This is for Debbie Kim~ she knows why

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The One that got Away~Victory Ride~ part 17

Four weeks had passed since the second series of injections and no pain. Each morning I crawled out of bed, only to give thanks. Maybe, just maybe.......

Strict orders were given by Doc to do nothing for 6 weeks. Back to no laundry, lifting, sweeping, vacuuming, ect. I complied to the letter this time.
My feet stuck to the kitchen floor( can't believe I am admitting this) sometimes the bathrooms looked more like public restrooms, but I learned not to care. All of my friends worked, and could barely stay on top of their own homes. My daughter at this time was working two jobs. Didn't want to ask her. Checked into cleaning services. They were asking $75 to cross the threshold of my home; from there the prices climbed. So we lived in filth. Sometimes it would get bad enough for Luke to break down and clean, not often, but sometimes.
I had promised myself no matter what, I was going to get better. If I had to live in filth to do so, so be it.
The sixth week came, still no pain. I had an appointment with Doc B in a few days. I felt good about this upcoming appointment. I had latched on to hope like a drowning soul would cling to a life preserver. I had visited that dark, hopeless place and never wanted to go back.
The drugs had long left my system and all visions of men, snakes and alligators had evaporated.
My thinking had become clearer and more rational. The only med I was on now was a muscle relaxer at bedtime.
I had to be improving for now I felt good enough to worry about my weight. Prior to this I hurt too badly to care. I had gone from a toned 122lbs. to an unhealthy 164lbs. Most of the gain due to steroids and my new sedentary lifestyle. Before the fall I was riding an average of 10 to 15 hours a week and doing yoga 4 to 5 mornings a week as well. I had trained my body to contort in ways I couldn't have accomplished at twenty five. In the best of all worlds I hoped to resume yoga; I had excepted the fact that probably wasn't going to happen.
I had to find some way to get the weight off. I had been thin all of my life, too thin at times but always felt good. Doc was starting to encourage me to diet. Apparently huge breasts were bad for the neck as well.

After my sixth round of steroids and an additional ten pounds, my brother decided to come see me. I was feeling well enough to meet him at the airport. I was so excited. O how I love my brother and his visit gave me something to look forward to. I didn't even care what condition the house was in. I wanted to see my brother! Just to sit with me a while would be gift enough.
I continued to complain of my weight, however, I think he believed to be listening to his overly dramatic sister. " No really, I'm gonna have to meet ya at the airport carrying a sign which reads ' Your fat sister!' You won't know me!" "Oh Terri, I would know you any where."
The day of his arrival had finally come. I entered the DFW terminal and spied him far across the way. Would've run had I been able. Instead, I walked as fast as I could to reach him. As I approached, he was bent over fooling with his luggage. He raised up and looked me square in the eye. No recognition at all. I stood for another second, then questioned, "Are you not gonna speak?" The voice gave me away. "Terri? Is that you? My goodness you're fat!" He instantly tried to explain what he meant; the truth was out. I was fat and he didn't know me. I laughed as he tried to back pedal assuring him it was just fine. I still love my brother.
All of the above to assure you, yes I was fat. If I had to choose between being overweight or in pain, fat would win out every time.

Because of my brother's visit I had rescheduled my check up with Doc. That day soon arrived and the check up went well. He lifted some of the physical restrictions, like lite housework. No yoga, well maybe lower body workouts. No riding, yet. YET! Yet meant soon! Yet meant it was in the cards! Yet meant it was a possibility. I could live with yet!!! I wanted to kiss him! I think I did bound from the table and hug him. With YET I could get my life back.

My last visit with Doc B was in September of 09. I had been released from his care, only to return if needed. He had finally given his permission and blessing! to begin riding again.
It had been sixteen long months since the fall. I had so much to catch up on! The house was still filthy but that was the last thing on my mind. With so very many options open to me now, I had no idea what to do first. Ride!!! That's what I wanted to do more than anything.

The next day I planned my maiden ride. I had continued the ground work with Maggie as soon as I was able. Feeling confident she would be fine, I insisted my son stay indoors. Silly, I know, but I wanted this to be a Maggie and me time. Got her shinning like a new penny, reached for her pad, landing it lightly on her back. Pulled my saddle up close, went to lift it and my arm gave way; just like the night I fell. I attempted to saddle many times, til my arm started hurting. Good night nurse!!!! The old Terri would've stood out there and slung that saddle til her arm fell off. Far too proud to ask for help. She would have cowgirled up and got 'er done.
No more. I had learned to let go of pride and ask for help.
Luke was inside with a friend. I tied Maggie, went inside and asked for help. He was only too happy to lend a hand. He had her saddle on her within seconds; leaving me feeling as if I had failed somehow. I pushed that thought from my mind, gathered reins, foot in stirrup then stopped. I had to take a moment to give thanks. I attempted to mount; no luck. I tried again, still no luck. I made it only half way up each time and that was it. My legs were weak. My left arm too weak to pull the extra 40 plus pounds I was packing. I retied Maggie and made my way to the house. "Luke, your mother is too fat to mount her own horse. Come give me a leg up."
I heard a deep sigh,however he met me with a smile. "Come on, I wanta get mounted before dark."
Back to the pasture we went, me chattering the whole way. I could no longer hold my excitement. We approached Maggie on her near side. She seemed totally confused at this point, with good reason.
After several failed attempts with the old leg up method, I began to wear out. I couldn't believe how weak I had gotten. Turning to face my son, I informed him I might have one more good hop in me,then I would be toast. " When I hop up, you get underneath my hindquarters and give me one good push!" The kid looked horror struck. "Mom, this is too awkward." His cheeks the color of county fair cotton candy. "Luke, it is just a butt. Everyone has one. We both should be on our knees thanking God you're just pushin' and not wiping. It could have been so much worse, hon." I have been called disarmingly honest by many. While I never intended to embarrass my son, I suppose I had done just that.
Up I hopped, my strength waning. about the time I was certain I was gonna slide back down, Luke grabbed me, shoved, my seat found leather. "Thanks, Luke." " Well Mom, if you ask me you are crazy. I would never get back on a horse again." Another teaching opportunity. Still out of breath from the exertion, (oh,Lord), I panted; Luke you can never allow fear to cheat you outta something you love, which brings you great joy. I'm nervous right now, but I pray I always find the courage to deafen that fear and move past it." I could see my son soaking in these words; I hoped he realized how profound his mother to be. "Naw Mom, you are just crazy, he responded, smiling. With that he turned and left the pasture.

