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Author Topic: Life just outside the comfort zone  (Read 1363 times)

wakemom

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Life just outside the comfort zone
« on: November 15, 2013, 04:12:55 pm »

I have never been one for journals/diaries or things of that nature. Growing up a tomboy with two brothers had me scaling trees, playing whatever street sport was in at the moment, shooting cans/targets with a bb gun, playing in the riverbed and riding whatever half broke horse Grandpa had around at the time...no time to write down feelings or thoughts. Yes, I played with dolls too but would have rather been outside wrecking havoc (legally) til the street lights came on. So why now? I have been pondering the term "Life outside the comfort zone" in the last few days...I guess because I really have had some fun pushing myself and even my friends...just to the edge of it and returning having learned something along the way. So here it is...Life just outside the comfort zone...horsie style. From my adult, after kids got their own life, horse world.

My first on my own without no help from anybody horse came in the form of a semi hormonal 14 year old QH mare. She was one of my Mom's horses born out of a favorite dam but my Dad had decided he didn't particularly care for her temperament and after unsuccessful attempts to sell her, my Mom gave her to me. Oh was I over mounted and over my head with a barn sour, kick out at other horses crazy mare. My comfort zone with her started in the round pen, where I rode round and round til I thought either her or I was going to get dizzy and fall over. Eventually my comfort zone strayed into the arena and eventually to passively play with the cows. Her and I were finally starting to get somewhere in her 17th year when I lost her to an undetermined lameness issue...no one could ever tell me what happened as I was out of town when my Aunt made the decision I couldn't.

Then along comes a coming three year old...and boy did the comfort zone change. Outside the comfort zone then came in the form of an unruly, unmannered and unhandled Rocky mtn filly. Leading her to the round pen at my former stables was a journey in discomfort. Try leading or let's say stay on your feet while the horse takes you on a ski ride at the end of a lead rope, while going down hill, in the rocks while dogs charged a chain link fence...just to get to the round pen to work said unruly filly. We got thru the ground work stuff and somewhere after Gabby turned three my friend (who is a breeder/trainer and my backup when I needed help/advice) started riding her for me on the trails around the stables. My comfort zone then on a young horse lied in the arena...I felt contained in there. We went on our first trail rides that summer where we were riding with stallions and we had our first experience with swimming and riding a 3 1/2 year old down a busy street. That outside the comfort zone trip did more than just suck the shoes off our feet, it opened up my mind to the endless possibilities of what I may be able to do with this horse. I am forever grateful to my good friend and "backup" for showing me what was lurking just outside my comfort zone back then.  We lived thru many adventures and eventually moved from that stables...and that's where the true outside the comfort zone stuff started happening. Suddenly I was with out "backup" left to my own devices and my own ideas of comfort.

Seemingly endless riding in the arena and round pen work teaching G that I was the person she needed to trust, I was the leader in our herd. No more asking someone else to "fix this". I was responsible for making or breaking us. Yes, if I got stuck, I still called my "back up" and after consultations I could get us through what ever I thought at the time was insurmountable. That seemingly endless riding in circles, moving hinds, moving fores, one rein stops, roll backs etc...made me the mtn goat I now have but at the time didn't realize I was making. I was the crazy chick tying everything under the sun on myself or G to desensitise her. I saw "stuff" as equine torture devices or ways to make me laugh not sure which.

Time once again to step outside that comfort zone...trail ride with someone other than the original crew, to a trail, a real trail. This trail had hills, giant forever up and down big hills we'd only been on short small hills until that point. Seriously looking back on it now, I was an idiot. In my defense, I had no idea where I was going, was along for the ride cuz someone was nice enough to ask. I round penned her before we went...that didn't curb G's excitement in being outside her comfort zone. New horse, new place, really? Shall we say Mom lost her mind? We lived thru that and it's a part of trail I don't ever take new riders on, let alone new to "big trail" horses.

Our next experience with outside the comfort zone came in the form of "riding out alone"! Out the front gate of the stables, across the road, down the street and into "da Hood" all by meeessellfff!! Surly I'd lost my mind now, why on earth would one want to ride...alone?!! Well we lived thru that and...that of course led to trailering out to ride all by meself...comfort zone again...it keeps getting bigger.

Now our comfort zone has expanded to riding thru the local drive thrus, the beach, the rivers, the lake, da hood (we say if your horse is hood broke it's broke), the hills, in the dark, cantering thru the trees/hills playing Nascar race ponies, riding bareback and bridle less, and playing hide n' seek in the dark. There is not anything I don't think we wouldn't try if given the opportunity. I will be forever grateful for having those first experiences that pushed me just a little further than I was comfortable with at the time cuz they taught me there's lots of fun to be had...just outside our comfort zone. Hope to see ya there!


