My horse is an idiot and other tales

Monday, April 20, 2015

After being wracked with guilt for a week and thinking that I broke my horse, the vet examined and x-rayed him with the following result: everyone stop feeling bad for him immediately.  He deserves none of your pity.  The bone formations that we’ve been feeling in his feet have actually been caused by him kicking the walls of his stall when he’s inside, so hard that he had fractured a bone in his leg at one point.

After the typical jaw drop I get as a reaction, the most common question I’m asked is: why is Ryon kicking the walls?  The short answer is because he’s a jerk and hates his horse neighbors on all three sides.  He actually dislikes most horses, grey ones particularly; I honestly think he sees them as competition for his food.  I also think the reason why he was 200 pounds overweight when I first got him was because he bullied the other horses he was pastured with and ate all of their food.

Although there is no cure for the current formations in his feet, luckily there are preventative measures we can take.  The current proposed solution to curbing his kicking habit is by hobbling him when he’s inside to prevent him from kicking more (or until he learns that kicking causes negative consequences for him).  So even though it seems cruel and unusual to restrain his feet when he’s in his stall, the alternative is for him to continue breaking off pieces of his bone and developing arthritis at the ripe old age of nine.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been easing him back into a light workload, riding him bareback and generally letting him relax and chill out a little bit.  This week, I should be able to ride him normally, although a bareback ride might become part of our regular routine now.  I’ve bought aforementioned hobbles from Amazon (where else?) and hopefully no one will confuse them for S&M props, having suffered enough embarrassment at the hooves of this animal already.

Just now

Friday, April 10, 2015

Today, absurdity reigns, sleep eludes me, and maybe we’ll all live off of caffeine and fumes for a few more days.  Cold brew coffee, please, since it’s getting warmer out.  Bottles, cans, jars of it lining my refrigerator, alongside the endless beer stash.  A cocker spaniel lays in a warm spot of sunshine in a Vietnamese restaurant, hanging out while his owner drinks a cafe su da.

Your hair up makes you look older, she murmurs.  You haven’t changed since college, he observes.

We’re feeling a bit stiff - me and Ryon (as previously mentioned and thank you for all the well wishes).  My shoulders are sore, my back and neck ache.  Old age catching up to me or just the additional weight of things that are unknown and out of control?  Baggage weighs heavily, whether I acknowledge it or not.

In the late afternoon, she toddles further and faster from her parents, lounging on a plaid picnic blanket.  She glances back at them while they give her a thumbs up and laugh.

The mosquitoes are out in full force, hunting for fresh blood.  My legs show the evidence of their hunger, puffed red bumps.  Also, I’m already rocking an awkward farmer’s tan, complete with a horribly lobster-red neck - perfect.

The full pink moon gleams one night but is veiled the next.  All good little werewolves remain at home - only drug addicts and murderers are out and about.  It rains all weekend and I splash in every puddle.

Ryon update

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hi my dears,

I just wanted to give you a quick update on our favourite four-legged disaster.  Ryon's been feeling a bit stiff on his right-hand side and my trainer hypothesizes that it might be ringbone, which is a degenerative bone disorder in his legs.  He has calcium deposits that we can actually feel on both of his feet on the right side.  The vet is coming out to check him out on Friday this week, and my trainer and I are keeping our fingers crossed that the condition could be slowed or stopped with the correct treatment.  My boy did so great on the jumper course today and you can tell how excited he gets about it; I would hate to have to retire him from that when he clearly enjoys the challenge so much.  Until then, we're slowing his workouts down a bit and working on widening his tiny tiny feet.  I'll be sure to keep y'all posted as I know more.