We headed across the pasture in the fast walk. After a few turns and backing, I had to admit to myself all muscle memory was gone. Had I ever been on a horse before? I shifted my weight in the saddle. No better. I looked down at my hips and laughed out loud. I was packed tight in my old saddle. I no longer sat a 15 in. seat, that became obvious.
Not once during my ride around the pasture did things feel natural. I told myself my balance would return, the weight would come off, the saddle would become my second home again. All of this would take time. Time and practice.

I unsaddled and put Maggie away. I struggled with putting tack up; refusing to ask for help with that simple task. I lingered around Maggie a bit longer, knowing it was time to ice my neck.

I think I expected a marching band, cheers form all surrounding neighbors, including streamers perhaps some confetti floating down encircling us. None of those things happened.
I rode off balanced. I rode giving clumsy cues. I rode with my mind in the way, without instinct. I rode with my body braced and stiff. I rode exactly like a beginner.

The most empowering of all...........I rode.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The One that got Away~Alligators and Snakes part 16

I took an immediate shine to Dr.B. The energy of his office I found to be welcoming and upbeat.

The waiting room read like a who's who of professional athletes; complete with framed autographed pictures of football, basketball, hockey, ballerinas and even some pro horsemen. I felt certain I had come to the right place.

I completed all paperwork and within minutes I found myself in an exam room with Doc. I repeated the events of the accident for what seemed like the one hundredth time, with Doc interrupting to ask thoughtful, pertinent questions. Few professionals I had seen to date had bothered to ask questions. Another plus for Doc. He took extensive notes, leaning back in his chair, legs crossed, as if he had not another thing in the day to do. I had become accustomed to the other docs leaning forward, prescription pad in hand, almost rolling toward the door as I attempted to finish a sentence. No wonder he had been voted best doc in metroplex for 02,03,04,05,06, and 07. He actually listens and has time for his patients!!
Completed my third MRI and made a second appointment to return for the results. He had prescribed a drug for spinal cord injury and nerve pain. The nurse went over possible side effects and potential issues with other drug interactions. Another consideration never called to my attention. Oh how I wished I had found him months ago!

I returned to the follow up visit to review MRI results. His first question being," When did you break your shoulder?" What? I had never broken any bone in my body. He disagreed. My left shoulder had been broken in two places, recently. Apparently the healing had gone well, but he showed me the film and both breaks. The other doc had been so preoccupied with the torn muscles he either missed it altogether or never mentioned it to me. Wow! Now wonder it hurt!
Doc B assured me the shoulder had healed and was fine. However, he thought it odd I knew nothing of the breaks.

About a month after I fell Maggie coliced .I found her down around ten o'clock one evening and it took both Lonnie and myself to get her up. I keep Banamine on hand just for such occasions. Ran to the animal med cabinet and grabbed the tube. Most of the time this brings relief but not this evening. Long story cut short, I spent the night in the pasture with her. She was allowed to rest for a bit, as long as she didn't roll, then we'd get up and walk. I spent the night on the ground dozing, hearing her begin to move, pulling her up. No wonder I wanted to cry over the shoulder pain! I had no idea at this point it happened to be broken.
This went on til the vets' office opened at 7:30! Okay, maybe I had redeemed myself somewhat.
Think Tom and John Walker would be giving me a thumbs up!! Both men expected me to work and hang tough like a man. I too, expected the same. Being a girl was never an excuse.

Doc B thought I was doing well and I ventured to ask the all important question. Will I ride again? I spat the question out as if I were shooting peas through a straw. Ready for whatever answer may come. Eventually a guarded answer came." I will do everything I can to get you riding again. I understand how important this is to you. I can't make any promises. I can promise you two things; I will give you my best and you will have to change the way you ride.
Your cowgirling days are over. You are going to have to learn to ride like an old lady.
I didn't even know what that meant. I rode with old ladies; they rode hell bent for leather. One was 72 and still in the show ring with her reiner. Perhaps Doc would write a prescription for a reiner for me. I could just see me explaining that to the IRS.
" Do you hear me?" Doc's voice snapping me back to reality. The ability to focus and my short term memory hadn't been the same since last May. I suppose I had had one too many concussions over the years.
" Oh sure Doc, just get me outta pain and back in the saddle."
Then Doc telling me he would like to try another steroid. Great! Just for a week. Another 10 pounds! I now weighed 35 pounds more than I did before I fell. The weight made me feel miserable. I began to object when he interrupted me, promising this would be the last round.
I agreed to another round of steroids, promised to take it easy, ice three times a day, and stay on current meds.

I kept all promises. The last dose of steroids were stronger than any I had taken in the past. I have no way of explaining how my thought process changed. Someone else was in my head, controlling all thoughts and actions. Occasionally I would experience a moment of clarity, only to realize I was not myself. The side effects, much like an ocean wave, would swallow me and the drugs would win out.
Then there was the man who continued to look through the windows and front door glass. I could see his shadow pass out of the corner of my eye. He was crafty! I could never quite make him out, just his silhouette.
He had been lurking about for five days, however I never mentioned him to Lonnie. He would just worry. I knew I could take him on, that is, if I could catch him. Finally, one morning early,
I saw him at the front door. I raced to the door, threw it open, and screamed,"What do you want?" Already he was gone.Well, I had no doubt I would catch him and God help him when I did. He was messin' with the wrong woman!!
Days later, I went to feed. Coiled tightly on our patio lay a snake. He was the size of a car tire all coiled up. He reminded me of the braid my grandmother wore coiled on the back of her head. I bet that man left him there!
With or without drugs, I have an irrational fear of snakes. Lonnie wasn't home, but at night rehearsal with the band. Knowing better, I called his cell phone. "We have an emergency! You have to come home, now! Sobbing in to the phone I begged him to come. He turned the rehearsal over to one of his assistants and raced home.
The snake was gone. We spent an hour looking for him, never found him. Lonnie was beginning
to doubt there ever was a snake. I know I saw him! He was real! Couldn't convince Lonnie.
"Terri, I don't think there was a snake." But I saw him! I know he was here! Just as crafty as that man! Maybe now would be a good time to tell Lonnie about the man. We were friends with the county sheriff, perhaps he could help.
I explained to Lonnie I had been seeing a man looking through the windows for the last week.
I thought the snake to be one of his antics. We just needed to apprehend the man! Yes, that man had to be behind all of this! He had planted the snake!
Lonnie, forever calm and understanding, took me to the living room."Terri, think about this. When this man is lurking about the house, what are the dogs doing?" Oh, I saw where he was going with this. We live with three dogs with hearing and 16 year old Max who is deaf. A leaf can't blow across the place without the three dogs going nuts. Two are schnauzers, you can imagine.
"Terri, I don't think there is a man. I don't think there was a snake tonight. I know you believe what you are seeing; I think the medicine is making you see these things."
I took the time to gather my thoughts and choose my words."But this medicine works. My neck doesn't hurt. I don't have headaches. I simply am unwilling to go back to where I used to be. It's possible for me to learn to discern what is real and what is not." Lonnie in response,"I think you should call the doctor. Tell him what is going on and let him make the decision. This is the only safe way to handle this situation." I relented, however I didn't tell him when I would make that call.
Walking back from feeding the following night, there on our patio lay an alligator! I turned to run then realized he wasn't real either. I slowly turned back around and as I suspected, there was no alligator. I had either lost my mind or was having a terrible reaction to the drugs.

