Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Above and Beyond Full Care

I started the new job recently and finally moved from hours of boring computer training to actually caring for patients last Weds. It was really marvelous and I am so grateful to have found such a rewarding career. The job market for new nurses in Portland is currently very difficult and I can't believe that I was offered the best possible job before I had even graduated.  I had initially thought I would work in inpatient psych but to be a well rounded nurse I really need some general med/surg under my belt. I have landed on the most wonderful unit. I love complicated, a fast pace, and feeling part of a team. The nurses on the transplant unit are amazing. Kind, funny, quirky, and patient.  And I can't tell you what a privilege it is to share my patients journey through wherever life might take them.

After working two day shifts I was given a full week off to get my body used to graveyards. I am progressively staying up later each night so I will be sharp by the time I get to work on Friday. I had grand plans of spending every day playing with my ponies this week but a summer cold ruined my party. I woke up Friday morning covered in snot like a 2 yo, then spent Saturday moaning dramatically on the couch. At this point I am at least not whining with every move but I am still coughing up upleasant things so I haven't made it out to the stable. It is times like these that I feel extra lucky to have found such great stables.

Bre lives at a private home with a big stall, run at night, a sexy boyfriend named Romeo, and acres of pasture during the day. As if that isn't good enough the family loves her like ther own. I think that Bre loves them more than me and I am 100% fine with that. They feed her treats, kiss her on the nose, tell her how pretty she is, and ride her. She loves the whole family from the kids, to the adults, to the dog, and the chickens. From the day she walked out of the trailer she acted like she had always been there and owned the place. She just got herself a young lady to lease her and thinks Maddie is the cats meow. When she decides someone is part of her herd she will do anything for them. It makes me feel so good that even when I am sick, working 12 hours shifts (or non existant during 2 years of RN school) Bre is spoiled. I am always shocked when Bre still comes running to me with a nicker because she has it so good when I am not there :)

I am happy to say that Dickie has landed at a wonderful barn too. He lives just a few blocks down a private drive from Bre and a boarding stable. There are only six boarders, an indoor arena, big stall with a nice run, and acres of pasture during the day. He has three boys he goes out with. Harley is his very best friend. Harley is a chestnut paint and whenever I go out there the two are joined at the hip. The only complaint I have is that he has gone through several fly masks. The daily entertainment is for Harley to take off his fly mask then they carry it around together like a trophy (if anyone has tips on keeping masks on naughty boys please share!!). The BO loves Dickie enough to look for it but finally the rascals managed to hide the last one. The BO is amazing. She gives Dickie love and has been texting me photos and updates while I am sick. She is used to big youngsters (her last horse was a 17Hander who she raised from a baby) so I trust her completely. She has been working with him on leadrope manners and said he is a gentelmen. By all accounts he is being well behaved and everyone loves him. Apparently part of his routine is to come into the pasture closest to the barn to visit whenever people are around so she leaves the paddock gate open so he can get into the barn for social hour. I think it is adorable that he will make his way through the maze of the big pastures, through the dry lot next to the barn, find the one paddock that is open, and go into a stall just to hang his head in and see what the people are doing.

I think when we are looking at barns we should always take into account our weaknesses as owners. One of mine is that realistically I can't be out there every day. Even now that I am out of school I will be working 12 hour shifts. I will have stretches of time off but there will be days when I can't make it out because I am catching up on sleep. I know that about my lifestyle so I have found places that my horses will be happy in whether I make it out or not. They get to be out with other horses and play so their little minds keep busy. I feel incredibly lucky that they have barn owners who love on them even though I know "full care" doesn't mean they are expected to dote on them. But dote on them they do, and no words can express how thankful I am for their type of full care.

I can't wait to get out there tomorrow and at least get some nose kisses in.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Country Classic

My friend and I went to watch the Country Classic in Wilsonville. It was really fun to see all those big fancy horses. My favorite events were the jumper classes. They had a mini-prix event and it was exciting. Some of those 18+ hand horses were making barrel racer turns between fences. I know I won't ever have the courage to do jumpers in anything bigger than 0.8m but I hope someday I am riding a pony at the Country Classic. Next weekend I am going to hit up the horse trials at Lake Oswego Hunt Club. Yay for summer. 

