Monday, October 15, 2012

A Constant Reminder

Sunday morning was cloudy and chilly but the day was expected to improve with sunshine and temperatures in the 60's. I decided to wait until the afternoon to ride and take care of Suki because the temperatures would have warmed up enough to remove Nikki's sheet and change Suki into her fly sheet.

As per her new habit, Suki was at one of her pasture gates calling to me as I exited my car. Nikki and Chester happily grazed at the top of their field. This new routine requires that I IMMEDIATELY present treats to Her Royal Highness Princess Amiritta before proceeding into the barn. Clearly this plan has worked in her favor, so when the horses are outside I always have to greet Suki first! Clever girl!

I rode Nikki first, and although it was not a long ride it was productive. It was also relaxing until the cannons went off! The Daniel Boone Homestead which is not too far from the barn was apparently hosting Heritage Day, complete with cannon fire....Nikki was very good about it, and in fact, it probably startled me more than it did her! Nothing like cannon fire to get the heart pumping!!

I let Nikki (and Chester, because he always comes in with her)chill in their stalls for a bit while I went to get Suki. She had moved into the bank barn at that point and casually started her walk to the gate when I called her name. As I stood inside the gate she let out a squeal and came thundering toward me. "Hmmm", I thought. "Will she stop in time?" Never fear, of course she did...coming to a halt in front me and lowering her head. Watching her express such joy, animation and GOOD health is heartwarming. How different my life would be without seeing this amazing girl each day!

I pulled off her mid weight sheet and stepped up on the stool to look at the graft....perfect!! YAY! No bandage OR padded sheet for a week!

A quick grooming and off we went into the arena. Instead of lunge work we performed some leading exercises followed by an attempt at a few steps of piaffe. While slightly resistant initially, suddenly I noticed her body lift, her hind end sit and several steps of piaffe (with slight forward movement) followed. I praised her extensively, and as we walked back to the barn she swaggered a bit and swung her royal head with pride!

After her spa treatment I replaced the midweight sheeet with the padded fly sheet due to the warming temperatures. Next year she will most likely wear a fly sheet without padding, but for now we will play it safe. After all, she wears a regular sheet without padding and soon full blanket season will be upon us!

Sunday (October 14, 2012)

I had breakfast this morning with my friend Bobbi. Her horse Whisby was in the barn fire with Suki. When Suki was blinded, with her eyes swollen shut from severe burns to her face and head, Whisby's eyes became her eyes as well. The girls were in adjacent stalls, and we had boarded together at a prior barn. They knew each other well, and we believe that is what kept them together on that tragic evening. Following the sound and smell of her friend, Suki followed Whisby, who led them safely away from the barn. By following Whisby Suki did not crash into anything during their midnight run......this to me is miraculous, displaying the awe-inspiring courage of these two big chestnut mares.

Then, when it was determined that Suki needed to go the hospital, but Whisby did not, Bobbi, to me, made a sacrifice for which she will always be my hero. As most of you know, I was unable to leave my home because my 3 year old son was sleeping and my husband was out of town on business. Leaving her own injured horse at a strange farm, Bobbi and her husband borrowed a truck and trailer (our trailers were not accessible because they were parked at Pink Star) and drove Suki 1 1/2 hours to New Bolton Center in the middle of the night. This was a huge relief to me because Suki knows Bobbi, and I think was probably less frightened because a familiar voice was soothing her. A mere "thank you" seems so inadequate.

Whisby had crashed through a paddock (according to one account)where the horses had been temporarily placed after exiting the barn. That part of the story is sketchy, and I hoped it will be clarified when I speak to the firefighters. She suffered an injured chest and shoulder, with ember burn flecks across her back. I asked Bobbi yesterday if hair had grown on those spots. She said no, and that it is a constant reminder of that night. Otherwise Whisby has fully recovered and is now schooling 4th level/Prix St Georges again, after nearly two years off from regular training. But like Suki she bears those scars that mark that night forever. The scars that speak to us and never let us forget that what began as a tragedy culminated in a happy ending.

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