The next morning I called the office. Doc was out of town. The nurse insisted I stop all meds immediately. Visual hallucinations indicated a dangerous reaction to the drugs. Doc would be back Monday, come in then.

By Monday the old neck was screaming, the head exploding, the stomach churning. I couldn't stand to open my eyes. Every bump in the road felt more like a wooden roller coaster ride. The heat coming off my neck was blazing, though I was traveling with an ice pack. I think the pain had become worse since stopping the meds. By worse I mean worse than ever!

The nurse took one look at me, ushering me straight back to an exam room. Within minutes Doc joined me. Because of the pain, I recall little of the visit. I remember Doc saying it was time to move on to plan B. Plan B? No one told me of a plan B.
Time to go for the injections, says Doc. He went on to explain he does all his injections on Wednesdays. He could squeeze me in this Wednesday. "But I have already had injections, six in my shoulder." "Yes but you haven't had any in your neck. I try medication first, which is what we have done. You couldn't tolerate the medicine. Now, we move on to shots." I hurt badly enough I would've let him shoot me in the eyeballs.
I was given all the pre-op info and made plans to check in at 5:30 Wednesday. Lonnie and I drove down the night before to be sure I checked in on time.
I was to receive 10 shots in the facets of my neck. I would be under a general and remember nothing, which was fine with me! After the injections, I would be placed in a recovery room, monitored, then discharged.
Doc B made it so easy! When I came to I was in recovery with no pain!!!! No pain anywhere!
We were back home by 11:oo that morning!
The next three weeks were better than I had dared hoped. Limited still in activities, I had no pain. None!
The forth week came and with it the pain. With no warning I woke to scorching, pulling, spasms
just like before. This time I cried, the disappointment so great. I cried while I waited for Doc Bs' office to open.
Another round of shots. The nurse explained it was rare for only one round to work. "Let's get you scheduled for another appointment." Her perkiness seemed to make the pain worse.
"What if a second round doesn't do it?" I dreaded the answer but I had to know. " Doc B will complete up to three rounds of injections. If you are still experiencing pain after the third round, then surgery will be the next step."
"Now then, let's find you an opening."

Monday, April 19, 2010

The One that got Away~A Lost Year~ part 15

The trip to the ER, just as miserable as I feared, revealed few answers.

Yes, I had yet another concussion. By the time I was ushered back behind the magic curtain, my neck was singing! and no I did not have a broken arm. This a surprise to all. While I had officially lost my title as Velcro Butt, my never having a broken bone record stood.
Given pain pills, a cervical collar and a promise I would be sore by morning, I went home and fell into bed.
I woke to intense pain, not only in my arm but ribs as well. Oh did I mention neck and headache?
Feeling certain ER doc had to have missed something, I made appointment with my family practitioner for that same afternoon. Clearly something was missed in the ER exam.
Dr. R confirmed I had separated my ribs, only to explain I would have been better off to have broken them. Apparently the soft tissue in the space between the ribs had been torn. This takes longer to heal than broken ribs and easier to re injure. Also more painful. This I believed.
He thought the headache to be related to the concussion; the neck pain to whiplash. He suggested another film of the arm, which he could do in house. Those results were in quickly, and again no sign of a break. This still did not explain the weakness and pain when attempting to lift the arm. Doc decided perhaps it just a severe sprain.
Weeks later I found myself back in Doc's office. My condition seemed to be getting worse, not better. I couldn't sleep because of the pain. I had learned to wrap my own ribs, this being a help. Al least my ribs felt stationary when wrapped; otherwise they felt as if they all were floating and shifting around in the thoracic cavity. Upon discovering this, Doc had a fit. Explaining the dangers to me(restriction of lungs resulting in pneumonia) I promised I would no longer wrap.
During this visit he decided to refer me to an orthopedist.
The MRI revealed I had a slight tear in left rotator cuff, which explained the weakness and inability to lift arm. The tear, slight enough not to require surgery, didn't seem to concern him.The supraspinatus muscle left him with a gleam in his eye. This muscle was one of four considered to be part of the rotator cuff. If (and this is a big if, as my brain had shut down ) this muscle was ever torn completely in half, I'd be wearing my shoulder around my waist. He continued to explain my shoulder was being held in place with no more than what looked like cobwebs. One more jerk or tear and I was looking at a very complicated surgical repair. I immediately was put in a contraption called a shoulder stabilizer; although it pains me to admit, my shoulder felt better instantly.
His hope was enough scar tissue would develop over time to take over the task of the actual muscle. At this point, I would start physical therapy.
How long? He had no idea. No driving, no lifting, no laundry, no vacuuming. I had hit the mother load!!!! I could NOT do those things for months! He even put it in writing, for Lonnie's benefit. whoo-hoooooo! I would cowgirl up and follow his instructions, no matter the cost! Then I could count a cowgurl's blessing and bask in the light of no housekeeping! I was liking this doc more and more.
He prescribed even stronger pain pills along with a weeks supply of oral steroids. Went over the use and abuse of both and sent me on my way, with the understanding I would come back in one week.
Steroids worked great for the pain! After the first day I could tell a difference in my arm. My neck, however was killing me! I tried heat, I tried ice. I stretched. I took pain pills; they barely took the edge off. I had concluded the strap connected to stabilizer, had aggravated the whiplash even more. Without ortho knowing, I started sleeping without it. It helped.

I'm unsure how much time had passed. All I did was run to appointments and develop more symptoms. My arm was feeling much better; wish I could say the same for head and neck.

I had starting having headaches. I don't mean garden variety headaches either. I'm talking curled in fetal position, crying, dark room, throwing up, pray to die headaches. When I could stand it no longer, someone would drive me to Doc R's office, and like putting an animal down, shoot me with something to knock me out. This was the only time I found relief. I always had a headache, the severity was the only thing that varied.

Finally, Dr. Ortho decided to preform another MRI. He was certain the neck pain was related to shoulder injury, referred pain was his bet.

