Horse Trials

No not the type where you spend 3 days jumping obstacles in an arena, dancing with your horse or galloping around the country-side taking logs and lakes in your stride!

I’m talking more about horse trials and tribulations unfortunately…

At my last post, we weren’t sure what was wrong with Swift. She had definitely fractured her splint bone somehow, somewhere, but it was uncomplicated and just took time to heal. However, there was something else lingering on top of this – with intermittent lameness and stiffness in other legs, I had her bloods checked for all sorts of things. She turned out to be positive for Lyme Disease and Anaplasmosis and although her symptoms could be due to mild laminitis (she does escape on to grass from time to time the minx) we (as in myself and the vets) decided to treat for these just in case. An irony that isn’t missed on me – they do say that pets mimic their owners!

So, while she rested up that splint bone, I was busy shoving 50mls of antibiotics down her throat twice a day – well – when I say “I” – it did take two people to achieve success with this. She was quite good about it to be fair – all things considered – and so were my friend and husband who I couldn’t have managed without.

She became sound, but still lacked muscle so I started riding out Yogi (slow and steady as he was unfit too) and towed Swift behind. Our usual set up you could say, but without the pit stop to change horse half way round. All was going well and I was about to reintroduce the pit stop, when suddenly Yogi became unwell … erm … very unwell. 😦

Both were bundled into the lorry (because remember they hate to be separated) and we rushed to an equine specialist vet just over an hours drive away. NEVER have I been SO grateful to have two horses that load themselves without question (even when one could hardly breathe/stand and had a temperature of over 40 degrees C) and NEVER have I been SO grateful that I generally always have my lorry ready to travel at a moments notice. ‘Generally’ because you never know when the sun might pop out and lets face it – in Scotland you have to be quick off the mark to catch it sometimes. Lesson learnt though – there is a second more important reason to have good loaders and the lorry totally ready… Oh and if I’m busy throwing gratitude about, then a lot of that should be extended to my very good friend who dropped everything to meet me at the hospital to get me through this tough time (xxx).

We made it to the vets, Yogi was put on IV fluids and Antibiotics and 6 days later he was fit enough to return home. My bank account by then however, was looking in dire need of resuscitation. We still aren’t sure the exact cause of Yogi’s sudden down turn but his bloods indicated a viral / infectious load and I am in no doubt that I had caught it just in time. He’s home, he’s a little low energy and missing his cheeky spark but he’s home. Still awaiting more blood results and he will need time to rest and recuperate (eat hay uninterrupted he says). Incidentally (we think) -he also tested mildly positive for Lyme Disease and positive for Anaplasmosis. Both “rare diseases” according to most experts and rarer still in equines but that’s all us amigos (3 out of 3) sporting positive results so they can’t be that rare!

Surprises sometimes arise out of emergency situations and that surprise was Swift’s ability to cope alone without her favourite side-kick. She travelled well on her own, seemed sad but settled at home alone, managed a walk out in-hand on her own (well with me obviously) then I put on my brave pants and tried a ride out on her own as well! This was the first time since March I’d sat on her – due to lockdown then her illness and recovery. In fact in the 10 years we’ve been together, this was the first time I can remember EVER riding her out alone. It was a leap of faith on my part (it’s a long way up) and she didn’t let me down (that’s a long way too) – in fact more than that I’d say she was positively incredible. 🙂

The surprise that arose was awesomely nice and made me reflect on how far I’d come with both horses over the years. Then today, a special photograph popped up on my Facebook timeline that underlined that distance completely. I’m not talking about the physical distance travelled (although over the years that’s probably quite impressive), I’m talking about the lessons we’ve all learnt, the skills we’ve gained, the confidence, the teamwork, the understanding of each other, the companionship and the trust that has been hard earned. I appreciate all of this so much, but as the curve of progression in all of those things flattened out – when what once was a challenge becomes second nature – had I perhaps just a little, started to take it all for granted?

It’s been a hard horse trial this year and its not quite over yet, but fingers crossed the 3 amigos -Team Swogi will be back on the trails again next year.

Swift’s first solo ride
Yogi’s first river crossing (and first expedition) 2010!

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