If anyone finds themselves wishing they had watched, there are still quite a few shows left in the series. Check out the link:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Drama queen

If my entry for the day is a bit disjointed I is because I wrote it on my iPhone. We had such an amazing session tonight that I had to give an update on his progress. Yesterday I stopped by to work with the boy before heading off to see the country classic. He has settled in to his new home and is feeling sassy. We went into the arena to work on some basic ground manners. I discovered that he really likes to bite. He bites his lead rope, he carries his fly mask like a trophy after getting it off, and he thinks it is his right to bite my sweatshirt when I am wearing it. When we went into the arena he started right off annoyed because I laid down the law that humans are not lunch. In addition I had the nerve to actually make him work. All of this resulted in a royal tantrum rearing and all. He's a smart boy though and realized pretty quickly that he was wearing himself out and I will still standing in the same spot not even breaking a sweat. We ended the session as always with lots of love and scratches

Today he showed me what an amazing smart boy he is. We went for our regular walk up to Bre's barn. We usually have a two year old moment when going past the pomeranians that puts my poor toes at risk. Today he remembered how to move away from me instead of expecting me to carry him. At the arena there wasn't even a trace of drama. I suspected he understood what I was asking yesterday and was just objecting. He was a dream. He move his front legs over, lunged at a walk, practiced standing at the mounting block, and let me sit on the top of the arena above him. He seemed to truly enjoy his job tonight. Our walk home was the best yet. All of the cows, goats, sheep, and dogs were out being extra noisy tonight and he looked to me before deciding how scary things were.

I love how smart my boy is. I also love that he not above a temper tantrum here and there. I like a challenge and some personality in a horse. He has enough personality for ten horses. I wish I had new pictures but he's so in your pockets that all I can get is a nostril.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Pride and Joy

In the hubbub of worries over the new boy, Bre has been lost in the shadows. I spent some time with her in the sun and was reminded how everything feels right in the world as soon as I get on her. I have been riding Bre since she was three and owned her since she was four. That means we have been together for 11 years. I know how she is going to move before she does it. She knows what I am asking her to do as soon as I think it. I am so proud of her. The horse she has become is one of my greatest accomplishments. She was the greenest horse I had worked with and there were days when I would come home and cry to my old trainer who was 1,000 miles away because I didn't think I could do it. She couldn't canter with a rider without feeling like she was going to fall over or hit a wall. Lunging consisted of a panicked flight around the arena if you even touched the whip. She flipped her head and sometimes reared when I tried to take up contact because she had been started with a wire twist in a german martingale. If you told her "No" too loud on the ground she would rear up, paw her legs like a wild mustang, and take off running. She kicked two people sending one to the hospital and leaving the other with a horse shoe shaped scar in her muscle that she still has today. I remember when I first started working with her and was brushing her in her stall. Someone came up to me and told me that I shouldn't be in that stall because Bre was too dangerous. Oh, and she colicked. Alllllllll the time. She colicked with her old owners for over two days and pulled out of it just before they decided to euthanize her. I was up for 2 days walking her, checking on her every 15 minutes to make sure she wasn't thrashing, administering IV medications, and begging for her to pull through. Her tummy problems continued but slowly decreased with changes on her diet and  lifestyle she finally had a colic free year 5 years ago. Then there was the mystery lameness.......... no one really knows what caused it at about age 5. Sometimes she still is a little off in the right shoulder but it depends on who is riding her and if she wants to do what they are asking. We can't forget the squishy feet that love to give her a yearly abscess just when it is time to dust off the riding boots and get outside.

Somehow through all of that she has blossomed into an amazing horse. She is the kind of horse you can jump on after 6 months of sitting in a field and take for a 2 hour trail ride. She will run when you ask her to run (and beat anything on four legs) but walk the second you want it.  She is incredibly soft in the bridle and like a rubber band when you ask her to bend. She is pretty close to bombproof. I say pretty close because she hates bicycles with a passion. You can walk under her  or stand on her back. Honey badger don't care just so long as there is a treat in the equation. She packs kids around like she is carrying eggs shells even though her usual motto is "why walk when you can run there." Case in point there was a fundraiser at the stable for a young boy with autism last week. My spunky mare walked around with her head down taking tiny little steps for all the kids who wanted pony rides. Then she tore it up in the afternoon with the teenagers who volunteered that day.