The weather was beginning to change. Fall would come a courting soon. The shadows were getting longer; the sun hanging lower in the sky. I fell on May 8. I had missed the entire summer. Time I would never get back. I had gone through three rounds of steroids, only to gain 20 pounds. Each round made me meaner than the last and altered my thinking. Yes, I think a second MRI might be in order.

To every one's surprise I had 5 herniated discs in my neck. When swollen and inflamed 2 of the 5 were pushing on my spinal cord. Not the answer I wanted, but an answer.
Dr. Ortho then went into a lengthy explanation of what would need to be done to remove the pressure on the spinal cord and involved nerves. I listened horrified not fully taking in what I was hearing. And of course, for now, another round of oral steroids and another shot in my shoulder. While the steroids worked all too well for the pain, they were making me mean. Seems with each round I became more nervous and aggressive. Coupled with the additional weight I was sure to pack on, I became less and less desirable to be around.
Surgery was not an option, no matter how great the pain. I had spent ten years working on back and neck surgeries gone wrong. Usually hearing the pain had only worsened after surgery. No, I was willing to try almost anything but surgery.

With the arm somewhat healed, I was able to drive and proceed with a semi normal life. Despite Dr. Ortho's best effort, my neck was still a wreck. It took so little to aggravate and inflame those discs. Dr. O had just about convinced me I would never ride again.
In the beginning when he brought this subject to the fore, I dismissed him. With every visit I asked,"When can I ride again?" His answer never wavered," Your riding days are over."
The first time he told me to hang up my saddle, he suggested needlepoint or scrap booking as hobbies. I recall shouting," Do I look like someone who would do needlepoint?!!!"
He was a good man; overlooked my outburst, and can only assume he contributed my behavior to pain and steroids.

A year had passed since the fall. I had received six steroid shots in my shoulder and taken five oral packs of steroids, in addition to a couple of rounds of physical therapy. Still the headaches persisted. The forty extra pounds I carried made my knees hurt. I didn't recognize myself any longer. My thoughts were not my own. Whether due to the meds or depression I don't know.
For most of the last year I refused to believe I would never ride again. I held on to that one hope with dogged determination. Now, I was beginning to be a bit more realistic.
Maggie had not been ridden in a year. She needed a job. I couldn't even ride in a car for more than an hour without my neck flaring. I felt as if I had failed. I wasn't tough. I couldn't take it any longer. I had so little quality of life.

My thoughts turned to John Walker. In his late sixties a horse had stood up and fallen smack on top of him, shattering all bones from the pelvis down. He was told he would walk with a walker or cane the rest of his life. Horses? He certainly would never ride again. Being a man of few words, he responded, " I'll be damned." It took him a year; all docs were proven wrong. John Walker not only rode again; he went back to training his 2 year olds. I never saw him on a cane.

For the first time I was glad he was dead. Tom too. Both men had surpassed the most difficult of health issues, only to amaze all of their medical professionals. Me? Most days I could be found sniveling under the covers with ice packs on my neck. Both men would have been ashamed of me. I was ashamed of me.

I had started having muscle spasms beginning in the neck only to crawl to the right side of my face. These spasms were strong enough to pull my mouth and right eye almost to my temple. Originally I thought I was having a stroke. I was grotesque looking; like something out of a bad Stephen King movie. This pain made all headaches pale in comparison. There was nothing to do but wait for the spasm to pass.

I was being swallowed by depression. Oh wait! Another pill. If the antidepressants helped, I couldn't tell. I remained in a cocoon of pain. To be honest, I didn't want to be here any more. I was nothing but a burden to my family. Worse than that, I was certain I had outlived my usefulness.


My thoughts were scaring even me. There had to be someone out there to help me. I remembered one of Toms' favorite docs at Baylor. I prayed he remembered me. I decided to call.
I was shaking as his office phone rang. A real person answered. That in itself was encouraging.
His receptionist did in fact remember me and my Dad. I tried to explain why I was calling but instead broke down, crying into the phone. She was wonderful. Waited for me to calm down, fully ready to give me her complete attention.
" I need the best neck doc in the metroplex." She excused herself to personally ask Dr.C. his opinion. Within seconds she was back on the line, relaying his info. " Dr.C said their is only one doc he would allow touch his neck. That would be Dr.B over at Presby. You will have quite a wait. Would you like us to call Terri and get you in sooner?" "Yes!" was all I was able to spit out.

Dr. Bs' office called within the hour. He could see me the first week of June. He would complete his own tests, including more x-rays and another MRI. I was to bring a list of all the meds I currently took. The paper work was extensive; come early.
I looked down at the date I had jotted down. My appointment was exactly 13 months to the day of the fall.

For the first time in months, I felt hope stir within me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The One that got Away~Glassy Eyed,Slacked Jawed~ part 14

My garden hat fooled no one. The instant J saw me leaning against the arena pipes he piped up himself. "Who dumped you?" I had to have looked a mess. Told him it was the big gray and he shook his head knowingly. Maggie would never unseat me.

I suppose I simply stood looking slack jawed and glassy eyed for after a moment J asked if there was anything he could do for me. I thought. I had no idea why I had walked all the way up there.
I never hung around when the guys were roping, although I had been invited on many occasions.
They were all young and enjoyed cuttin' loose, which usually involved cold beer. Not that I objected or judged one way or the other about alcohol. I do think it stupid to get falling down drunk and work horses. Too much could go wrong. Course J was sitting a horse and I was walking so I may have blown holes through that theory.
"Terri, do you need something?" It was hard to think with all the cowboys hooting and hollering coupled with the calves bawling and dust flying in my face."J, I came up here for a reason but I can't think why." The words no sooner left my lips and I remembered. "Oh, Ghost is still running around with my good saddle on. I can't catch him. I need you to come help me and I don't want any razzing about it tonight. You can give me a hard time tomorrow; I can't hear it now." J became respectful, which should have indicated to me things certainly were not right. "Yes ma'am. Can I finish with these calves?" "Why sure, J. Come when ya can. And thanks. I'm sorry I have to ask."
"No problem. You sure you're alright?" I took a second to answer. "Yeah, I knocked the heck outta my head and I just feel addled. I'll be fine. I'll see ya in a bit."
Suddenly the walk home seemed endless. I was tired. Fighting that horse had worn me out more than I realized. Well, I had to get home and feets was all I gots ( as a dear friend would say) so I started hoofin' it.
J just about beat me. In no time he and a buddy rode down and had Ghost penned for me. "You need me to get your saddle?" "No, surely I can do that. Thanks a bunch, J." "Sure thing. Now, tomorrow I can give ya hell, right?" he asked smiling. "Yeah, I'll be ready for it."
I turned to walk in the pen with Ghost. I was afraid. Hard to admit, however fear filled me. I looked at this horse and suddenly felt nothing but compassion, the fear evaporating. "Buddy, I gotta get my saddle. Tomorrow your big gray butt's going back to 29 Black Street. I'm sorry but you can't stay here."
The sun had long been down and the back pen poorly lit. Sure would feel better if I could see his ears and eyes. I tried pulling leather but my arms were weak, especially my left. Finally pulled everything loose. As I attempted to lift the saddle from his back, my left arm gave out.
The saddle slid down Ghosts' side, buckles clinking til it hit the dirt. I braced myself for a crow hop at the very least. If the horse so much as blinked I never saw it. The breath I had been holding calmly released from my body. I attempted to lift my saddle and pain screamed up my arm. Instead I drug it outta the pen with my right arm. Back to retrieve my bridle. This too went without incident. Completely used up, I decided to ask Luke to put my tack away.

