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A good start to the week (yeah of course it’s about equines)

This week has started well. Sunday I went and rode Melly while my friend walked alongside. I was still a bit nervous of Mel (being on her back) after that unstoppable canter episode, so i asked my friend to take a leadrope and if at any point she thought I wasn’t in control, just to grab the reins! Of course Mel was a little angel ( after perfunctory dancing around while tacking up). I took her a few circles in the field before we headed out (as she was totally not listening to me to start with!) I wasn’t going through the gate until we walked and trotted when I asked, not just when madam felt like it!
We had a lovely hack, trotting here and there and we have found a new place to canter around the edge of a large field…so, instead of my usual giving proper commands for canter, I just gave her the reins and said ‘go on then’ and off we went, four sides if the field cantered (naturally she trotted the corners cos, yknow, it’s hard work cantering on a bend….and had to stop to sort out a stirrup issue ( new boots, not quite used to them) but that pony definitely enjoyed tearing around that field. The day before she had been ridden to the same place but wasn’t keen to canter. She must have been storing it up for me.:-)
Friend said we both looked so beautiful together she wanted to take a photo, but we were too quick, and she too slow. ( had I known I’d have taken Mel on another blast because for once I was apparently not leaning forward (or adopting a two point seat) and actually rode like a dressage test. I’ve not seen myself ride for very many years (school used to have a walk of mirrors) so I’m more than curious to see what horrible mistakes etc I am making! No pictures this week. I am really glad for my friend that Mel is taking the loss of Casper well. She looked for him in his stable for a few days but doesn’t seem too sad or nervous, but as soon as possible a new companion will be found so that she doesn’t get territorial or lonely. In fact, I think this week we will go and meet buster (one of Caspers old friends from the school he came from) who is up for semi retirement loan. Fingers crossed he’s a good natured beastie with many months if not years of health left in his tank.

Striving hard to spite myself

One day last week I thought was unequivocally a bad day. Not just a bit rubbish but downright unfairly, unacceptably crappy and depressing. It was one of those days that genuinely have you questioning why you hauled your ass out of bed, or indeed, whether you actually did was this all some horrible mundane dream? Just one of those days where nothing is going to go right, no matter how hard you try. Bad things coming not in threes but rather in the dozen..

now to bemoan my lot (though honestly, looking at the weather conditions that others are having to deal with recently, these are very much small fry.

  • Upon waking I realised I had contracted SO’s cold
  • On the way to work I was yelled at (by a colleague!) to get out of his way!
  • I was running a couple of mins late for a meeting when I got distracted by another colleague and my boss caught us chatting when I should have been in the meeting…
  • In the meeting I failed to comprehend a fairly simple hypothesis and looked entirely gormless
  • After the meeting, boss snuck off to a secret seminar that another group in the unit knew all about – so they all went and I could not so missed out
  • While cleaning my bench I stabbed myself with a hypodermic (dirty) that I had re-sheathed the day before, but it had bent around and pierced the sheath (and them my glove and finger)
  • When transferring precious purified protein from one receptical to another, I ommited to check the security of the transfer vessel and deposited 2/3 of the protein on my bench.
  • I lunched alone
  • The machine I was using was being stupid, so I had to spend ages in the cold room (4c)
  • shortly into my cycle home I discovered I had a puncture and had to return to the lab to change inner tube
  • I broke a nail fixing bike
  • when I got home I was yelled at

BUT somehow I managed not to let all of these things get to me, I chose instead, to see that things could have been a good deal worse and I was grateful for that.

  • A cold is a very minor ailment, quickly fixed, other have to suffer chronic conditions
  • At least he yelled and didn’t crash into me (how embarrassing would THAT be!)
  • At least it looked like I had an excuse for being late
  • At least I didn’t pretend to understand, this way, despite looking dumb, I got an explanation and understood…eventually
  • turns out boss thought the seminar was private so she wasn’t purposefully hiding it from us..
  • H & S said that i was not at risk as luckily the contamination was a defined source and not a high risk
  • Somehow I managed to get enough sample at the end (just) for what I needed
  • eating alone is faster
  • I was able to fix the machine
  • I was able to change my inner tube unaided
  • nails grow back.
  • Grrrrrr

The following days have posed more upsetting events, such as the loss of Casper. I didn’t find out for sure until last night that he’d been put to sleep on Wed afternoon. There was this part of me hoping that he’d made an amazing recovery and it has been undecided and he’d still be running around full of life but . no. He has appeared lively and healthier the two days before the event, even managing to buck and canter!! making my friend question if the right decision had been made, but when he was led into the trailer to depart he collapsed and could not get up. My poor friend had to see him struggling and grounded even before the vet went near him, but at least now we know that it was definitely the right choice, as the poor boy could have collapsed in the field alone, or in his stable, and could not have been found for hours. Obviously I am very upset to hear that Casper is no longer with us, but the most upsetting thing is knowing that he actually must have suffered in his collapse and trying to get up again. At least he didn’t have long before the end. My friend was too distraught and crying too much to tell me about it until I asked yesterday evening, and she was clearly trying to minimise my upset. After hearing the news, I was offered a hug from SO, which I accepted, but then he said to me in a patronizing voice “Do you want to cry? you can if you want to” to which I responded that I did NOT need his fucking permission to cry thankyouverymuch. I was then accused of being a spoilt little bitch. So I did the only thing I could – I went and bawled my eyes out in the bathroom, then apologised for being so horrible.