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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2013, 04:13:29 pm »

A little bit of pressure but it all worked out...that's another comfort zone challenge. Three years ago New Years Day we introduced my good friend to the horse world via the been there done that paint horse Mimi. It didn't take her long to decide that horses were wonderful therapy and get the desire to start looking for one of her very own. Guess you know who helped look. Prerequisite...anything gaited preferably Rocky. We looked at this and that and she in the mean time took a few riding lessons in a couple of different places...quickly found out who to trust and who to blow off.

When the local search only led us to half lame or other health issues, I put out the request here on GHS. What we found via the great group of people here ...is her dream horse, the perfect horse for her, in an 8 year old black Rocky Mare. Not without pressure...what if she got here and my friend didn't like her? "Back up" said "ship her, sell her if it don't work". Yeah, like that would happen. :D Foxy turned out to be everything everyone said she was and my friend has enjoyed learning everything there is to learn about her horse. I watched her go from timid don't do much but walk to creeping closer and closer to the comfort zone boundaries...one ride at a time. Riding out in da hood alone, still sometimes a challenge, but they do it.

Now her new found fun zone is cantering/galloping under saddle. Here I have to say I was put a little bit on the spot, can I get this eight legged, really not ever been beyond a saddle rack, horse to do something she's really not sure she wants to do. I'd called my "back up" to give me advice on whether what I was gonna do, was gonna work, too much pressure was on me and I wanted company. See she'd (my backup) tried to canter Foxy in the past (about a year and a half ago) but didn't get anything real consistent and because her availability was limited, we sort of put it on the back burner and worked on other things. Canter work up hills or in sandy areas became my method of choice. G and I would take off, in hopes that Foxy would get so excited about being left alone she'd get up enuf speed and just do it. I chose my spots with that in mind. What I did end up doing, worked, I had to work for it but Foxy finally cantered on the flat with a rider on her back, and not the eight legged discombubalated one where you think you're gonna hock up a lung. (my back up got back to me after I'd already done it). Yea for my friend she got to ride it that day too and I was so happy for her. This poor girl has had me pushing her just a little further beyond her comfort zone on many rides...both of us laughing along the way.

We've been at the bottom of a trail where my horse said, thanks but crossing that yucky water with the rocks in the way is not gonna happen on the way back, so ya better figure out a way out that's not this way. My friend was left to wondering if we were gonna be left sleeping down there in the tick infested trail with nuthin' but each other and the horses to keep us warm. We've been lost and needed cell phone GPS to tell us to "turn left" when that was the only way to go. I've stolen her horse countless times when she's been silly enough to leave her with me. Yeah, "hold my horse", fun words for me for sure.  I've watched her navigate trails with her little black mtn goat that some people mite have been having a coronary over but countless times of me saying "trust your horse" while sneaking us into more and more challenging spots and she has learned...Trust the horse, but maybe question the crazy friend. :D Comfort zones...my friends know I'll be helping them find where theirs might end...and see them on the other side.
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2013, 04:14:40 pm »

A memorable venture just outside the comfort zone happened two years ago in February. This one came in the form of a cute little Quarter Horse mare named Chloe. Chloe's owner died in January of that year and was left to the devices of a non horse relative who came to see his brother thru the end stages of cancer. The brother made a terrible mistake, which took us days nearly weeks to figure out, of getting her hay in a truck bed that had hauled dead batteries. The battery acid on her hay when mixed with water and saliva was a bad combination resulting in horrible burns to her muzzle and mouth. My thoughts then went for overwhelming desperation, to anger with someone so ignorant and unwilling at times to help, to one in awe of a horse with a will to survive such a nasty injury.



When it became apparent that the brother wasn't going to go the distance for this mare, my friend and I requested he turn her over to us so that we didn't have to ask his permission for everything we did for her. With the help of many kind hearted people here on GHS and a wonderful friend with Doctor boyfriend, we were able to do what I originally thought was impossible. There were times when I thought we were going to have to make a decision to put her down...that was way uncomfortable for me as I had to help a boarders horse go over the Rainbow Bridge just a few months prior and my own horse several years before...I didn't want to go there again. So many people were pulling for her and helping in anyway they could. We kept plugging a long day to day, week to week and all thru this time this horse kept showing us she had the will to get thru it, if we had the will to keep helping her.