Now to sneak into the house. Having no clue as to the time, aware it had been dark for a long time, I thought perhaps Lonnie had already retired.
I walked through the backdoor and heard the TV blaring. Everything seemed sooooo loud! Shoot! He was still awake. Maybe I could bypass him and make a straight run for the bathroom. If it were something he was truly involved in he might never see me. One could hope.
The sound of the backdoor severed Lonnie's TV fog. "Where ya been? I was beginning to think you were gonna spend the night out there." James in a row boat!!! Now why is it if I were dancing naked in front of the TV he wouldn't notice? Turned on the kitchen facet; maybe I could get my face cleaned up. "Could you bring me some ice water, please?" Geez, I wish we had a mirror in the kitchen. Note to self: hang mirror in kitchen. "Sure, just wanta wash up a bit. I washed my face and hands, checked my reflection in the kitchen window, poured requested ice water and prepared to make my post fall debut.
" Here you go, hon." I handed him the glass of water. Lonnie, wearing a look of shock on his face, "What have you done to your arm?!!!" I was busted. I looked down. My left elbow was the size of a orange and terribly misshapen. Already it was turning a most lovely color of noir. Hells bells! No wonder I couldn't lift my saddle. Probably should have had ice on that hours ago. Was it even possible to break an elbow? They didn't teach that in massage school.

Soon Luke was front and center, regaling his father of the evenings' activities. And here it came.....Lonnie, much like warming up one of his bands, A one, and a two and a three, and a four....................
"I told you I didn't like that gray horse. I don't know when you are gonna learn to listen. I knew this was gonna happen! That guy is nothing but a common horse hustler, why........................

You get the idea. This is what I was trying to avoid. Not that Lonnie wasn't correct, probably on all counts. Still, did me little good at this point. Really, this was all for his benefit when ya get right down to it. The ranting. He would wind down soon. Only I was feeling worse by the minute. Wish he could join J and put it on hold til tomorrow.
....................... and Lord only knows what an ER visit is gonna cost. I just hope you are happy."

ER visit? Happy? Oh yes Lonnie I am thrilled! I may burst out in song any second now! perhaps dance an Irish jig! All things I wanted to say but knew better. It never paid for both of us to lose our tempers at the same time.
We had an unspoken arrangement.

.............................and get some shoes and head for the truck."

What? Where is he going? Why was he going to the truck? Still Lonnie, "Don't you think you need to go to the ER? That arm is broken. You can't wait til morning to have that seen about."
Finally I spoke. "You are probably right. But I am not going with you if you are gonna fuss the whole time. I've listened to about all I can stand. If you can't hush, Luke can take me. I'm not gonna be penned up in some waiting room with you mad as a hatter. I just can't hear it."

My Mama used to say that and I never understood it. She promised if I lived long enough I would. She was right. I suppose I had lived just long enough. It had nothing to do with not wanting to hear it, lack of interest in hearing it or even the refusal of or willingness to hearing it. An honest inability to listen to another word. That was it. I had arrived at that point.

Lonnie swelled up, then shut up. I sent Luke out to get my saddle and pad. Grabbed a clean tee
shirt then realized I couldn't raise my arm to put it on. Guess I'd just go dirty.

Jumping up bald headed James!!!!!! What a long night awaited us!


Monday, April 12, 2010

The One that got Away~The Last Ride ~ part 13

Ghost and I enjoyed several great rides in the arena that week. Again, he was fine under saddle, but that seemed to be the only time.

An empty hand could completely unnerve him. He did not want to be touched by hand any time, anywhere, on his body. I had never come up against this condition and had no idea how to address it.
Having been in the bodywork business, I knew there was a condition (now the name escapes me)
rare, but out there. Too much contact with the body could trigger a myriad of physiological symptoms, including severe headache and nausea. Massage could potentially cause an overload of the central nervous system, thus the resulting symptoms. I only encountered this in one client. That was enough.
Again, me looking for zebras instead of horses at the sound of hoof beats. I would prefer to think Ghost had some bizarre neurological disorder than think perhaps a hand represented pain and abuse. The latter far more likely.
Nothing worked. In fact, if I stayed in his space too long, he would sweat, blow and eventually send threatening warning signals. It was if he were telling me he did not want to hurt me, would try not to, but could only stand so much. Watching the struggle within this animal made it all the more heartbreaking. I had never witnessed such behavior. I decided I wasn't equipped to keep Ghost. I would take him back, but only after one last ride.

The day had been busy. By the time I was ready to ride, the arena was full of cattle and cowboys. I decided to ride in the pasture. With the sun hanging low there wasn't much daylight left anyway.
Ghost seemed edgy. As I lifted the saddle up to his broad back, he crow hopped sideways. Second throw I found horse and at this point he became calm. I didn't dare try any fun stuff. My pasture was too hard. We had been in a drought and the earth was packed and cracked ; hard as concrete. No slides or spins this evening. Just one more ride.

At the moment I hit the saddle, the fella north of us fired up his welder. BIG FLASH! then a scorched smell filled the air.
Ghost panicked. I never even found the right stirrup before the rodeo started. Ghost bucked and ran to the farthest fence line. Determined to unseat me. Luke saw the play day from the kitchen window and apparently came running.
Now, I must say, my nickname among my riding friends was, well, let's say Velcro Butt or VA for short. I have been bitten. I have been kicked. I have been stepped on. I have been knocked over. I do not come out of the saddle. Once I hit leather, I become screwed down. I have had horses stand straight up with me. One crazy, cutter did his best to unseat me; I won out. I am sorry. I do not fall off of horses. No, not me. I had not been dumped in years. Let me stress this point. I DO NOT fall off of horses. Period.

