This is not happening – please do not go out onto the road.

Any guesses as to what happened?  On Tuesday of this past week I was grazing Colby after hosing her off after a superb school.  We were ready – more than ready for our outing at Will O Wind Farm .

I was pumped.  She had xc schooled with ease the week before, was getting more rideable throughout stadium and was finally understanding flexion and bending and softness in the Sandbox.  She had never felt more confident and sure of what I was asking her to do.  We had never felt more ready for anything in my life.

Keeping in the back of my mind that when Will O Wind went well – we WOULD be bumping up and I would finally be able to get out of Entry level. (It has been 5 years since I have ridden above Entry – due to a sequence of unfortunate events which of course had the best timing pertaining to my riding and my horses.)

She got caught up in a hose, scared herself, backed up suddenly and then I watched in horror as the lead rope slipped right out of my – in what I swear was slow motion – and watched her take off across the parking lot at a dead run.  Oh. My. Freakin’. (For the record, I did not use the word ‘freakin’.) God.  She stepped on the lead rope, did a face plant, skidded across the gravel parking lot, got up immediately, high tailed it back towards the barn and I watched her shoe go flying.  I took off after her and felt like I was going to be sick.  I found her cowering in a stall breathing hard and shaking….and there was blood gushing from her hind left leg.

Two ‘owies’ let’s call them – on her hock and one on her ankle.  All three were bleeding, the one on her ankle was the worst.  Did I mention she was shaking?  Even worse than that, when I found her in the stall, was the look she gave me…it was as though she was saying ‘I’m so sorry mom, please don’t be mad at me.’  Mad?  Seriously?  I was more terrified that she wouldn’t be able to walk!  Luckily, she walked out fine and we left a nice treasure trail of blood to the wash stall.  Road rash.  That is all that was wrong with her…the cuts were not deep at all, but they were gushing.  The one on her ankle was the most concerning and took the most amount of time to stop bleeding.  Bleeding stopped, okay, now what?

I flushed out everything, put some gauze and vet wrap on her owies, wrapped her hind legs, gave her some bute and threw her outside.  Yes, you heard me correctly – threw her outside.  She wasn’t off and I figured since the swelling which I knew was forthcoming hadn’t reared its ugly head yet – I wanted her outside and moving around as opposed to standing stagnant in her stall.  Did I mention that was headed out of town the next morning for two days for work?  Did I also mention I had an event in 4 days from when this happened?

While away, there was a series of text message between myself, my barn owner and my coach which we could easily turn into a 50 page manuscript for a short story.  ‘Is there swelling yet?’, ‘How is she?’, ‘There is puss…maybe we should do an iodine flush’, ‘Do we need to get some penicillin?’, ‘She is trotting out okay – no lameness, but the swelling is still at her ankle’, ‘Top two owies look great, the one on her ankle is oozing some yellow stuff that looks like puss…doesn’t smell like infection though.’, “Don’t give up on Saturday yet – she might surprise you’…you get my drift.

When I got back on Thursday evening, I immediately went to the barn to check on her.  She was outside happily grazing.  I could see the swelling in her ankle right away.  When I trotted her out, she was moving fine…but, I knew I couldn’t ask her to run Saturday with her ankle looking the way it did.  Could you imagine if something happened that caused further aggravation while her owies were well on their way to healing??  I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.  I called the Event organizer from the barn and let them know that I would more than likely be withdrawing Colby from their event and would let them know either way before the end of day Friday as to what the decision was.

Yesterday morning, I went to the barn before work to cold hose and treat her owies.  I watched her move, watched her trot, scrutinized her every move.  She was 100% sound.  But, there was still swelling around her ankle which tells me there is probably still a little bit of inflection trying to work its way out.  My heart sank.  I spared the theatrics and emailed the organizer at 8:30 yesterday morning to let them know I was going withdraw her from the event.  The $207 I lost on the entry fee is not worth the risk of doing anything which could potentially harm her in any way.  Colby is worth her weight in gold to me – plus some – and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself over a selfish decision to run her when she isn’t feeling her absolute best.

I am not going to lie:  it is extremely frustrating and extremely disheartening to watch my friends bumping up through the levels with success and confidence, while I remain stuck at Entry.  Especially when I know we are both ready for more.   One person who was going Entry 5 years ago with me  – is bumping up to Intermediate this weekend.  Colby’s older and uglier brother, is running his first Prelim on Sunday.  I’m jealous – and hate them both little bit right now.  (Well, not really…but sort of..)

I want to have a hissy fit.  You know the whole stamp your foot and have a temper tantrum like a kid act?  Yeah, I totally feel like doing that, because it is totally not fair.  I feel as though I have had more heartbreak than triumph with Colby and it makes me want to say ‘forget it, I am done with this’ because we work so hard, yet always seem to miss the mark.  Yeees, while I understand in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t that big a deal and it could have been a lot worse than how it turned out – come on!  There always seems to be something that goes wrong right before a show.  That is the way of it though isn’t it?  Sometimes drinking, swearing and breaking stuff is the only way I can make myself feel better…

So, after I am done drinking, swearing and breaking stuff – we will re-group and try again…because when it all comes down to it, Colby comes first.  No matter what.