All of the things lately

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Upgrading my “everyday carry” - Wikipedia defines everyday carry as “a small collection of tools, equipment and supplies that are carried on a daily basis to assist in tackling situations ranging from the mundane to the disastrous.”  As an fully-functional (okay maybe semi-functional) adult, I’m not quite sure why its taken me so long to realize that there is no reason for me to lug around all the extra cards, coins, and four different types of lip balm.  Is it really necessary to carry enough painkillers to knock out a baby elephant?  I’ve never been a big purse girl and I’m going to challenge myself to see how much I can downsize in what I carry.  So far my list of essentials has been pared down to include some credit cards / ID / cash, phone, a journal, a pen, a stick of chapstick, and a knife.  What do y’all think?  Anything I’m leaving out?

The simple life - With what seemed like the first nice day of spring, I ditched work early-ish and walked around outdoors on Monday evening for around two hours before the sun went down.  It felt so good to be outside without layering up.  Of course, after a long, bright afternoon trail ride this weekend, I’m now baked in true lobster fashion with an awkward sunburn on my chest and face.  Par for the course for the summertime in Texas.  Ryon and I were surrounded by clouds of mosquitoes in the middle of the afternoon so there’s also that pleasant seasonal plague.  Can’t win them all..

Low carbing it - On week two, I’ve modified the cleanse somewhat because honestly, no one needs to deal with two weeks of unpleasant Rooth.  This past week, I added in complex carbs like sweet potatoes and oats with some cheat bittersweet chocolate thrown in the mix in the evenings.  I’ve also been surviving off of jars (upon jars) of almond butter.  Dipped in celery, I think I could subsist off of that alone.  Mid-week, I had a momentary lapse of judgment and ate a single slice of whole wheat bread which my stomach proceeded to thrash around violently for the next few hours.  It could have been the bread or perhaps the four cups of coffee I drank that morning, I mean who’s to say.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about getting back to a more “normal” diet next week.  It’s been a fun experiment and made me more in tune with what my body tells me about what it wants.  I do need to add more protein to my diet and perhaps it isn’t the worst thing in the world to listen to my body when it asks for bread and fruit under stressful conditions.  

Permission to live life - And write about it later.  There’s a whole lot of life going on right now and my blog posting has petered down to one pitiful post per week.  I know I’m not the only blogger struggling with balancing “real life” with keeping this space updated and refreshed.  I also feel a twinge of guilt / regret when I receive emails from people who are checking in to see if I’m still in the land of the living.  Rest assured that I’m still here and I’ll be updating y’all as often as I can manage.  I’ll figure it all out eventually and it’ll be a work in progress until then.  Thank you for your patience and permission.

Spring cleaning

Friday, March 20, 2015

System purge and flush.  This week I have been participating in a metabolic/insulin cleanse, a kind of reset / spring cleaning for my body, particularly after the rough time it had in February.  The past few days (and next few days) are all about protein and green vegetables and no carbs or sugar.  Those of you who know me know that I don’t typically eat badly - my diet (I also hate the word “diet”) during the week is mainly vegan.  I can’t remember the last time I ate a hamburger or slice of pizza and I promise I’m not even sad about it (and the last time I had fully loaded nachos was only three weeks ago so there’s also that).  Since my parents have been vegetarian ever since we were young children, eating this much pure protein, with very little added fat in the rest of my diet, is a new experience for me and befuddling for my body.

The cleanse in and of itself is not a difficult one as there is no quantity limitation.  If one prepared all allowed food in advance, it could be very straight forward and easy to stick to.  The trick, as with it is in life, is to avoid opportunities for slipping up.  At home, I’m in a controlled environment.  There are no random French baguettes or almond croissants lying around, beckoning me with their flakiness.  All of the rogue Swedish fish have been disposed of properly.  However, in the office, temptation lies around every corner.  It’s painful to visit sites like or, which I usually frequent daily for recipe ideas.  Glass cut bowls of dark chocolate and clementines are perched on the admin’s desk.  Brownies and cookies and potato chips (let’s not even talk about the pasta) were catered in for lunch today.  I have even successfully avoided alcohol during a happy hour this week - it’s like I don’t even know myself anymore.