I was not afraid. I imagined he would have his bucking spell and calm down. Instead the situation escalated.
Once Ghost hit the fence line, he ran and bucked with a renewed fervor. Up the 5 acre fence line we raced. That right stirrup still evaded me. Still no fear, not within me anyway.
I have always known a frightened horse is far more dangerous than a mean horse. Those who understand horses know they are prey animals. Their first line of defense is flee. A response to their most primal DNA. Brain literally shuts down. The only message received is FLIGHT! Ghost was in this state.

We made it to the end of the fence line and I released an enormous sigh of relief. Without warning, he spun, two, three, maybe four rotations only to resume bucking and running back down the fence. His power was unbelievable! Still I felt no fear. "Ride it out, stay with him, screw down little girl!" John Walker in my head, with me, coaching me. I was still centered in the saddle, balance good, both reins in gloved hands. Just stay on, my thought echoing in my rattled head. To the end of the fence we arrived. A break from the bucking. Maybe the worst was over.
Oh no, more twirling then a solid bolt, like a race horse out of the gate. No bucking now. Ghost was traveling at full speed, neck stretched out, bearing down on an imaginary finish line.
I saw my opportunity. The good old emergency stop, riding lesson #101. At this speed I could not pull his head around too quickly. This would result in he possibly losing his balance, going down almost sideways, and probably landing on top of me. Not good. Instead I had to lean forward, grab the right rein, and ever so gently pull his head sideways, in an effort to slow him and gain some control. As soon as my seat left leather, I lost balance. I slid down his side, my right leg under his belly, my left leg across the seat of the saddle, my left hand clutching the saddle horn. Desperately, I attempted to pull myself back up. My hanging on his side had triggered even more fear in him and I felt greater speed released. His right front hoof pulling back amazingly close to my face. I found myself studying the bottom of his foot.
It was at this moment I realized I was in trouble. Every thing slowed to a crawl, just like in the movies. Happened remarkably like a scene from a movie. My thought process slowed as well.
I became aware of the close proximity of my head to the fence. I remembered as a child clothes pinning a playing card to bicycle spokes to create that whirling sound as the bike wheels spun.
I imagined my head making the same sound as I buzzed down the fence. Still, my thoughts were calm, experiencing an unheard of clarity. Thinking, "If I could remain this clear, I would never lose my car keys." My mind returned to the current situation. Options were running thin. " Let go and fall. Make sure you are not hung on anything. He'll drag you to death. How bad could it be? You're half way to the ground now. Let go." I released the horn and sent myself into free fall. My last thought," you're committed, no turning back now."
Awareness of landing on the back of my head and neck. Still, the calm remained. "Oh my neck!"
That thought I remember. Nothing else. Maybe knocked out for a few seconds.
My neighbors voice, distant, far off, "I'm calling 911!" Suddenly Luke answering, loudly, as if he were screaming in my ear, "Please hurry!" Why was he so loud??!!!! Oh, he was carrying me across the pasture. Had me cradled in his arms, like a rag doll. Screaming in my ear. "Put my ass down!!" Luke stopped. "Put me down, now!" He eased me to my feet where I promptly crumbled to the ground. Weak and lightheaded, yes, but I was okay. "No 911. I'm fine. Tell him not to call." My instructions were shouted over the fence. "She's okay, don't call."
My son squatted down on the ground beside me. " Mom, you sure you're okay?" "Yeah Luke, my head just got rang like a bell, that's all. Please help me back up." He took me under my arms and lifted. I found my legs on the second try and tried to jerk, like a broken toy across the pasture.
"Where are you going?!" Luke again. "I can't let him get away with that!!! Help me catch him and get back on him." " You are not gonna get near him!" My son, by my side, leading me in the opposite direction of the still loping Ghost. "Luke! I have to get my saddle. That's my good saddle. I have to catch him." Out of patience, my dear boy began to swear. "I'm gonna go get Dad." "NO!, NO!, please don't. I can't listen to him fussing at me right now. Please Luke, leave Dad outta this. I need to sit back down in the grass. Could you please get me some water? And don't you dare say one word to your Dad!"
He left the pasture to make his way back to the house. Ghost was still loping. What was he thinking? I wish I knew.
With iced water in tow, Luke returned, handing me the glass, taking a seat in the grass. My head was feeling a bit clearer. The water seemed to help, somehow. I rested a while longer in the pasture. Luke continued to ask if I was sure I was alright. I assured him I was just fine.
"Mom, that was a bad fall. I saw the whole thing. I just knew you had broken your neck. Then you rolled, ass over tea kettle about four times, then you laid out straight and rolled til you hit the fence. I was so scared!"
Yep, I definitely was knocked out for a few seconds. I don't remember hitting the fence or Luke picking me up. Probably looking at yet another concussion.
"I'm sorry I scared you so, Luke. I am gonna be fine though. Please don't worry." "I'm glad you are okay, Mom. How you gonna get your saddle?" My son a cowboy does not make. I took a deep sigh. "Guess I'll go up to the ropers, swallow my pride, and ask one of them to come down and help me. Lord, they will never let me live this down. Think my pride is hurt more than anything. Well, might as well get to it. Sure isn't gonna get any easier." Luke offered to make the walk up the long private drive. "Thanks, but I may as well start working the soreness out now." I grabbed my garden hat to hide my tangled, grass burred hair. No sense in looking like a wreck. I mumbled to myself, "Let's get this over with."




Sunday, April 11, 2010

The One that got Away~ Ghost~ part 12

Maggie had, in fact, proven to be the perfect horse for me. We had shared five wonderful years together when I decided it was time for the second horse. I understood Mags would always be my primary horse, however I invented multiple reasons why a second horse was needed.


The search was on. And yes, I started on the computer this time. Dreamhorse.com had become my favorite site! The choices were endless; I spent hours daydreaming in front of the screen. I could see this turning into a never ending search. I wanted one of every color and discipline.
Some women feel this way about shoes; for me it was horses.
After three months of seeking out ads and making dozens of phone calls, we decided to begin making some serious inquiries.
Despite many promising, available horses, I was drawn to a large flea bitten gray. Ghost was a reiner, my first love, and a foundation Quarter. He stood 15.2 hands, like Maggie, but could easily be mistaken for a Mack truck. Deep, wide chest. Hindquarters broad and muscular. Short backed with thick neck. A powerhouse of an animal! He had been used for ranch work, namely working cattle. His present owner had been working on finishing him out. Had him close, too.
Never really understood why they were called reiners. If completely tuned, reins aren't used. All cues come from the riders body, butt, legs and shoulders. Oh a left rein lightly touching the neck would cue the horse to cut or turn right, yes. Tuned like a radio and the same can be accomplished with the slightest drop of the left shoulder. And spin!!!! How I love a spinning reiner! Sliding stops too! Busting a gut across an arena, then BAM! leaning back deep in the saddle to feel those haunches sit down, down like a dog, leaving a tornado of dust and sand in the air!! Sometimes enough to feel the grit sifting down the back your shirt. Now that is a good time!!! Well, for me anyway.
The owner didn't have the proper riding facilities. A small round pen and that was about it.
I could tell Ghost responded well to cues, again with so little space that's all I could tell. The man suggested I take Ghost home on a 2 week trial basis. This is fairly common down here. I guess we both felt good about the other. I accepted and to the trailer we went.
After loading easily, the man took me aside. " He's a little wonky on the ground." Wasn't quite sure what he meant, but wonky did not sound good to me. "What?" "You know, weird. He seems to be afraid of hands, empty hands." This is not an inherent fear in horses. Someone taught him to be afraid of empty hands. " Who taught him that?" I leveled my gaze on him. "Not me, I promise. No. I haven't had him that long. My Dad had been using him out at the ranch, then found another gelding for himself. Dad brought him to me to finish out and then sell." Glad I had my boots on.
We exchanged phone numbers and Coggins test then pulled out of the drive.
The first seed of suspicion had been planted.

