Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Being Thankful

So it has been quite awhile now that Suki has gone without additional padding on her graft site. She always wears clothing to protect the scarred skin across her back that does not have hair, so that does offer extra protection to the sensitive graft area. It is so wonderful to not have to worry about bandaging and to feel at ease about the healing process. Dr. Fugaro and his staff and students at Centenary College (Team Suki) did an amazing job. That level of dedication and care is the reason for the success of the skin graft. Yes, it required quite a bit of care once she returned from Centenary, but without their generosity and superb skill I would probably still be dealing with an open wound.

Look how far we have come...
Post op day 12


I remember when I heard that Courtney King, the Olympic dressage rider had fallen from her horse suffering a traumatic brain injury. Schooling a young horse and not wearing a helmet, the horse tripped unseating Courtney causing her to fall and hit her head. After spending weeks in a coma, with an uncertain recovery, Courtney threw herself into her rehab. Hard work, courage and support from family and friends she came back to riding, with a new interest in the benefits of therapeutic riding. Now a proponent of ALWAYS wearing a helmet, Courtney has made the world stand up and take notice, with many FEI riders now sporting a safety helmet in competition instead of the traditional hard hat. She was recently recognized by the FEI with the "Against All Odds" award. We salute you Courtney, and are inspired by your courage!

Sunday was a beautiful day, perfect for riding. A little warm, especially for Nikki's winter coat, making the post ride grooming and removal of saddle and bridle marks a lengthy process. I don't mind when I have the time, because grooming enhances the bond between horse and rider. I have never understood owners who like to have their horses ready to be ridden upon their arrival at the barn, then handing the horse off post ride to a groom. I don't mean professionals who have numerous horses to ride; in that case the assistance of a good groom is essential. Nikki doesn't like to have her belly groomed with anything but a cloth, and gently only, so it sometimes takes awhile to rid her of sweat marks! She was very focused on me even while sharing the arena with two other horses. I find that when there is more activity she looks to me for more guidance, with ears twitching back inquisitively. I had set the trot poles quite far apart and Nikki rose to the occasion with some brilliant suspension! Suki stood by the fence for awhile and watched leaving her post only when I led Nikki out of the arena and into the barn. I could hear her nickering to me from the back gate, impatiently telling me to hurry!

Dressed in a cooler Nikki relaxed in her stall for a bit while I groomed Suki and gave her a spa treatment. Suki's face was very itchy so I held the exfoliation mitt up to her face and let her determine where she wanted to be scratched. Instead of lunging I took her out and worked on some leading exercises/commands. Once out in their respective pastures the girls made their way up the fence line side by side, occasionally stopping to touch noses over the fence. My phone was in the car or I would have taken a video of the scene. It was really very sweet. Especially since no sqealing was involved!

With a littel extra time my tack finally received the cleaning it so desperately needed instead of a quick wipe down.

Driving down the driveway on my way home I slowed to take a look at my girls. Again I thought about what I often take for granted. How fortunate I am to have two beautiful Oldenburg mares. So on Thanksgiving Eve I count my blessings.....I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful son, good health, wonderful family and friends, a lovely home and a steady career. Indeed, much to be thankful for.

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