Wednesday, December 31, 2014

More changes for Deli and me as 2014 sets.

Sadly, Deli had to leave her old-mare buddy behind.
As the New Year beckons, I find myself thinking over 2014 and what it meant to me – and Deli. This year has had more downs than ups, and I’m happy to see it go.

As if to emphasize my need for a fresh start, I moved Deli again this week.

We have moved back to the barn where she had her serious groin tear – the barn I was at around the time this blog was started. Sounds insane, right, given that still ranks up there as one of her most serious injuries to date?

But I’m pretty sure groin tear was a fluke, a true accident where Deli decided to roll too close to the fence and probably got a foot caught under the gate. I don’t believe it’s a serious danger as the facilities were nice. AND this was a standout barn in that the barn owner was not a liar, cheat, actually has good horse sense, and was primarily concerned about the health of the horse and a lack of drama! (Also, her hatred of mud is a nice perk in the PNW when you have a horse with skin issues.) It’s sad how rare those things seem to be in horse boarding, but Deli and my experiences over the past couple years prove that boarding a horse is often terrible. Case and point: this person doesn’t even OFFER boarding anymore because her boarders were awful.

Horse people: why do you have to be so nasty to deal with? And illogical, mean spirited, and uneducated in the ways of equines! Not to say there aren’t some salt-of-the-earth equestrians out there. I know many. But they seem few and far between these days.

Within 10 minutes at the new place (Deli on left).
So we moved to get away from the anxiety-causing insanity and give us a safe place to heal and for me to get the emotional boost I would normally get from being with my horse back.  I still love spending time with her, of course, but my barn situation was frosty at best and I needed to get out for more than one reason.

This new barn does not have great trail access (which is why we moved away from it originally), but trail access has to be secondary to my horse being safe and me not having anxious fits about her care all the time.

Deli’s most recent injuries were caused by a new horse in her pasture who literally grabbed onto her with his teeth on more than one occasion and would not let go. Like a bulldog. Or an aggressive stallion. I didn’t see this happen, but it’s the only explanation for the physical evidence I was left with (there were clear teeth marks, so it wasn’t a kick). She had significant deep tissue damage in her right-hind and left shoulder, with other equine professionals saying they had very rarely seen such bad bites with respect to the level of deep tissue damage (the surface wounds were minor). When I brought my concerns to the forefront, I was essentially told I wrong because they saw no evidence of aggressive behavior from the other horse.
Look at this troublemaker...

The barn and other boarders reaction was very very odd, to be honest, because Deli had been housed with an extremely dominant (but better socialized!) gelding before and they hadn’t heard a peep from me. In fact, Deli never had a mark on her from that horse and wasn’t anxious about him even though he would herd her around all the time.

Essentially: I cause drama because I'm not okay with my horse being housed with a dangerous horse who has, twice, injured her seriously enough to require both vet care and several months of lay up before starting rehab riding?! And somehow this is both Deli and my fault. The only solution they gave me was to isolate her from the other horses in a smaller paddock (also not good for her health, which I explained to them). If you are shaking your head in disbelief - that has been my life this month.

Perpetually unimpressed with humanity... 
So I call bullshit – I’m pretty sure something else was going on behind the scenes. I have seen this gelding chasing Deli and was very disturbed by the fact that he would come up to my horse with a nicker and forward ears – essentially making friendly overtures – and then go after her with intent to kill. My poor creampuff of a mare, who wants to be friends with everyone and is so well-socialized that she will move away with a mere look from a dominant horse, was very confused and anxious around this gelding’s and his not-normal behavior. Unfortunately I wasn’t given any options for either moving her or separating them. Despite this, I was hopeful she would be okay because after the shoulder injury Deli’s friend, a sweet ancient mare, seemed to be guarding her. And Deli seemed to have learned her lesson and avoided the gelding even when he was acting friendly.

But the people drama. Ugh, the people drama. I don’t have a horse for the social aspects of it, to be perfectly honest. I certainly like riding with friends but I have a horse for the time spent with the horse (what a novel concept!). I look forward to time alone with her, particularly when we can get outside in natural areas away from the bustle of the city that I dislike.

As if to emphasize how well-socialized and friendly Deli is, it took all of 2 minutes for her to make her new pasture companion a friend. Deli lip-nipped her over the fence, they were turned out together and the older dominant mare chased her for about two strides before they settled down and grazed next to each other.  And my horse is the problem? Puh-lease.

This barn will be our place of rest and recovery. Her re-hab riding is going well after I got over my mental block and pushed her past some early discomfort.  Equine massage has also been a real help in getting her back on track and I hope that, come spring, she will be well enough for more trail riding and horse camping with friends.

Eyes up. Forward moving.
That’s my small goal for her: take her horse camping and trail riding out and about.

For me? I’d really like to do another endurance ride or two, if I am lucky enough to get another pick-up ride.

Here’s to 2015 being better than its predecessor!

No comments:

Post a Comment