I allowed Ghost to settle in for the first three days. Put him up in the large pen to protect him from Maggie. She was being less than the congenial hostess. She squealed at him. She twirled at him. She tried kicking him through the fence and when that didn't work she tried biting him!
By the time I did turn him out everyone understood Maggie had taken her spot as the alpha horse. As long as Ghost was willing to play by her rules there were no problems. Thankfully, he had chosen the path of least resistance. Because of this choice, they became fast friends.

Ghost had been given several days to settle in to his new routine and become accustomed to his new pasture mate. It was time to ride.
I gathered up grooming tools and apron, grabbed halter and lead, and on my way to the pasture I went. I prayed he would be easily caught. I walked directly and with intention straight up to him. Ghost accepted the halter easily, with an uneventful trip back to the barn.
Grooming wasn't near as relaxed. He blew at me the entire time, through what should have been a pleasant experience. I guess he had been trained to keep a constant eye on the human; this lead to him turning and facing me despite where I was in relation to his body. Finally snubbed him up to a barn pole. Doing so stabilized his head but his hindquarters remained free to swing like a gate in the wind. Basically all I accomplished was knocking the loose dirt off of him. Ghost was going to need lessons in standing still.
He saddled beautifully. As soon as he spied the saddle, he relaxed. Oh..... something he knew.
Time to go to work.

We made it to the arena without incident; unless of course Maggie's squealing, bucking fit went uncounted. Pasture Princess did not want to be left alone. Ghost ignored the mare's fit, showing no signs of wanting to rejoin her. This was good.
We worked in the arena for about an hour or so. Someone had done a nice job with this horse.
He was all business; ready to go and stay at work. He did not back well. That was the only fault I could find. Well that and his "wonky ways " on the ground.

Certainly he could be brought around. Already I knew if he stayed I would be the one to ride Ghost; guests would ride Ms. Thing still screaming in the pasture. She was the people horse; the pony in your pocket girl. Ghost was not gonna be a charmer. Clearly he had been mistreated at some point by someone. I didn't have to make up my mind this day. I decided to get a few more rides in and then make the decision.








Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The One that got Away~ Synchronicity~part 11

Good to his word, Lonnie made the deal. Alexis came out to the truck, hugging me. She was thrilled! She had gotten herself out of a world of trouble and felt good about Magic's new home. Everyone was excited about the transaction, except me. I still had my own misgivings.

Lonnie explained he had gotten a full third off her price. If she didn't work out we could sell her and make a profit. As we say in Texas, bless his heart. You can't make a profit on horses, not anymore. I didn't want to burst his bubble; he was so proud of the deal he had just made. If you own horses and are wise, you know they are nothing but a black hole. A hole that sucks money so fast you can almost hear it.

Well, the deal was done. I decided to get out of the truck and take another look at my new horse.
I must digress for one moment.
I sold Cat to marry my first husband. We could not afford her and her two year old colt. Broke my heart, but young love can make you stupid.
The day the man came to haul Cat to her new home, the barn radio was on. She wouldn't load.
Finally got the man away from the trailer and she loaded fine. I was in the trailer with her when one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs aired. "Dreams," from the Rumours album. One of the lines; "have you any dreams you'd like to sell?" That's what I was doing at that second. I was selling my dream. Tears could now longer be held. The levy broke as I buried my face in Cat's neck. I stayed in the trailer until I could gather my emotions. Her new owner shifted his weight, back and forth, head down, gloved hands shoved deep in his Levi pockets. Kicking dust puffs upward with worn boots. He made no eye contact as he climbed in his Ford. Moments later she was gone.

I made my way back to the barn to take a look at my new horse. Magic, still tied in the runway, Alexis bent over, one hoof in hand. A flawless silhouette of horse and rider. The rain had stopped and the afternoon sun was straining to peek through the lifting clouds. As I approached the two I heard Stevie Nicks' distinctive, raspy voice asking,"have you any dreams you'd like to sell?" I froze. All messages to my brain scrambled. Linear time? A difficult concept for me. I felt time literally split. For one nano second I existed in two worlds. A twisted , tilted world. Another second, the world righted.
I must admit I have always believed in synchronicity. What are the odds this song, some twenty years later, just happened to be on the radio? In my mind this was no coincidence. This was the validation I so desperately sought. Again, more tears as I explained the significance of the song, playing at this exact moment, to Alexis. Before long we were both in tears. Giggling and crying all at the same time. She felt she had found the perfect home for Magic. I was certain Lonnie had found the perfect horse. Well, perhaps not the perfect horse; but the perfect horse for me.







Saturday, April 3, 2010

The One that got Away~Perfect Horses~ part 10


I had decided to purchase a second horse. Horse lovers need very little encouragement in this endeavor. And the present number of horses owned rarely comes into play. Just one more.
Horses are herd animals. Maggie's herd consisted of 5 goats and a friendly basset hound. She needed an equine friend.
Besides, my daughter and one of her friends had started coming up from the city on weekends to ride. Three riders and one horse does not a good time make.
So off I went in search of a second horse. This sounds exciting, but I hated it. A well balanced horse is harder to find than one may think. I was beginning to believe I'd never find the first one.
I remembered the search for Maggie. I lost count of the miles driven, the horses ridden and passed over. All in search of the perfect horse.
I had been riding with a group of ladies each Wednesday, my break from massage. One of these friends had been kind enough to loan her "extra " to me. Shun, a beautiful white Arabian, aging but with a few good miles left. During one of these rides someone asked how the search was going. "Terrible," I had answered. I complained of all the bad horses I had ridden over the last couple of months. The oldest of these ladies, an accomplished hunter/jumper trainer, now retired, rode up beside me. "Honey, there is no perfect horse out there. It's alot like picking a husband. You just gotta decide what you're willing to put up with." Armed with this new insight
I continued my search.