It made my heart happy to ride her today with no reins. We did ten meter circles and serpentine at the walk and trot. Then I got to watch the people who take care of her ride my pretty shiny penny. Sometimes I can't believe that the fire breathing dragon horse I met 11 years ago is the same horse. When I first saw her I thought she was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. Thin tail, skinny inverted neck, no muscle, was like riding a jackhammer, had no concept that leg means go. But I knew that horses aren't born knowing what to do under saddle so I decided to see how far she could go.  Harsh bits, harsh words, and a hard hand hadn't helped her learn how to be a good equine citizen. How she managed to get past all of that baggage and become this lovely trustworthy creature will always be somewhat of a mystery to me. If Bre can walk through all that pain and still forgive and love then so should all of us. Thank you Bre for reminding me of how precious life is and making me proud to be part of your transformation.

PS- Remember how much I love you when you see that your grain has been cut in half tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

August 1st

The date is set for an official diagnosis to be made. If the news is bad I will need to take some time off from the blog. However, I will let people know what the final decision is about his future because I know he was loved by many people.

Until then I will be focusing on making sure he can stand quietly and isn't scared of big things being rolled in the aisle way (the ultrasound is painless but the big machine could be scary to a young guy). If he isn't fussing then we won't have sedate him to get a clear ultrasound. Sedating a horse with a cardiac problem can be dangerous. Other than that I have no news. He gets his feet trimmed this week and continues to enjoy eating grass and hanging out with his paint buddies. I plan on having as much fun with him as possible during these sunny summer days.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Update from Vet

My vet called just after my last post to say she has been in contact with the cardiologist and will be setting up the appt in the next two weeks. I am out of shock and was better able to retain the details of what she heard. It is a grade 5/6 murmur. It is likely a mitral valve regurgitation murmur. I am no expert but I got really good at recognizing the different qualities of murmurs in school and I would have to agree with her assessment. Most murmurs in horses are entirely benign so normally odds would be in his favor. However it seems like he might be in that 3% of murmurs that are not good. I should have a date for the appt set by the end of the day tomorrow. I am glad the next two weeks will be busy with the new job to keep my mind off of everything. I feel very torn. I love every second I have with him but the more attached I get the harder it will be if I had to make hard decisions.

Gonna take the day off from ponies tomorrow and focus on the new job.

Summer Lovin'

Tomorrow the new job starts and my brief four day vacation ends. I had plenty of things I needed to get done today. Laundry to fold, lunches for the week, paperwork, bills to pay etc...... My plan had been to arrive at the stable to play with Dickie at 8am for a quick lesson in manners then hop on the big red mare. I ended up devoting the whole day to horses. When I arrived he melted my heart once again with his cute face reaching out the stall door to say "hi". I came with my stethoscope hoping to listen to his heart now that I have done a little more reading. I wanted to hear if it was occurring between S1 and S2 like I remembered and if it got louder or had the same intensity throughout the murmur. If it gets louder then quieter it is more likely to be harmless. If it has the same intensity throughout (holosytlolic) it could be mitral valve regurgitation which isn't good. I also wanted to put him to work a little and see if that changed what I was hearing. The last time I checked I wasn't an equine cardiologist so I know everything is speculation but I am not one to do nothing when I can obsess and stress myself out. It sounds like it is definitely from the end of S1 to S2 and is probably holosystolic (same intensity throughout). It doesn't change with work. I really can't wait to get the cardiologist out so he can hopefully tell me I am wrong. I called my vet and they still don't have all the details about how soon I can get him in (should call tomorrow) but they said it can be anywhere from tomorrow or months from now.

Once I got my moping out of the way we set to work to have a fun day. We went into the indoor arena to work on moving his shoulder away from me. His is marvelous about backing up and moving his hips but his shoulder always seems to be running right into me. Attached to his shoulder is his leg, and at the end of his leg is his big heavy HOOF. We have discovered the hard way that ramming his shoulder into me also tends to correspond with my foot under his hoof. When he is calm and not worried about anything he is the perfect gentleman but the second the sheep go running or the pomeranians start yapping I feel the sharp pain of a 1,000 lbs on my foot.

