxation......
Chester was already out by the time I finished with Nikki and fed her dinner. He is clearly the boss, but in a kind manner. When I let Nikki go in her field, She and Chester walked toward one another. They touched nose to nose and forehead to forehead before settling in to graze. It was a sweet moment between them. Sometimes, watching the interactions between horse friends, one feels like an intrusion....

Suki seems a bit put off by Nikki's presence in the barn. She clearly has observed that my attention is diverted, and I admit that on Thursday I shortened Suki's grooming time because of riding Nikki. That has to do a bit with timing. Because Suki was anxious to get out for the night I perfomed an abbreviated exfoliation/moisturizing and grooming for Suki. She certainly let me know that she felt cheated. I could see her eyeball peering through the stall bars as I finished with Nikki. I try to do what is in the best interest for both of my beautiful girls.

Thursday Nikki had her feet done. New farrier. The last time she had her feet done at Thistledew, she tried to lie down.... Now she wears shoes, so I hoped she would behave. At VMF she was improving, so I knew that it wouldn't be TOO bad, right??? Other than trying to nibble on Josh's butt and steal his tools, Nikki was a star! Thank goodness. One less thing to worry about! Maybe I CAN volunteer for the pancake breakfast at Isaiah's school after all.....

Yes, I am looking down, but it was raining REALLY hard!

Saturday began warm and humid. With strong storms predicted for afternoon and evening, the girls would be in over night. When I arrived at the barn today, after Isaiah's lesson and in early afternoon, the horses were still out. John often does this when he knows they will be in over night. Nikki and Chester were happily grazing at the top of their pasture as I made my way down the driveway. Suki and Banker came out of the bank barn as I parked and gathered my supplies. By the time Iwent out to the pu;; Suki, both she and Banker seemed quite bothered by the bugs, so I brought both of them in.

The clouds came over again so I decided to lunge Suki, in Nikki's dressage bridle.... She allowed me to slip it over her head easily, reaching for the bit as I brought the bridle up over her head. Suki wants to work. It is evident in her behavior. She lights up when we get into the ring. While, I probably should have kept the lunge light, I saw in Suki's stride the pride and joy in performing. It always brings me to tears....she is so amazing, and has such courage, strength and character. We worked without words....I simply shifted my body to ask for the work. At the end, we touched foreheads in understanding. Then I asked for one last thing at the gate.....just a few steps, but it was there. Piaffe on command. Suki sat on her hind end and answered the command. I was speechless. We turned and met eye to eye. The bond is deep and strong. These are once in a lifetime moments.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Still no bandage, and riding in the rain

Nearly a week without a bandage! The graft is now nicely moisturized, and holding up with just the padded fly sheet. Dare I become cautiously optimistic now?? Each day as I enter the barn I hold my breath just a bit until I see Suki's back. Of course, I can't see the top of Suki's back, but there is enough within my view for me to see a catstrophe!

Sunday's rain was not expected to start until the afternoon, so I thought I was safe at 9 AM. However, during my very brief ride to the barn the rain began to fall lightly. With bright skies to the west I expected the shower to be brief, planning to groom Suki first, then sqeeze in my ride on Nikki. As I gathered the girls' supplies from the tack room the sky brightened and I decided to try to ride first. Jenn was there and was going to take some photos....I hadn't seen pictures of myself on Nikki in over a year! Hmmm, perhaps I should have dressed in something a little nicer than my NYCB Nutcracker tee shirt!

Needless to say the sky darkened again when we got into the arena with the sound of Chester calling to Nikki from the barn. This time Nikki did not respond, which surprised me! A slight drizzle had developed once I was mounted. Five minutes later the rain became heavier and my ride waas cut short. Nikki was a very good sport about the rain, and worked well. When I dismounted I moved to her face to give Nikki my post-ride kiss on the nose I saw that her forelock was dripping rain water onto her face.... She shook it from her eyes and leaned down to me....sweet girl!

With the cloudy skies and occasional rain, I was able to thoroughly moisturize Suki's back. Instead of sunscreen on her face I was able to use the gel moisturizer which does a much better job. Unfortunately it is too oily for sun exposure! The graft continues to look good without the aid of the bandage, and I am thrilled with how the skin is no longer dry!

When I went back in the afternoon to put Suki's fly sheet on she took an awkward step when she first came out. My initial reaction was that the Lyme disease was not the cause of lameness, but once we walked forward it was completely gone. Hopefully it was just that, an awkward step. I will continue to monitor the lameness....and hope that I don't see it again!

Monday, September 3

More rain. After yesterday's very rainy ride, I was determined to choose the best time of day to avoid the same today. Determined to get a ride in before the rain this morning off I went, first thing in the morning. The horses were still out when I arrived because with rain predicted for the next few days and nights J was trying to give the horses as much time outside as possible before they were forced to stay in the barn. My plan was to bring Nikki in. Chester decided that he needed to come in first, and shoved Nikki out of the way, so I brought him in followed by Nikki. Then Suki and Banker started to run in their pasture so I brought them in as well. Prince became hysterical at his gate so he was next. The other four horses seemed fine. After throwing everyone a flake of hay I finally pulled Nikki out of her stall to get ready for our ride. The sky was already beginning to darken so I did a quick grooming and out we went. A three minute lunge and I was ready to go....and so was the rain. It was just drizzling, and even stopped during our ride, for which I was grateful! A nice workout, even if Nikki was a little suspicious of Dylan staring at her from his field!

By the time I finished and went back into the barn, Suki was a bit miffed that all of the attention had not been lavished upon her. Once I placated her with some treats, I groomed Nikki and pulled Suki out of her stall. She proceeded to march me past the cross ties and over to Nikki's stall, and said something to her, with ears pinned (not total snakeface, but it was most definitely not a happy face!). Nikki, unfazed, nickered softly and went back to her hay. I love watching them interact! I cannot believe how well the graft is doing without the bandage. It looked beautiful again today. I really feel like we are finally moving forward again. But I have bandage materials on hand just in case.

Within the next week or so Jenn will be taking some autumn pictures of Suki and and we can finalize photos for the calendar to have them ready for sale in November....

The barn was peaceful as I groomed Suki and gave her a spa treatment. How fortunate I am to have these beautiful girls in my life. Once again I am reminded that I don't always take the time to appreciate life's gifts.