Amazing how difficult it is to eat when you are tearful. Honestly, it’s like you entire body has forgotten how to put food in mouth, chew and swallow.

Other annoying things have also gone wrong; bike gears, kitchen taps, work stuff, forgotten meds, forgotten pills and today I really didn’t  want to get out of bed. I can’t wait for this week to be over.

I will end on a positive note.

I have now been discharged from dietetics as being healthy with regard to food attitudes / weight / food intake so now in all respects am officially in no way eating disordered. I am glad to have shrugged off the burden of that label. It is possible to totally recover from anorexia.


Gallop free into the infinite, Casper


The news
I am so sad to tell that Casper will be put to sleep this week. He’s been an amazing companion for Mel, educational and affectionate to his humans and I’m so glad we were able to share these months of retirement and joy with him. I know it is the right decision to have been made, he is deteriorating badly and at 30 years old, it would be unfair to put him through tests and transport and scans and treatment when it’s honestly his time to rest after all his hard work on our earth. I’m gonna miss his wise face, gentle mannerisms and ponderous presence.

Saying goodbye.
I cannot (physically or emotionally) be present during the euthanasia, so i went to say my goodbyes this morning. When we arrived he didn’t have his head over the stable door like usual do we all three held our breaths until we saw him swing around into view. He had barely touched his overnight hay.
I told him I’d miss him and thanked him for his company and for being such a lovely boy. I gave him a pear ( that he promptly spat out and pulled a face at ( I was then mugged by Melly as she couldn’t get enough of pears!) Then gave him some of his old fave xstrong mints. I gave him a cuddle, a head rub and watched him canter (albeit awkwardly) into the field. And that’s how I want to remember him. I can go and see him again tonight in theory but in actual fact I would rather not. I would find it very hard if he was zoned out and stumbling again.

Run free my friend, and know that we are letting you go not because we don’t want you around, but because we don’t want you to suffer.

Driving despite the fear

I have now completed 4 hours of driving lessons (years post test) and not once did the instructor require the dual control pedals! Not only this but I did not get flustered or panicky once, and was told there was nothing wrong with my driving that calm environment in the car, starting off during quiet times, and just building my confidence wouldn’t fix. Woohoo!
Well ok, about the panicking thing. Okay, so i had some epic anxiety in the morning before the lesson, so bad that I suspected migraine until my hands and ears went numb and I knew I was in the grips of irrational panic.SO was good, phoned me during his busy work time to tell me i was just winding myself up and had to go ahead with the lesson regardless ( but maybe warn instructor!). I had no choice but to continue with my lab work, heart pounding, feeling like my head was about to float away from my body, and so I took heather novas glowstars album with me into tissue culture,.and as I concentrated on correct sterile techniques and careful planning, the wash of oceanic noise and sirenesque vocals lulled me back to a state far closer to normality. Green tea and snacks pre lesson assured no dehydration or hypoglycemia, and it was pretty much plain sailing.
This episode makes me wonder of my decision to alter my med dose down was the wisest….although when things are fine, I’m a-ok, when the tiniest thing goes wrong, I fall apart.
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A frightening and concerning horse collapse epidose

Today we wet over to the horses as usual, led them out of the filed to the stable area, tied em up and groomed all their hippo-ness off them. I tried out my fancy new ‘magic brush’ for de-muddying and found it to be excellent. I was so proud of my grooming efforts that I took photos:


awww, all wooly and silky in the wintery sun. Next we tacked up – but he seemed a bit uncomfortable, so i refitted the saddle incase I originally trapped some hairs / flesh or something. I put on the bridle with minimal effort and went to change into my riding togs when he dropped his head, his eyelids drooped and he struck what looked like a lamanitic pose followed by shaking front legs and I thought he was going to collapse. His eyes had just glazed over like no-one was home, but we walked him around a bit and he seemed fine….stood him a little longer to see how he was and again, head lowered, and this time his legs just went from under him and he landed his belly on the concrete. He laid dazed for a few seconds, tried to get up and couldnt, so I comforted him but stroking his face and then he hauled himself back up, very shakily onto his feet. We quickly untacked, rugged him up and coaxed him into the stable where, at least, the floor was softer. He was very out of character, eyes droopy, slow reactions,unsteady on his feet, but he started munching his hay, drank some water and had a wee. 30 mins later we swapped him to an outdoors rug and turned him out to see how he fared. To begin he trotted off fine, grazed and seemed back to normal but gradually he started to get wobbly on his feet, taking tentative steps, tripping more than usual and then just staring blankly into nothingness, gently shifting his weight while trying to stay balanced. I gave both the horses some treats and my friend called Caspers official owner and the vet, both of which believed it to be a case of narcolepsy or sleep depravation. I am so sad and gutted. Regardless if the cause is sleep related or otherwise, a horse that collapses can no longer safely be ridden so no more riding adventures with my silver friend. What comes next is far worse though…the decision of what to do with him, he is probably over 30, cannot be ridden, costs a lot to feed, has troublesome tootsies, needs rugging up in winter and sunscreen in summer and who wants to pay 4-times as much to keep a horse that is unridden than the one that is? Ultimately the owner will decide. We had a bit of a rocky start but myself and Casper have really bonded and I’ll be distraught if he has to be put down (though I know that day has to come eventually). He kept coming to me in the field while I was watching him, wanting a cuddle.
On a positive note, the latest report is that he looks positively chipper…so at least he’s comfortable and happy right now.