I let him wander around the arena a little first just to sniff everything and decide it was ok. Then we went to work. We started with what he seems to do well, picking up his feet, backing up, forehand turns, and getting face scratches. Next we worked on moving his shoulder. He decided that was very hard and reminded me he is only two with a hop up on his hind legs and attempt at biting me. Then he immediately stood still and put his head up against me like I would forget he was naughty if he was cute enough. Oddly enough the temper tantrum put a big grin on my face. The day before the vet had wondered if maybe he was so calm because his heart wasn't giving him enough oxygen. Today he was acting like a typical 2 yo boy wanting to throw a fit because he couldn't get his way. As soon as he got the idea I ended our session and went to see how he does in the cross ties. I like my horses to stand still even without the cross ties so we worked on that. He was a perfect gentlmen (thank you to Pony Up and the Reeves' for that). I spent the next few hours riding my mare and watching the 4-H fair a few minutes away.

At about 130pm I thought it would be fun to walk Dickie up to where Bre lives and have another short session. I also wanted to show him off to visitors at Bre's barn. I was so impressed I was beaming. When I made it down it Dickie's barn he saw me coming from the field and left his yummy grass to meet me in the barn. How many horses will leave their buddies and a field of lush grass just to see what the people are up to? I had been sure that I was going to have a hard time catching him. I was even more proud on our walk up. He saw the sheep and little yappy dogs and really wanted to jump on top of me but seemed to remember our lessons. When we got up to the outdoor arena I worked on having him trot when I ran, walked when I walked, and stopping as soon as I stopped. When I took off running he planted his feet firmly in the ground and refused to take one step. He looked at me like he thought I had lost my mind. Bre was watching all of this I am sure with amusement because I have done so many crazy things to her than nothing seems to phase her anymore. After a few times of bolting forward he got the idea that he has to stick with my pace no matter what. Our walk home was a little more eventful because the yappy dogs were actually outside and several cars drove by but I am happy to say that my feet arrived back at entirely unscathed today.

Here are just a few of the reasons why I love this horse:

1) He is crazy smart. He has been with me for less four days and every day he picks up where he left off.
2) He is curious. He is always watching what is going on around him. He is aware of the sheep, the dogs, the neighbor lady on her tractor. He calmy inspects every inch of the arena.
3) He doesn't panic. Even when he sees something that is terrifying he doesn't bolt or get dangerous. He might tell you he things something Will eat him by planting his feet for a second but then he will walk right by it.
4) He loves people. He frequently leaves other horses or food because he wants to see what we are up to. He comes up to you in the field or sticks his head out of his stall.
5) He is dramatic. I know this sounds silly but I like a horse with some drama or spunk. When given a poke in the side to move over he just has to occasionally bit the air (not even in my direction) in disgust. After throwing someone's helmet on the ground he spooked himself so hard he almost when down on his knees.
6) He is gorgeous from the curved ears, to the delicate nose, to the spots on his rump, to the big bones in his legs.
7) He thinks it is funny to throw anything he can get his teeth on. Brushes, things sitting on the arena rail (see above), halters, fly masks. I don't know what is wrong with me but I love some naughty in my horses.

I am going to post this grammar and spelling errors alike. I thought I should get it out just because it ended on a positive note and I want to get the positive energy flowing!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Heart of a Horse

I know a few people are following this and may have heard the news about Baybee (we renamed him Dickie). I arrived at the stable thrilled to play with my new boy and show him off to the vet. We walked from the boarding stable to the private home where Bre lives. As soon as I got there he stuck his cute face out and give me a nicker. He put his head right in the halter and was ready for his walk. I was laughing to myself right away because I forgot how much babies love to be in your personal space. As far as youngsters go he is pretty amazing but when the herd of Pomeranians down the street voiced their displeasure with his presence on the road he wanted to jump in my lap so I could save him. He doesn't really run over you because is so upset he forgets I am there. I think he just wanted me to carry him. He would snort and look right at me as if to say "Do you see that? We need to get outta here before they eat us" Then he would squeeze as close as he could to me. What struck me though was that he didn't panic and was willing to get off my foot with a gentle elbow in the shoulder. By the time we got to Bre's barn he was willing to give me a little personal space. He sniffed the arena and was more interested in getting love from people than anything else. After we did some work on moving his hips away from me and backing up the vet had arrived.