So far, the biggest surprise of this cleanse was how irrationally angry I felt, especially during the first few days.  Lack of carbs and fat made me extremely irritable and impatient with the entire world, whilst at work, driving, and even casual conversations with people.  Of course once you let people know that you’re on a cleanse, they understand the change in mood, nod their heads understandably, and give you their own rendition of a similar experience.  It’s as though the cleanse is of negative feelings instead of the toxins in your body - they all just need to get out.

I’ve been able to add fats to my diet and feel so much better about it.  And when you add in the eggs and bacon and turkey meatloaf that JR has cooked, I quite feel like I’m eating regularly again.  But if a stranger on the street offered me a loaf of bread right now, I think I would gladly jump into their unmarked, windowless van.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Whether it was racing down powdery slopes, face planting in a snow bank, or relaxing by a raging fireplace with an ice cold beer, I quickly realized that the recurring theme behind my ski vacation a few weeks ago was that I need to take more vacation.  The last (and only) trip I took in 2014 was to visit Siri in Portland, which also made me recognize how imbalanced my life had become in the past year.  Don't get me wrong, I had a blast visiting PDX and my sister.  It's just that last year, my life became much more defined by others as sister, daughter, caretaker, as it sometimes must.  Even the break from Ryon, which I'm always hesitant to take, was necessary as we were both starting to grate on each other, feeding off of one another's negative energy.

The trip to Utah served as a mental reset.  It wasn't a family trip based on someone's health condition.  It wasn't a work trip that had me running here and there and suiting up to meet with Tom, Dick, and Harry.  It was quiet and cold and snowing and all those zen-like feelings you get from being perched atop a mountain.  And speaking of the mountains, they will always remind me of how minuscule I really am, how we only try to survive and thrive at the whims of nature, and how eons will pass and those snow peaked mammoths will endure, cold and silent.  As an added bonus, laughter, shenanigans, and hot and cold alcoholic beverages served slope-side accompanied by the warmth of friends served as a balm to my soul that I didn't even know I needed up to that point.

I will endeavor to remember this lesson better in 2015 (y'all hold me to it) and recognize when I need to take a deep breath and a step back, to enjoy myself and the ride, and to reset.

Ides of March

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

And straight away into March we gallop.  Which I still can’t believe, particularly when it’s in the mid-30s and we have freezing rain / sleet tonight and tomorrow morning.  Winter is hitting Texas (and the rest of the country, I’m sure) with a POW and doesn’t show signs of letting up.  Last week, while I was frolicking on the ski slopes in Utah, Dallas had its own freak snowstorm that snarled up the highways and made the overpasses and bridges into gigantic slip and slides.  I’ll admit, I didn’t regret missing the Texas snowstorm in lieu of a roaring fire and a warm hand to hold after a long day on skis in Park City.

With all the travel that I’ve been doing in February, I’ve had less time to spend at the barn this month, which is probably a good thing as the horses have been acting up with the extended cold spell.  They’re growing tired of being cooped up in their stalls and their blankets rubbing on their shoulders and backs - who can blame them as we feel the same with our bulky puffy jackets and scarves that have long outgrown their novelty.  This past weekend, Ryon nailed our groom on the thigh with a well-aimed kick whilst heading back to his stall for dinnertime and will now be led everywhere with a chain over his nose, as one does with young racehorses.  He’s always been so food motivated that his eagerness to get to his food bowl does not surprise me much but his aggression toward people does, particularly those who he is familiar and accustomed to.  Ryon’s never acted aggressive or mean toward me, but I’ve heard multiple stories about how he’s kicked out at others in the barn.  Luckily, no one has gotten seriously injured but the possibility is there especially as large as he is, hence the chain on the nose.

For now, we’re all just focused on staying warm and dry and staying away from Ryon’s hind end.  If we can manage to do those two things, I think we’ll hit springtime just fine.

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