 She lost all the skin on her nose thru the next few months. Dr. Kipp debrided it the first time under sedation and there after she learned to trust that I was not going to hurt her on purpose and let me take care of the rest as it became loose. Lot's of patience was required of both of us. In the beginning I had to try to clean her face from the opposite side of the panel with a lead wrapped around so she couldn't strike. Then that became easier by wrapping a handy stick with the rag...and eventually she got over it all and allowed the process to be done by hand. I was never so glad to see all that nasty rotted skin gone.

 

Now we were on to figuring out if she'd ever be healthy enough to be a riding horse and possibly adopted out. Started from the ground up and worked from there. Originally started bare back in a rope side pull as she still had sores healing in her mouth. (Don't ask me why I have a habit of getting on the newbies bare back first) She was also left with a "tick" to loud noises and bright sunlight. This eventually went away over the next few months as did the not so nice smell from her nose.

 

Well was I brave enough to get on her and attempt to go anywhere? Yes, eventually my comfort zone expanded to where I knew for sure I wasn't sittin' on a keg of dynamite or a fire breathing dragon. I taught her to trailer load (the whole reason she was at our stables from years prior is that she refused to load) and took her to the lake.

 

 

 

 I rode this girl off and on that summer and she never ceased to make me happy I'd made the choice of stepping outside the comfort zone and getting involved with something that honestly scared the heck out of me in the beginning. Dealing with the brother, the injury itself and the pain this horse was in left me sleepless many nights. Looking back on it...I'd take that step all over again and not think twice...she's a great girl and will someday find someone that appreciates her for what she is. Yes, she is scarred physically as her face (wears a full nose fly mask and ointment/sunscreen) may not ever regrow all it's hair but emotionally she's as sound as they come and maybe better. She can wear a bit with no problem and is now shod to make her a lil more comfortable for trail rides. She's sort of the stables ornament these days with a donor who pays for her feed and feet trimming every month...another person who saw a need and didn't ask questions...just continues to help a deserving horse live as best a life as we can give her. Someday her prince/princess will come...for now we will be there for her, just as we always have been.

 



This little mare will forever be in my heart and memory as a reminder that good can come from stepping just outside the comfort zone.
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2013, 04:15:34 pm »

Nothing comforting about realizing you can't change reality. When I offered to take this mare and put time on her, I thought it would be a relatively easy task. Ride her and find her a good home. Well then I came to really like her and played into the game of maybe helping my Mom convince my Dad that she's a good horse...you just don't sell/give away good horses. As good an idea that seemed for the short term, I realized long term it wasn't going to work. More uncomfortable than realizing we can't keep her in the Family, is coming to terms with the fact my Mom may never ride again. She's too young (63 years old) for that really, but it's life and sometimes life doesn't play fair. My Mom has been in some sort of pain for most of my adult life whether knees (both replaced), osteo arthritis or the back issues, I almost don't know her any other way. Not fair and her horses are always what has kept her sane...now I seem to be taking one from her. It is for the best in all directions, they will be down to the two horses which will be easier and Candy will have a new home with kids...doesn't make it any easier for me...Sunday February 5th is still gonna hurt.

Copy of her ad I had here:

 

Yes, I know she's not gaited but maybe someone here knows someone who's looking for a trotter. This girl was born in Feb 1998. She belongs to my Mom and Dad but I have had her with me since June putting some trail time on her. Prior to my parents purchasing her 5 years ago she was a brood mare in a pasture. My Dad's heart attack last year and my Mom's on going back problems have them reconsidering owning 3 horses. This mare has won my heart but unfortunately not my finances. She has been a joy to work with/have around/ride and is so sweet. Trailers, ties, clips, bathes, falls asleep for farrier(shod size 00 halter horse feet), not marish, no rear/buck/kick, not spooky, walks out on trail (keeps up with the gaiteds), will lead or follow or ride alone with a rider that will without protest, and loves hugs. Utd on everything.

Recommending to a trail home that doesn't mind an in your pocket, wants some love, horse. She would be a great woman's or girl's horse as she loves attention. She will walk away from her just tossed food to be with you, go for a ride or turn out. Vices if one would consider them vices: She is the unofficial "hall monitor" as in if you take a horse out of their stall she will let everyone know someone is out of place, not a  buddy sour thing just a notification at this point. She plays with her tongue (her son does it too) randomly sticks it out and I have determined it is really not a bit thing as she has done it with bits, without and used to do it when I first brought her here just standing in her stall. I am currently riding her in an imus training bit as it seems to be the best at the moment and I don't have a whole arsenal of bits to try.

