Sunday, May 23, 2010

Avoiding the blues

It's day seven of Caesar's lameness. I'm making my best effort to stay positive and upbeat rather than couple his lameness with my depression. I tend to be a pretty intense person, and if something isn't going well for me, say work or a relationship, I let it trickle down and through the rest of my life; I'm sort of a sponge that way. Before becoming a horse owner, I had managed to overcome this weakness pretty well, or at least I acquired the tools to keep it in check. But since getting Caesar, I've experienced this circumstance-based moodiness (I really shouldn't go as far as saying it's depression; surely it's not anything clinical) on a whole new level. If he's off, I am off, and all I can think about is how sad that makes me.

We had a really rough patch in the fall, first with him experiencing some chronic lameness issues and then with us having 10 weeks of dreadful rides, mostly my fault. I was sort of a terd that whole time. And since "coming back from the brink", we've been flying high. March, April and the first half of May were fantastic with fun jump schools, productive flat sessions, and relaxing hacks. In the past, I had told myself I had to do a better job of not letting my frustration take over my mind when Caesar was having issues, and here's my test. I actually feel like I am doing a better job this time, but I'm still pretty down and out when I think about it. Riding is extra difficult in this sort of situation, more difficult than most sports. Let's say you are a tennis player and you injure yourself. Of course you will be bummed because you can't play and rehab will be that much harder with a bad attitude. But with a horse, there's another level. When your horse is injured or out of commission, a rider carries both the anxieties and fears that come with caring for a creature/companion and the frustration over not being able to do the thing she loves. For me, riding is my thing, more than a hobby, it's become part of my livelihood. So I am of course heartbroken that I can't ride my horse. This week, I've watched other people's lessons and pretended it's me riding. When I am walking Caesar (about 10-20 minutes a day seems to help) I think about my dressage position and imagine we are leg yielding. On top of that, perhaps more than that, is my worry for Caesar. What if this isn't just a stone bruise or an abscess? What if it is something far more serious? What will happen to him and how will I cope? I know this all may sound selfish to someone who doesn't spend every day thinking about, caring for, and preparing to ride horses. But I think those of you who do get my drift. I want most of all for Caesar to be well but a very close second is my desire to be back in the tack (on him).

I went for a few bikes rides-Thursday, Friday, and today, and while they are no replacement for riding, the rides have been cathartic. I also went for a run today which felt great. I think making a more concerted effort to exercise, especially outside, is the best thing I can do while Caesar is off. Not to mention, I just need to be exercising more in general! Mike competed in a triathlon today, completing the run portion as a relay with two friends. He joked that I did my own little triathlon with my run, bike ride, and mini walk hack on Caesar. He then mentioned that he is thinking about running a marathon for his 30th birthday in January (he was a very competitive xc and track/field athlete, but this would be his first marathon). Maybe if he does that, I will shoot for a half-marathon at the same time. I know many folks who have done one with plenty of walking, which would be necessary for me :)

So really I must say that this weekend was pretty great, especially considering the pony problems. The weather looks to be very nice for the week ahead, and I have a few outings planned with friends which will be great. My friends Nina and Abby will be competing at Waredaca this weekend, and Jen and I are going as their grooms/fanbase. We've planned a cookout as an after party. Even if Caesar is still unsound, I think I'll really enjoy the horse trial, I always do. And then we'll have a family cookout on Monday. Hooray for cookouts! Summer is my favorite time!

I am making the most of my time with Caesar while at the barn. I am practicing my massage techniques (which he loves) and we are continuing to do some hand grazing as well as playing some games on the ground. I think he's really enjoying his "vacation"; he seems very content, and when I went to turn him out the other day, he lingered beside me for several minutes, rubbing his head on my chest. Caesar is not known for being very friendly to humans, especially when he has the option to be with his horse pals. So I was delighted by the fact that he seemed to choose to hang out with me for a little longer.

Hopefully I'll be writing soon about how he is once again sound. I really, really hope so :)

Here are some photos of Topo, who always seems poised for a picture!

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