A few weeks after my conversation with the trainer, I found Maggie. Actually my husband found her. On line.
This sounded crazy to me. Who would buy a horse listed on the computer? Horse trading certainly had changed since John Walker's time.
My husband insisted I come look. I moved over to the computer and saw her pic. All breath left my body. My hands flew up to my mouth as I tried to do the math. No way. There's no way that could be Cat. I could not think; I could not believe what I was seeing. My Cat, a Moore horse, my first mare. The mare my dad had bought from John Walker all those years ago. There she was, on line. No it wasn't Cat, but a dead ringer nonetheless. My husband read her "bio" to me;
she sounded nothing like what I was looking for. She was stabled in Colleyville, only about an hour or so from us. I wasn't sure I wanted to go look at her. Such a reminder of Cat. My husband made the call and set up the appointment for Saturday. He seemed so pleased with himself. I went back to the screen to take one more look. Yes, the resemblance was strong, but
upon second look she couldn't be mistaken for Cat. She had a prettier head and was a full hand taller than Cat. She had a bald face, but with much more white than Cat. This mare had almost a bonnet, with white streaks moving up past her jawline, almost like flames. Yes, she was prettier than Cat. Also, she was a registered overo paint, with Quarter in her background. Her registered name was Broker's Magic, and was a hunter/jumper. What was Lonnie thinking?

We arrived at the stables early afternoon. Although it was early September, a cool front had blown in complete with light showers. It was a blessed relief from the Texas heat but a nasty day to be out horse hunting.
We found Maggie and her owner in the barn run, with Alexis putting on the finishing touches to the grooming routine. She had her shinning like a new penny. Almost copper red, with flaxen mane and thick multi-colored tail. And that white face! She stared at me with an air of arrogance. She was beautiful! I had seen that same look in the eyes of cheerleaders and homecoming queens. This horse did not lack confidence, not at all.
We made our introductions, with Alexis explaining we needed to do some round pen work due to the cool front. Magic was feeling her oats and was eager to go to work. We moved to the round pen.
The minute she was released from the lead, the bucking started. Around the pen she loped, kicking, bucking; at one point she left the ground completely! All fours airborne! Something to watch but nothing I was interested in climbing up on. I was ready to leave right then and Alexis knew it. "She's not like this under saddle. She just feels good. Please give her a chance." Within minutes the mare began to respond to voice commands, licking her lips, eyes relaxed, all tension released from her body. She didn't even look like the same horse. I was beginning to like what I was seeing.
With the vinegar worked out of her, Alexis decided it was time to saddle up. Back to the barn.
I was shocked when she pulled out an English saddle. Why I don't know. I knew she was a hunter jumper. Ya just don't see them sporting western saddles. Well, we had come this far. I wasn't about to back out at this point.
Having tacked up, Alexis moved to the arena and we watched them work. She moved beautifully. Collected nicely,
her transitions seamless. I did not want to like this horse but I
was having a hard time finding fault with her.
The last time I sat an English saddle I was twelve. I was visiting my cousin in Maryland who owned her own horse, a hunter jumper. I was insanely jealous! Oh how I envied her. My cousin was giving me "riding lessons" for the 2 weeks I was there. After the first week she decided I was ready for my first jump. She was 14 and I viewed her as an equine authority.
I made it over the jump just fine. The second we found earth on the other side, well, let's just say I was not prepared for the landing. I fell forward on the mare's neck, lost my balance, and fell smack on my back. I landed hard enough the air was knocked out of my lungs. I was certain I was dying! I didn't die, but I lost all interest in jumping, forever.
Now here I was, thirty years later, mounting a hunter jumper. My heart was racing, my mouth dry. I tried to pretend to be brave, hide my fear. But a horse cannot be fooled. I knew better.
Out of respect for her intelligence, I quietly admitted my fear. " Please take care of me," I whispered to her. Her ears swiveled at the sound of my voice.
I made one trip around the arena, trying to find my balance. Surprisingly enough, I felt quite comfortable in the saddle. What I found more difficult was keeping contact with her mouth. In western riding a very loose rein is used. I had spent years listening to John Walker fuss at me about "choking up". Now there was Alexis,"too much slack in your reins!" And I had been worried about the saddle!!
Luckily she worked off the leg beautifully. This helped tremendously since I proved horrible at check reining. After a nice workout in the arena, I asked if we could ride the grounds. This was an overstatement. Yard would be a better term. The whole facility couldn't have been 3 acres, if that. Maggie's "pasture" was a 15 by 30 foot dry lot with an attached loafing shed.
Anyway, to the front lawn we went. We covered every inch of the place in minutes.Way too many horses for the size of the place.
Back to the barn we went. I helped unsaddle and put her away. "Well, what do you think?" Alexis, her voice hopeful. "Let me give you a call in a couple of days," I answered. "Oh," disappointment in her voice. "Just I was hoping you would take her. I really want a good home for her. I can tell you would be good to her. She has to be gone in a week."
My curiosity got the better of me. "Why?" I asked. " My Dad never knew I bought her. I took lessons on her for a couple of years; she was owned by the stables back then. Later, three Dallas guys bought her and kept her about a year then brought her back here for the stables to sell. I begged my Dad to buy her but he said absolutely not. I emptied out my bank account and bought her myself. My Mom knows, but my Dad would kill me. I leave for college in one week and my Mom says she has to be gone before I leave. I felt myself falling in love with this young girl. " What about feed and board and vet bills, farrier bills? How have you pulled this off?" Alexis smiled shyly. "Well, I work here six days a week for her board bill. I also use Magic as a lessons horse. I earn enough doing that to pay for trims and annual vacs.
This kid was gonna make it in this world. No doubt about that. As much as I wanted to give her a yes I couldn't. " Let me sleep on it, okay? I'll let you know something by tomorrow." We said our goodbyes as I climbed in the truck.
As soon as we hit the drive my husband looked at me." I can't believe you are not buying that horse! She is the perfect horse for you!" Could he be right? ''She just looks too much like Cat. I don't want to buy a horse for all the wrong reasons. I can't jump off and buy her because she reminds me of some dead horse I loved years ago. That's not fair to either one of us. Besides, there are no perfect horses, remember?" Lonnie again, " I didn't say she was perfect. I said she was perfect for you." With that he turned the truck around. " What are you doing?!!" I shouted.
" I'm gonna go buy me a horse. You stay in the truck. I'm about to do some horse trading."



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Texas, United States
Wife, mom, sister, friend, seeker, mystic

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