The vet was just as impressed with him. She loved the bone on his legs and said his joints looked great for such a big young horse. She said sometimes when they are so big so young they can have fluid on their joints. She even thinks he has growing left to do. Then she listened to his heart. I could tell something wrong when she listened twice as long as usual and got very quiet. She didn't even need to tell me that he had a heart murmur and that it wasn't minor. I could tell by the look on her face. She listened on both sides and I listened too. It was a clear swoosh between the S1 and S2. It is very loud and so long that he almost doesn't have two distinct heart sounds. We worked him for a bit because sometimes murmurs can go away with work, it didn't. We talked at length about the fact that murmurs are not uncommon in horses and aren't always a problem. She didn't think that would be the case given the severity of his murmur. She might have given me a grade for the murmur but I had started to shut down when I heard that it may be severe enough that he will never be safe to ride.

Where we stand now is waiting to hear back from the cardiologist. I sobbed my eyes out the whole way home and set to work doing research on the good old net. It seems that all isn't lost. An echocardiogram will tell me where the murmur is. There are places that could be entirely harmless and others that could cause sudden cardiac death while under saddle. Needless to say today hasn't been the great cheerful day I thought it would be. The one good thing is the fact that Dickie had a great day. He loved following the chickens around, sniffing new things in the arena, and getting love from the vet and and Bre's BO. We discovered that he likes labradors he just doesn't like pomeranians. He also seems smitten with his pasture mates and the thick green grass they have to munch on. When I left he was under the trees huddled with his herd thinking about a nap.

PS- I need add that I in no way feel like Pony Up held out on this info. They are as heartbroken as I am. I know that they would have never adopted him out if there were concerns about his health. Nothing about this horse indicated he has a problem. He is big and shiny. His cap refill in his gums was fine. He isn't interested in running aroud wild like most 2yo but he also wasn't out of breath when I free lunged him. He doesn't act listless. Even though he is calm he is still very alert and has a big spunky walk. He is young enough that his teeth haven't been floated so there has been no reason to listen to his heart. The breeder was also entirely unaware of this issue.

Wonderful description of the different types of abnormal hearts sounds (his murmur sounded like it occurs during systole): 

Overview of the equine cardiovascular system: 

Article regarding the prevalance of heart mumurs in performance horses:

Sunday, July 8, 2012


As I get ready for a new career and to start working with a new horse I have been reflecting on why horses are such a wonderful match for me. It is because they temper my natural intensity. When I try out a new sport or study a new subject I want to be the best. When I was a pre-teen I went ice skating with a few friends for a birthday party and was terrible. I fell down constantly and couldn't even make it a lap around the rink. I immediately asked for lessons and in a year I had advanced to a level that it takes most several years. I was never a great skater but in that first year I was landing single jumps and it looked like I would be able to start landing doubles before long. Unfortunately, the intensity with which I attacked this new sport was my downfall. I pushed myself so hard that I had bruises all over my body. I was so thin that I didn't have the energy to keep doing it. I ended up quiting because my feet were so painful that I couldn't skate for more than a few minutes without wanting to rip my skates off. I didn't quit because I lost interest I did so because I burnt myself out. My first year of college I took calculus, biology, chemistry, psychology. I jumped right in at a rigorous private college known for their strong science programs and for a time did well. Then health problems brought me to a screeching halt. For several years I couldn't work or go to school. I don't doubt that my inability to slow myself down and to balance peace with constant doing played a huge part in this.

During the period when I wasn't able to work or attend college I found horses. I was lucky enough to start as a working student at a local dressage/event barn. I had five or six lessons as a kid so I was a very green beginner. I still don't know why she decided to take on a person who didn't even know how to put a halter on. I attacked riding just like I had any other obstacle I faced. Six months after my first lesson I was riding a hot thoroughbred in shows and clinics and doing well. In less than a year I was schooling cross country and attended my first event. I wasn't anything fancy but I had progressed fast for my first year in a saddle. Then my sensitive mare started bucking me off after fences outside on the rock hard ground. After getting the wind knocked out of me a few times I lost my nerve over fences. I think it was her way of telling me to slow down. Riding is a partnership and every moment is something to be cherished, not just the blue ribbons or big jumps.