This horse has never done anything that I have ever been concerned about in her time with me. She's done quite a lot of things too in the 5 months I've been playing with her.  Rides trails, the streets with traffic, dogs, motorcycles, mtn bikes, goats, been thru fast food drive thru, rides in water, knows voice commands for walk, trot, ho and round pen. I don't round pen her as she don't need it, I get on and go. She's learning to side pass to open our obnoxious gate as well. She's by no means "finished" and to most might be green in regards to arena work but she's been fun to ride in our "hood" and trails so I haven't worked much on "arena" stuff. My 73 year old MIL has ridden her on trail and the hood, my husband who does not ride has ridden her on trail, she's sort of been the guest horse who just goes along for the ride trouble free. She's the horse I jump on and exercise when I've ridden mine all day, one I can trust to drop the reins and just putz along.

I have not actively tried to sell her as she is one of my Mom's babies and she adores them all but my Dad is losing patience with the both of us and we can't play the "she still needs riding time" game anymore especially when the photos/videos show she is more than an upstanding citizen under saddle. So, she will be offered for sale to an outstanding home, price will be negotiable for that person who will enjoy her as much as I have the last few months.

The links below are all the things we have done since June as posted in albums on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2528671700522.147367.1365351362&type=1&l=fcafb28584

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2184868945668.134009.1365351362&type=1&l=759f53dcbd
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2473715566653.145543.1365351362&type=1&l=6f6a3b918c
 
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2581256935120.149004.1365351362&type=1&l=f218055f8e
 
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2790843614656.153948.1365351362&type=1&l=7d07d23cea
 
June 2011


 
We made a "play pen" for the winter at our stables with a flag, whirly gigs, big ball, flowers, tarp on fence and tarp on poles. She did it all having never seen it, within an hour.
 


This is normally a very busy street and we usually ride it on the wrong side but not this day. She's car headlight in the dark safe...and yes, I have really done that. Down the road with traffic in the dark cuz we got a little behind on daylight. (in my defense of not being totally senseless, we had lights)



Stands nice for her mani/pedi


Hungry? No problem she's drive thru safe.

 



 Her last foal with my Dad on a 50+ rider trail ride we went on when he was just 3 years old. Not that anyone is going to breed her but she makes good minded babies too.



 

 

 

 

 

 

She's the red ears in this photo collage and the horse in the video at the bank. I thought she'd give a sidewayz look at the teller drawer coming out of the wall but she didn't budge.

 http://vimeo.com/32816041
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2013, 04:15:57 pm »

I've done it again I guess...Introduced another friend to the world of gaited. This one in the form of a KMSH coming 3 year old gelding I found at a rescue. All I innocently did was post his photo on my facebook page. Next thing I know my friend is falling in love with a photo! :D She asked me to go look with her a week ago, yesterday we brought him home. He's a project which I somehow agreed to ride when the time comes...he's got a lot of groundwork in his future first. All I did, was post a photo, all I did was say "he has potential" all she did was fall in love with a horse that needed a home. I have somehow agreed to help make this guy her dream horse...Outside the comfort zone...I seem to be living there lately in one way or another.
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2013, 04:16:49 pm »

My latest adventure had a few "big girl panty" moments. A friend and I sat out on an adventure to ride the girls from the stables to Lake Elsinore...took us 4 hours there and back. Don't know how many miles. Most was done at a walk because of the streets we were on. Traffic, dogs, phone linemen, goats, trash in all forms, dead end streets...you name it. I don't think we got more than half a mile into it and my friend says "I knew this was gonna be an adventure". Yes always an adventure. Every time we go just a bit outside the comfort zone I feel I somehow have learned something and that Gabby has become better for it. She turned 8 yesterday and I have done more with her than any other horse I have had that was older than her. I'd like to think she trusts me to get us through it, to guide us safely thru the adventure...I have learned more from our experiences together than I have ever imagined. Some might think I've lost my mind...but as I've said before...If they couldn't do it, I probably wouldn't, but they can, so I will.

 Not too far away from home...our first challenge was telephone guys. They were very nice and even offered to turn the truck off. They said they were horse people too and understood what horses could be afraid of. Once the girls heard and saw...they w

Our first obstacle...line men in the air.

 I chee wa wa dog wasn't to brave when Mimi came at him....I think he was wishin' for some Taco Bell bout then.

