Life seems to have a funny way of biting you in the arse when you say out loud what your future plans are. Especially when you have horses.
Want to do that jumping day? Horse get’s an abscess.
Want to head to a horse trials? Think again. At least for me, anyway.
*Actual footage of me in these scenarios
The ever so aptly named “Disaster” was my horse prior to Snitzel and lord did I love him. But, he was always getting himself into trouble – like the time he attempted to jump out of the paddock and lacerated two of his legs… Old mate ended up in the box for a month with stitches and the Riverina Showjumping Champs passed us by.
This was one of the countless I experienced whilst being owned by him and we missed more things then we participated in.
He was always good for a laugh though.
So naturally, the idea of me putting all my little hopes and dreams down into a blog that nobody is following had cataclysmic consequences and things fell apart in August when Snitzel went lame. And the thing is, he never recovered.
By December I had two options, keep him locked in a box and yard for the rest of his life in the hopes it would save him, or have him put to sleep.
Seeing as Crumb had been boxed for the three months prior with devastating effects on his mental health and no signs of improvement it didn’t really feel like much of a choice at all. Especially considering as a just turned 5 year old, his life in the box would be a long one.
Crumb and I said goodbye on April 7th.
The loss had me completely shaken. Because, the thing is, we both fought so hard and I learnt sometimes that just isn’t enough. You can do everything, by the book and to the letter, and it doesn’t work. Your left constantly asking yourself what you missed and in two weeks time I will hopefully be able to fully update you all (aka nobody) on the entire scope of Snitzel’s story. It’s a good’n!
What was hard, though, was the fact that Snitzel’s poor health came at the same time as the decline of my old mare Tai, who I had owned for 11 years, and my beautiful Disaster. I had said goodbye to them in November and still hadn’t healed. I still haven’t.
I think this concept of healing is a myth quite honestly.
So. to say I felt broken… yeah. Understatement.
The question that I had to face after this was what next? I had just lost 3 horses all at once and had been struck with an incredibly big financial blow. Not just from all the vet bills I incurred trying to fix him, or the special handmade shoes he was kitted out with every four weeks, but the money used to purchase him was no small fee. In fact, it was everything I had.
When I bought him I put up more money then I ever had before because I believed I was investing in my future as a rider and eventer and I was left with nothing but bills and pain.
For a while I truly believed I was done.
I attempted to find joy in things I had never before had the full scope of time to commit to, like sleeping in and going to the gym (note to self: not all that enjoyable no matter how much time you have).
Every Monday I tried to avoid my Facebook account, knowing I was going to be spammed with photos of everyone’s weekends away competing, which felt like scrolling through a wall of slaps and backhands.
Insert existential crisis and questions such as:
- Why can’t this be me?
- Why is it so easy for everyone else?
- Other useless whinging sentiments etc.
With much trepidation, I decided to put my toe in the water and see what was out in the market in my price range (and my new ridiculously high standards). The response was nearly overwhelming but nothing I saw made me think “that’s the one”.
Amidst the inundation of horse’s being brought to my attention by the horse community -honestly, the Aussie horse community is a good one. The support from virtual strangers in my search for a new compadre was unbelievable – I received a message from an old friend and instructor.
The same old instructor who blessed me with Tai, my beautiful old mare I had lost. And thus began the reign of…