And no matter how bad things are going you can't just put them in a closet like a pair of skates. They are there waiting for you with a sweet face and nicker when you are in so much pain you don't want to go on. The most wonderful thing about riding is that it is a relationship. In individual sports there is nothing there to stop you from pushing too hard or doing something too many times in the pursuit of perfection. The horse always stops me. If I get frustrated or angry that I can't get something the horse  an feel it before I do. They don't know I am only angry at myself. I never want my horse to think I am upset with them so thinking about that partnership brings me back from the brink of being too intense. Riding horses who are green, hot, or abused have made me even more self aware of when I am pushing too hard. They let me know when we have done a movement one to many times, when the same pattern is boring, when I am distracted from a bad day at work, when I am pulling too hard, or driving them too fast.

I know it isn't in me to just be a recreational rider who enjoys a trail ride here or there. I wish it was. It would be cheaper and less time consuming ;) Over the last few years I have tried to convince myself that a few laps around the arena is worth it to me. I can't deny it though I miss the thrill of doing something new, of jumping over something when I am scared, and of a dressage test well ridden. My mind never stops and horses are the one thing that fully consumes my mind and body. However, each time I work with a horse towards our new goal I am getting far more than a blue ribbon. I am getting that reminder of the power of well timed deep breath and of the peace you can find when you can allow your mind to let go of the hustle of life. In the process I have learned how to accept imperfections. I have learned that there is beauty in almost getting something right. Sometimes the greatest triumph is just getting from point A to point B alive. There is pride in finding a different way to get to the end result even if it took twice as long as it "should have". It gives me goose bumps to think I will be getting back into that part of riding. As always I know that the lessons I will learn with my four legged friends will make me a better, calmer, more tolerant person, and hopefully less intense person.

One of the Boys

We thought he would need a few days in his paddock between the other boys before integrating the herd. He was so calm and relaxed that he got to go out with the boys today. Without much fanfare they set their minds to grazing on this 80+ degree summer day. Tomorrow he gets to meet his new vet for a once over. He looks to be in amazing health so our main goal is just for them to meet him and take a fecal sample. After that he goes to work. No more just hanging out and eating. It is time to start the ground work for becoming a sport pony. Hopefully he won't realize he is working though because I plan on making it all fun :) 

 I should have more energy tomorrow to share my thoughts about him.  Between my sore back and the sun I am feeling a bit lazy and uninspired on the writing front. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012


I have so much to say but I am so hot and tired that I can't string words together. Perfect perfect perfect. Perfect looks, perfect attitude, perfect everything. That's all I have to say for now. I know there are a few people who would like to see pictures and know he arrived in one piece:

He's wondering what those silly older more "mature" horses are all fired up about:

Coming back to see his new humans after sniffing the place:

Big sister thinks he handsome. I tried to tell her he isn't legal yet, and I don't think siblings should like each other that way:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Big Changes

Next week will be a big week. I start a new job working at a major medical center here in Portland with my shiny new RN license. I currently work there in inpatient psych and decided that it would be best for my long term career to work do something other than psych for a few years. I have worked in psych for over a decade now and see myself growing old and grey in that field. However, I know that building up my general medical knowledge will be so important and will open me up to many opportunities. Having a well rounded background will make it easier for me to get a job should my partner and I ever decide to move elsewhere. It will also allow me to do outreach work in other countries. And most importantly it will make me a better nurse practitioner once I decide to go to grad school. The new job will be taking care of people receiving kidney and liver transplants. It is a challenging area of nursing which is very exciting to me. I can't wait to get started!!! The position will be working graveyard. This shift makes me both excited and terrified. I will earn significantly more money, which is a huge pro. My goal over the next year is to take my partner on a tropical trip, buy a house, and take care of my ponies. The pace will also be slower which will allow me to really get to know my patients and do research about their needs while at work. I love a fast pace but I plan on using down time to learn as much as I can as fast as I can. I think once I get used to it this is going to be a wonderful shift for me in my first year of nursing. 