Icheewawa dog...we passed so many yards with dogs....I felt like I was going to hear barking dogs in my head forever. This lil guy of course was the bravest of them all...until he got herded by a horse.

 Uh oh what happened here? Nice little memorial

To ride past this memorial you have to go thru a mini jungle of over grown trees...along side one of the busiest roads in our area. No sidewalks and very little shoulder. Cars passing probably couldn't even see us and we rode up on this...If I have learned anything in the last year it has been knowing when to hold em, when to fold em, and when to walk away. If I don't push her and be patient she will go by things with very little fuss. She's seen a lot of stuff...just not with the added sensory challenge of cars whizzing by.

 A big ol cooler of lemonade perhaps???

She looked twice at this so we had to "touch" it. Compounding this wackiness was newspapers/plastic bags and drainage ditches in the same few yards. She did well with it all...I have learned how to pick my battles and how my reaction affects her reactions.

 Mimi taking it slow...

My partner in wackiness and her bomb proof posse horse Mimi. Riding the City streets is not for the faint of heart person or horse. Takes some patience and understanding for sure.

 

 Some guy who jumped out of a perfectly good airplane

We ended up going thru the airport where the skydivers go...dirt runway and lot's of old "stuff". We found out where old "stuff" goes to die...including old airplanes. We both decided we are going to do this for our 50th Birthday...that will be another addition to this journal. :o))

 Water!

Mission accomplished...our From the Stables to the Lake via the Saddle ride was a success. A few years ago I set out to make my horse one that I could go anywhere and do just about anything with. I never wanted to be the one to say..."I can't do that" "My horse can't do that" "Can't ride cuz the winds blowing" etc. We may almost be there. I ride safe and would never put us in danger. I watch for traffic before passing something she's never seen before...again picking my battles. I once read a John Lyons quote "ride where you can, not where you can't" and thought those were very wise words...I remember them often. We had burritos on the way back and a guy in the parking lot said..."You guys have given a new meaning to 'take out', hats off to you girls". Having a good time even if it's still just our "extended" Hood.

 
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2013, 04:17:59 pm »

I don't even really know where to start...Life went so far outside the comfort zone in the last few weeks I'm not sure I will ever be the same person. Gabby's health issues of late have really made me realize even more how fragile our horses are, how fragile we are and how things can go from so good to really bad in the blink of an eye. What caused her problems? First colic symptoms (as we know colic is a symptom of something else/means go looking for the why) indicated typical colic, then progressed to impaction colic with gastric reflux. Horses can't throw up, can't burp, gastric reflux can blow a horses stomach up. Days of pumping fermented feed out of her at the clinic...but why did she back up? Her small intestines were inflamed... why? We may never have a real diagnosis. Best they can offer me as a process of elimination...is an allergic reaction to her annual vaccine. Test for other things came back negative from UC Davis. The clinic was chasing the symptoms all over her body for days. Clear one thing up...something else appeared. Her vet at the clinic says "her case is interesting" in one of our conversations...her field vet says "in 30 years, I've never seen". Not liking the veterinarian status of "interesting". I suppose if it helps save another horse someday...well maybe I can live with that. 15 Days in a hospital and now back home...my comfort zone didn't get better it got a bit worse. Now it's up to me to notice every little thing...and I already have had a "uh oh" moment but my good friend came by to help me assess the situation a bit better. Good to have unemotional eyes take a look when in doubt.

I've learned a lot about myself...not as strong as I thought I was. I brought (again with a bunch of help from friends both at home and here) Chloe thru the worst thing I'd ever personally seen happen to a horse. As horrible as it was, I could stay somewhat emotionally unattached...get the job done, figure it out, move on. With this...I got numb a lot, didn't hear things I was supposed to, asked a lot of repeat questions and I am sure drove the vet nuts but I was a mess and not afraid to say it. This is my heart horse and the thought of losing her at a young age was not even fathomable to me. Some might say "she's just a horse, get another one" but to me...none of my fur kids are "just an animal". My field vet, which I might be firing if I can't get past his comment made to me on day 6 of this, said "what do you have into this horse at this point?" His question was based on her bills...but I said "my heart". No one at anytime told me to give up, no one...so we never considered it. His bills will be paid...why ask that question.

I've learned a lot about my friends. I knew I had some amazing ones but they really showed me how much more amazing they really are. I am so grateful to each and every person who has been there for us...people I have never met but feel like I know just from sharing experiences via written conversations and photos over the years. I am so honored to be part of such a great network of good people. I thank each person for everything...prayers, thoughts, PM conversations in trying to keep me sane and the donations for her hospital bills.

