For this next blog post I had written down lots of possible ideas, and it turns out this is none of them. 3 weeks ago I had some not so great news about Bumble, something I was expecting to hear, after all I was the one pushing for answers as I believed something wasn’t quite right, 3 vets later someone was finally listening to me and we started getting to the bottom of it, nether the less it still all came as quite a disappointment.
Without boring you with all the details, we went in for a back X-ray to check there were no signs of kissing spine, and thankfully, as I have put a lot of groundwork in to getting him to use his back, he was clear with a lovely open spine. Next the vet watched him on the lunge, and true to form he went disunited within half a circle. This led us to check for PSD, something I have been dreading and trying hard to prevent. A few nerve blocks later and we were ready to lunge, and there was no change, he still went disunited. Although I was over the moon it meant we still were left with more investigations. I mentioned that I had been unhappy with his feet, something I had been trying to get on top of, from birth he has always had unsymmetrical front feet with one being higher in the heel than the other, which I thought was being managed with regular trims. She asked if I wanted X-rays and I agreed. Well the x-rays showed a lot more unbalance than both myself and the vet thought there would be, when they were on screen, side by side, you could so clearly see how out of whack they were, and not just the fronts but the hinds too. Fast forward and he has now got bespoke shoes on all four feet, the huge positive is on the follow up examination he could canter without going disunited! The negatives are that it’s been a huge shock to his system and his body is struggling, he’s got bad locking stifle, he’s tetchy and sore and just not quite his usual self, and a dip in is lumbar/sacroiliac has presented itself which is of huge concern to my osteopathic vet. He’s advised to not ride for the next few weeks and to take it slowly, and if he doesn’t improve we need to do more investigations.
Now you have a bit of back ground information I can move on to the reason I am writing this post, how I am dealing with this set back. I found the each week brought a different emotion. For the first week, I was angry, really angry. Previous to this I had had a run of bad luck with my horses; I ended up having to retire my mare just as we had completed our first year competitions. I was then given a gorgeous dressage horse on loan, he had had a previous injury but had been sound for a few years out in the field, we had just started competing when he his ringbone (an incurable arthritis) made an ugly comeback and it was advised he was put down. Then this with Bumble, waiting 6 years, 6 years of carefully producing him ready for our first year of competition, and it felt like that was all being snatched away from me again. I was angry at the world, why couldn’t it just give me the break I so desperately wanted.
Week two I will be honest, I really struggled, and I did feel really depressed. I started comparing myself to my friends and people I followed on social media, I had such huge self-pity, they all had lovely horses that they were out having fun on and I wasn’t. I can tell you now, social media is a cruel place to be when you are feeling like this. Towards the end of this week, as I was sadly scrolling through my Instagram feed, a little quote piped up.
‘You’re not behind in life, there’s no time table we must follow. It’s made up. What’s early? What’s late? Don’t beat yourself up for where you are. Everyone has their own time, stop comparing. It’s your schedule and everything is right on time.’
This led me on to week 3, where we are now, and its acceptance. Amongst all the worry and anger I had lost what was and is most important thing, and that’s having a happy healthy horse. As long as I know I am trying my hardest to achieve this and know I am doing my best then I need to stop beating myself up and comparing myself to others. I need to treat where we are now as a blank canvas, although I had done lots of ground work, gymnastics, pole work and hill work to create variety in his work and build all the muscles up slowly and carefully, his feet all this time may have been holding him back. Although right now it seems like a huge step back and such a negative experience, maybe, just maybe, it’s going to spring us right forward, I’ve just got to give it time. He’s my first homebred, a horse that will be with me for life, a horse that I want to give a long happy life, with future soundness being my biggest priority. I’ve never wanted to be competing him as a 4 or 5 years old, for him to then breakdown when he’s 10. I need to remind myself I’m not on the same journey as others are, I’m in it for the long run.
So I hope for anyone who is going through something similar, they can take away just these few things. It’s ok to feel all the emotions that I have just gone through, it’s natural, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t compare yourself to others; take a break from social media, although at the time you want to wallow in self-pity, it will only make you feel worse. Just remind yourself why you are in this, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and there is no time limit, it’s made up!
Finally talk! Mental health is so important, no one can understand how you feel unless you tell them, and with things like this it’s so nice to have a little support!