Working overnights isn't without worries for me though. I have bipolar disorder, which has been very stable for years. Since I have been to Oregon I haven't had more than minor dips in my mood in the winter and before that I was stable as well. I know that I will be able to get sleep working graves because I tend to sleep better during the days anyway. I do worry that I will sleep away the days and not get enough light. That was a big problem for me in AK and I still get down in the winters here. I worry that I won't be motivated to do anything when I get up because I am on such a strange schedule. Luckily I will soon have a special weapon in my back pocket. A big 16h four legged weapon. One thing I know about myself is that I will always get up and be motivated if I have a pony depending on me. No matter how down I feel I find a way to work with my horse. Riding is the one thing that will pull me through on the darkest days. Better yet riding usually keeps me on an even keel so things never get dark and sad. It gives me structure, it keeps my mind busy, and motivates me to eat healthier and exercise. Nursing is a stressful career. The 12 hour days, sick and upset patients, working weird hours and missing out on sunlight. It might seem insane to add an extra expense/stress to the mix with a young horse. I know myself though and know that this will make me a better person through it all. I will be in better shape to go on hikes and trips with my honey. I will be more sane and able to pick up extra shifts. And I will just be happier all around. 

There will soon be more to come on this guy :)


The saga of Bre's feet continues. The vet came out today because she has been lame since last Weds. We thought that Bre was going to have her first year with no abscesses but it is looking like she foiled my plans to start riding her again. She heard all my hollering about becoming a registered nurse and decided she was not ready to come out of retirement. I worried about her all weekend. It is so hard to know when to call the vet. Her abscesses generally pop in 3-5 days and I decided to call since she wasn't getting better. Of course today when I called her in from the pasture she comes trotting up almost 100% sound. Looks like a few days of having a diaper and duct tape on her hoof did the trick. Too bad that she didn't pull out of it before the vet was called. It was still peace of mind to have a professional look at her and agree with my assessment. 

Looking at Bre today I started feeling sentimental about our journey together. I have finally truly accepted that Bre will not be the show horse that I had hoped for one day. I know I wouldn't trade my years with her for a second though. I have learned so much about myself through training her. I have learned how to push forward when I am so scared that I want to squeal and run. I know that I can find answers to problems I didn't even know existed. I think, more than any the "book smarts" I have, the confidence and problem solving skills I honed training Bre make me a better nurse and mental health worker. There were so many times when I should have been terrified over a big exam, skills test, or new clinical site but I told myself "If you can survive a 1,200 lb horse trying to flip over on you this is no big deal." So much of who I am today has been built by what I have done with horses. As much as I love Bre though I miss riding seriously so much it aches sometimes. I dream about riding, being in clinics, and jumping a course. I miss going into the arena every day and having a problem to solve. I miss that rush of figuring out a way to teach my horse a new skill. Because of this I am very excited to be adopting a horse so I can start back on that journey. It has been so hard not having a horse to work with. Bre is amazing and so well trained that it takes three rides to get her back to where we left off years ago. Then we can't go any further because both emotionally and physically it is too hard for Bre. 

On a happy note Bre had a young gal come out to ride her last week. I have been hoping to find a lease on Bre to help out with care and provide her some love. Bre loves to be ridden and I still like to take her on trail rides. It will be great to have someone to keep her fit enough that I can take her on a trail ride and not have her huffing and puffing. The new rider won't push her as much as I would in the arena. She will be perfect. 

Bre is more than capable of taking this gal along as far as she wants to go until she graduates from HS. She is well trained, has a good mind, is close to bomb proof, and loves attention. She used to jump but isn't looking for anything serious. If she decided to be more serious Bre could easily do some low cross rail classes and school up to 1st level dressage. When she came out to ride her I was holding my breath because Bre is really fussy about who she wants to ride her. She just had someone come out and Bre wouldn't go, wouldn't steer, or would walk like a drunkard. If someone gets on her and doesn't ride with their seat/legs or is trying to push her forward with their legs but is saying stop with their seat she balks. I can't even count on my fingers how many people have tried this mare only to get off in disgust. I knew from the second this young lady got on her that Bre loved her. Bre went ride into fancy show horse mode and was mellow as could be. I am thrilled that finally Bre will have a person to lease her. The girl was calm, listened to what Bre had to say, picked up on cues from Bre, and was so soft with her body.

Things feel like they are coming full circle. I have graduated from nursing school, have the most amazing partner ever, have someone to help with my Breedle, and a new project pony.