I have a long haul ahead and I know I am not through this yet...but everyday we seem to see a the light at the end of the tunnel get a little brighter...everyday I see more and more of my Knucklehead come back. Just today she was fascinated with the sheep and goats on the property next door. Little pieces I hope add back up to the whole soon. My life went way outside the comfort zone...I need it to drop back a whole bunch.

 
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2013, 04:18:31 pm »

Gabby had her recheck at the clinic yesterday. Originally was going to be for blood work only but once there and Dr Klohnnan went over her he asked me if it was ok to go ahead and scope her stomach to see how the ulcers were coming along. Well, the ulcers are healed! We will have decreasing Dex over the next 3 weeks and decreasing Zantac to every 12 hours. She is allowed "controlled" exercise. Meaning no running amok but she can be lightly ridden in our hood 30-40 minutes.

Above is the vet I consider her life saver...he is such a humble man...very free with his time and took a special interest in Gabby's case. He kept saying how "happy" her progress makes him. Not free of this yet, will have to monitor her closely, but progress is being made and I feel a bit better everyday. I am so thankful for everyone at Chino Valley Equine Hospital, my family, friends and you all here. Below is a photo taken at her recheck with Dr Klohnnen the vet I credit with saving her life...
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2013, 04:19:02 pm »

We were home 2.5 weeks when Gabby coliced due to dehydration (best guess at this point) from not drinking enough to keep up with the steroids causing her to urinate more...really I thought my stressful nights were getting better and then this. Another week in the clinic and we are home again. Took her nearly 7 days to do what takes most horses to do in 3-4...Vet says she responds as she should...she just does it slowly. Yep, gotta be different. That is what makes her so special to me and those that know her tho...she's different. Not sure I like being on a clinics "frequent flyer discount" but very thankful that they could work with her bills and not charge us full price.

Thankful for a lot of things these days. All those who have stuck by us all the way to the clinic staff that told me "we were pulling for you guys" when we left. Many of them took a special interest in Gabby and her case even if they were not assigned to her vet. It is a teaching clinic and many of the girls (little skinny things) are here from other parts of the State and even one from Germany (I could barely understand her broken English) they felt confident all the time that the vet would get us out of there once more. I am now just living life day to day...excited that she looks as well as she does but cautious on what that all means...gonna take things day by day, step by step...
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2013, 04:19:25 pm »

Gabby has been home for the second time for over 10 days and seems to be doing fine. "Seems" to be, cuz as I have learned the hard way...things can change so quickly. Steroids are being decreased and I think we have one week left on Zantac...Zantac is preventative at this point as Dex can cause ulcers...will confirm doses with vet before Monday which would be the next decrease in Dex. I want her off the meds...they can't be good long term even at low dose. She pees like the proverbial race horse...I'm talking strip the dirt from her pee spot soaking the ground pee. She was never this wet before Dex. Hopefully only a couple more weeks.

We started lightly exercising...vet suggested round pen work for "controlled" exercise. I started with a lounge line to be sure she wasn't going to be silly...quickly ditched that as she proved to still know what to do in there. Round pen is somewhere we haven't spent a lot of time since she got all "growed up". Girl has the memory of an elephant (or maybe we did too much of it in the past? LOL) because it was like it was when we left off...she remembers the commands. At some point I made the round pen exercises harder by only using the stick as a command...on the ground is "walk", up waist level is trot (yes she trots in round pen) and waist high twirling is canter...all without saying a word...if I step in front of her she changes direction...if I drop stick to my side...it means "whoa". She impressed me by remembering this stuff having not done it in a very long time. Maybe she's bored with our hand walks and thinks of it as a diversion...who knows. I have ridden her at a walk bareback and will be able to ride with a saddle if all goes well starting Monday.

