I relaunched Horse Bloggers today.
This is a free directory specifically for horse-related blogs.
If you had an account on there before, for various technical reasons I had to start fresh. You’ll need to create a new account, but it’s free and will only take a minute or two to do.
Also, this is a soft launch. You may find a few rough edges around the site, but drop me a note and I’ll sort it out.
In early 2012, I saw a Craig’s List ad for a grade, hairy, 18-month-old pony.
Under normal circumstances, none of those descriptors would make it on my horse-buying list, but there was something about his photo that intrigued me.
In an act so uncharacteristic of me that I can’t even describe it, I hooked up my trailer and went to go look at the pony. Reason reinstated itself for one day, but I returned the next day, loaded Dexter up, and brought him home.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with him, but I figured if nothing else he could stop with me for a year or two, grow up, get started under saddle, and then I’d find him a suitable home. Or keep him, if he turned out to be my kind of ride.
Dexter cleaned up nicely and was a barn favorite everywhere. He spent the last year doing nothing but eating, playing, and sleeping. And sometimes sleeping in the hay pile, to make the transition from sleeping to eating that much quicker.
Everything seemed to be going well, and early this year I started baby ground work sessions with the intent of backing him sometime this summer.
Then in late January, he had a severe bout of uveitis in both eyes.
We were never able to get him completely through that bout. Every time we attempted to wean him off medications, it flared back up. At the same time, he developed an abscess that would not respond to targeted treatment and, in the past few weeks, began developing additional complications.
Ultimately, there was nothing more I could do for him and he was put to sleep a few days ago.
While I knew I would probably only have him for a year or two, this is not the ending I expected. However, I am glad I had him for the time I did. Over the past year I watched him grow from a sweet but pretty passive pony into one with confidence, an abundant desire to explore, and more than a bit of trouble maker in him. It was only a year, but it was a good year.
I haven’t been posting much because no one loves a bad country song, and my life has been very much like a bad country song.
But eventually, you reach that point where you have to make a big, big decision: do I drag myself off the couch while the cushions might still spring back to their normal shape, or do I disappear into the couch lint with the sound of bad reality TV in the background?
I’ll be honest: it was the commercials that tipped the scales. I was offended by every commercial I saw. Either the commercials were offensive in and of themselves, or they were so stupid the idea that they would appeal to anyone with two brain cells was offensive. I was swearing I would never buy from companies X, Y, and Z again… and then one day I realized that there was no one left. I was going to have to buy some land, raise some chickens and cows, and learn to make everything I needed for myself.
And let’s be honest—reinventing the industrial revolution is a drag.
So that left dragging myself off the couch and doing… something.
My family is planning a trip to hike the Chilkoot Trail next year, and I would really like to go. For those of you who have forgotten your US History lessons, the Chilkoot Trail is the one many gold miners used to get to Alaska. It’s the home of the famous Golden Stairs. These Golden Stairs:
The family member who is organizing this trip has informed us all that she will not be dragging our asses up the Golden Stairs, so if we want to come, we had better be able to make it up. With our gear. Or else she’d tell the park rangers where to find us and go on her merry way.
Since it’s my mom, I believe her. She had that tone in her voice.
If I am going to go on this trip, I would prefer for my gear to consist of, oh, a backpack and a tent and a sleeping bag and stuff of that nature. Junk in the trunk… not so much.
So if wanting to avoid grinding my own flour by hand was not enough motivation, there’s the rest of it: Chilkoot Pass or bust, baby.
On Monday, I dug through my closet, threw out some dessicated moths, and found my workout clothes. I put them on, tied on my tennis shoes, and headed out into the neighborhood on my great and glorious path to fitness.
Twenty minutes later, my right foot went numb. I’m not sure how a foot can fall asleep while you’re walking on it, but apparently it can.
I turned to limp home, and immediately my foot started waking up again. After some judicious hopping around to get that stinging feeling out, I turned around and kept on walking. I have my foot’s number now: it’s doing the reluctant toddler thing. Fine, then. It can pitch a fit all it wants, but it’s going to have to come along whether it’s awake or asleep.
Various other parts of my body have attempted to mutiny all week, but like the relentless dictator that I so secretly am, I quashed all their objections and then medicated them into silence. Oh, pain killers. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
This morning it occurred to me that my foot might have been going numb because my tennis shoes are, in shoe age, about as old as Methuselah. I walked to the sporting goods store to buy some new shoes and sure enough—I put on a pair that neither looked nor felt like something that had been ravaged by a pack of wild wolves and my whole body felt better.
Also, as an aside, I cannot believe how hard it is to find non-Nike technical fabrics. Half the women’s section was full of $60 Nike monstrosities and the other half was full of $10 cotton crap that clearly must be worn by delicate flowers of the desert who never sweat. For those of us who won’t buy Nike and know better than to work out in cotton, there were two sad racks in between. Annoying.
But somehow I managed to scrounge together a couple shirts and shorts, so I can workout without offending everyone. Hopefully. And in shoes that make my feet happy.
Only one thing left before I can dive into this theoretical fitness plan full force so I’m in shape by next summer, but it’s a big thing. One that is not to be taken lightly.
I must create a playlist for my iPod.
While walking to the store this morning, it was alternating between classical and Christmas music and—not that there’s anything wrong with either classical or Christmas music per se—that is just not a helpful vibe.
I mean, even bad country music would be more inspiring.*
*Because it would make me start running, just to get the exercise over sooner so I could turn the music off. You know what I mean?
A few weeks ago, Dexter exhibited some uncharacteristic behavior and was ultimately diagnosed with bilateral uveitis.
Typically (not that there is really any such thing as “typical” uveitis), horses with uveitis will have their first episode between the ages of 4 and 8. It usually affects only one eye, although it may spread to the other eye later. It only affects both eyes in about 20% of the cases.
For most horses, this means that if you can manage the uveitis episodes, the horse will often have months or years before they lose vision in their affected eye. At that point, it is often enuncleated because it is no longer useful for the horse but can still cause painful flareups. Horses get along very well with just one eye—often better than they got along while their eye was losing vision—and many never look back from this point.
Unfortunately, Dexter is young for a diagnosis and both eyes are affected. What happens next will depend on how much vision he’s lost, how long he goes before his next episode, and how he reacts to the next episode.
For now, we’re only focused on getting him through this episode. I am hopeful we are through the worst of it; today was the first day he truly seemed like himself since it began.
I haven’t put up any video of Dexter in a while, so here’s the wooly winter pony.