Been a roller coaster ride and the learning hasn't stopped. Not that I wanted to learn all I have in the last month but maybe somehow the knowledge will do me good or someday someone else's horse some good. No one in my horsie world can believe what I have gone thru...our vets can't believe it either. I know I've said it more than once but I am thankful to everyone for their support...Someone without a clue said "really, it's just a horse, you can get another" ... yep took all I had not to strangle them. Everyone who knows me and my animals know...they are not "just" anything. They are part of my family, for the good and for the moments placed outside the comfort zone...hopefully normalcy is returning...I could sure use it for awhile.
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2013, 04:19:58 pm »

Small glimpses is what I get...glimpses of my horse's former knucklehead wacky personality. The meds have changed her but hopefully only for the short term. Some would be ecstatic that they have a "quiet" horse and I guess what she is right now is a typical RMH/Mtn horse personality but she's not the horse I know...not yet. With each Dex reduction I see a bit more of her come back. Right now she's overly fixated with eating...I think she'd eat all day if the hay bag (or hay jail as I have named it) could hold enough for all day. As it is she gets 4 meals right now and she knickers for each one as if she hasn't ate in dayz when it's only been a few hours. She's eating alfalfa hay too which has never been my favorite feed but it's what the vet wants her to have exclusively for awhile. It is recommended to have a higher protein diet while on Dexamethasone so I guess along with everything else we will deal with it...and hope it doesn't blow her up. :o)) Hunger, more urination, more drinking (there are technical names for all that), personality change (banned drug for showing as it's calming), ulcers, and laminitis are a some of the side effects of Dex...along with a bunch of others that are a bit concerning and why I'd like her off as soon as possible. If everything goes as planned and her body cooperates we should have our very last Dex dose on July 11...seems so far away right now but steroid withdrawal has to be gradual so that we don't end up with other issues.

Having a farrier come out Monday and take a look at her feet to see if he suggests she be shod...I'm seeing something I think needs to be addressed and as she's been barefoot and I use a "trimmer" I can't have my regular person look. She was out two weeks ago and didn't see anything alarming but I am not sure she'd tell me "hey, you need some shoes on her for awhile"...My trimmer is having personal issues and didn't seem quite "with it" when she was out and since I went down that path with another person I ended up letting go...I am super reluctant to let someone under my horse that can't be focused on their job...too much to loose if they make a mistake. So John will take a look and make a suggestion and we will go from there.

I want normal back, but I am not even sure what that is anymore. I think we may be headed for a "new normal" and if Gabby ends up healthy in the long run...that's ok. She and I have been thru a lot and I guess I can't expect us to end up exactly as was...She seems to be a bit more dependent on me...again some would love that...but I loved the independent side of her, the one that said "why or how come" when I asked...so long as things seemed to make sense to her...like side pass...she doesn't like to side pass for no good reason...but open and close a gait and let me off on the tailgate of my truck/fence rail or any other "reason" for it, is all good. Tell her "why" and she'll do anything for you...too smart she is...or too spoiled some would say...but I love her for it. New Normal and healthy...yes, I can deal with that...we have both changed...and we will adjust just as we always have.

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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2013, 04:21:58 pm »

I get worried when things seem to be going ok. I've started lightly riding Gabby on trail. Choosing the easiest ones to get her back in shape. Riding the hood, which I am thankful to have, gets boring and is short if you want to stay on the dirt. I watch her like a new Mom watches their first newborn...looking for any minor change in attitude, eating, drinking and all the normal bodily functions. It seems tho that after each outing I see more of my horse...as if the time out is doing her some good. Good for the mind and attitude. She was used to a pretty good life for a stalled horse in S. California. She got several hours of turnout a week and plenty of ride time up until she got sick at the end of April. Once out of hospitalization we were on hand walking, then light bareback (haven't a clue how my vet knew we could ride bareback), and finally ride with a saddle thru the hood and light trails. No turn out in the pasture which is mostly useless weeds. Vet wants her diet strictly monitored...so no running amok in the 7 acre pasture. I pulled the weeds around our "play pen" so I could turn he loose there...but she seems to get bored with that and stands at the gate. On a good note...the farrier I had come take a looksie at a concern I had...said she has nice feet. Minor issues that can be dealt with...he went on to say "you realize there are very few horses with perfect feet and conformation"... of course I do...I just want to make sure I am doing her no more harm having her barefoot right now. I have made the decision to try shoes...as the boots while they worked for what I intended...had me thinking...really if they need shoes...why be a knucklehead about it. I need to get her back in shape and don't want her feet to bother her. She has some fever rings from the meds and the actual fever she did have in the beginning of her illness. She has some bruising that began at her coronet band when first placed on steroids...and while both have started to grow down her hoof...it will be nearly a year before they are gone. I don't want to use four boots...not my idea of fun when sometimes I am pressed for time after work to get her out and about. I decreased her Dex today...we are now at 1 ml for 7 days...then 1 ml every other for 10 days...we are almost there...I am hopeful we are gonna make it this time.
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2013, 04:23:28 pm »

I got a wonderful glimpse of the past this morning that gives me more hope for the future. Only I can be excited about Gabby "Seeing Dead People". This is what I call it when she acts scared of something or spooks at some unknown to me and only she can see thing. This morning I let her in the big arena...got to understand the big arena...it's got "stuff" hiding behind it in the reed filled canal. (She's only been allowed back in there the last couple of dayz and I have to watch her to be sure she don't eat the weeds growing around it). All the horses will react to it the noises and movement. Birds live in there and coyotes...not just lil birds either...horse eating herons in white and blue. :o) She ran around snorting and blowing...doing 360 degree turns, running at me and stopping right in front as if to say "I won't let anything get us Mom, I promise". I heard the dragon that lives in her nose and you don't know how happy that makes me. I can ride her in the arena and she don't do anything but what I ask...but I guess the Dead People are only interested in horses without riders. :D I laughed at her antics and cheered her on...just one more step in the right direction...my horse is coming back little by little...like her vet says...she does everything she supposed to do...she just does it slowly. Slowly I am getting my girl back.

 

 

 She's showing me where the Dead People live...



Yep, Pretty sure they live that way...



 That's ok cuz the dragon that lives in my nose will scare them away...



 But let me run away just to be sure I still know how to...



Ok Mom you do what you need to...I will keep my eye out for them.



 And if they come close...I will snort and blow and run off in my most impressive arab impersonation that I can muster up! That will make them run for sure. Not! It will make them laugh...while they eat you. Silly girl!

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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

wakemom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2013, 04:23:48 pm »

So cautiously optimistic...Gabby's Dex has now progressed to 1 ml every other day for 10 days...then done. Today was her first day without. And while I am happy we have got to this place...I feel it puts a new amount of pressure on me...I have to now notice minute changes. I do the check twice a day...gums, hoo hoo, eyes, nose and feet. Trying to see if anything looks any different. I count poop piles and look at content, check water consumption, watch attitude and appetite. Having a horse go thru what she did, is not for the faint of heart. There are nights I still don't sleep well, I'll wake up wondering if she's ok...then have to convince myself she is, that I've done all I can. Our ride time is going well and I am so amazed at the difference a saddle that fits can make. So afraid to be optimistic...afraid things can change in only a few hours...afraid to be happy she's doing as well as she is...but so grateful just the same.
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom

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Re: Life just outside the comfort zone
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2013, 04:24:29 pm »

The weaning off meds is going well I believe. I say "believe" because I just never know when something can change, I pray it don't but keep cautious because I know it can. Had a small scare one day when I came back from letting her out and she'd ate a piece of hay that had some Zantac on it and I found her doing "cheese lips" and drooling. Scared me til I realized it was indeed the Zantac saturated hay she'd slobbered out earlier in the morning. We've been riding easy trails and increasing length out...Monday my friend and I took the girls to the trails we mooch in the local private community and rode for 2 hours. All at a walk and not much in the way of a challenge. I kept a watch on how she acted, how many times she pee'd (if twice we'd go back) but as the Dex has been decreased her flooding everything urinating has decreased. Gatorade is her drink of choice and when mixed in a bucket of water she slurps it down. I have a call into her vet to see where I go from here...today was the 10th day of the wean off period...not sure what to do and what I am looking for.

What I do know is that my horse has come back...almost all the way. All of her personality is there now, her eyes are brite and the dragon is back in her nose. She's changed under saddle and maybe that has to do with her new saddle. One that seems to fit. No more "eye" when I cinch her, no more rushy horse, no more wanting to walk off before I ask (huge no no for me) all things I started noticing undersaddle but not bareback. I tested my theories before acting on them. Just like I tested her possible need for shoes with going with boots and without...that issue has seemed to work it's way out tho.

PhotobucketBetterthings2017

She really shows no sign of her illness of the last 2.5 months til you look close. The fever rings/bruises on her hooves and the places where she was shaved on her neck for her catheter are the only remaining signs. The hair will grow back and that will become a memory...the feet will take longer...nine months or so. My memory of it will last much longer tho...learned lots of things I didn't want to learn...but I suppose I'm better for it in some way or another. I somehow always find wayz to immerse myself in my passions...did it with watersports and became a promoter and instructor...I could have maybe done without some of this immersion...but my knowledge has already helped another horse...so learn on I suppose. Ready for the break tho...keeping my prayers going that I have learned enough for now.

Betterthings2010

This photo? Well she's doing what Rockies do...sayin' "Hi, whatcha doin!" up close.
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Cheryl~Gabby's Mom
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