This blog is about my life, a 31 yr old filly; working in the city, balancing her career, passion for horses, dogs, and the life they deserve. Following my dreams, and getting there takes a lot of patience and a sense of humour. This is my take on life, and the amazing and stupid things in it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When They Talk - Listen

  Sometimes I really annoy myself.  Sometimes I really let myself down.  Sometimes I wish I could go back and change what I have done, but we all know you can't do that.  That is life.  Learning from bad decisions.  Growing from mistakes.  The most annoying thing is when you do something and you know you should have known better,  but you did it anyway.  I can beat myself up for days over these things.

  Since our last event, maybe even a little before that, Penny has been not wanting to accept the contact.  She has never really accepted it, but with each ride she gets fussier and fussier.  She is great over fences because I don't touch her mouth at all, only through half halts.  These past few weeks have been really trying.  At the canter Penny has been an absolute nightmare.  Grabbing the bit, running off, throwing her head in the air, and the other day she actually bolted on me and zipped around the arena a few times before I could stop her.  She is never like that.  This was after an already very frustrating ride.  I will admit something I am not proud of - I lost my temper.  When I was finally able to pull her up, I reached my arm out and smacked her upside the head.  I'm embarrassed to even admit this.  I don't know why I am even sharing this.  But it happened.

  Then, I realized what I done and just unmounted.  Then, I started to cry.  I never hit my horses.  I never lose my temper.  I guess I can't say that anymore because it happened, and I did.  I just took Penny's bridle off and hugged her and said I was sorry.  I don't deserve this beautiful horse and she clearly hates me.  I can't ride her for shit and now all I want to do is have a pity party and cry all night.  I have never in my life felt so guilt ridden as that night.  I took Penny back to the barn and gave her a good brush, a rub down, and wrapped her legs.  She worked really hard.  It was more like a fight.  I fed her her dinner and added some bute in case she was sore from the work.  Maybe she was sore in general.  Maybe that's why she is so unwilling right now. Maybe I smacked my sore horse who was trying to tell me something. Wow, I'm a horrible person.

  A few weeks ago I checked her mouth after reading the judges comments -"horse is extremely unhappy in the mouth".  Her edges were O.K but I noticed this strange edge of her upper right molar - it looked like a hook but it was almost like a new tooth growing.  It was very very tiny.  It was poking out the side but just barely.  I did a little research but got no where and figured it must be a wolf tooth that was late coming in.  I thought this might be what was bothering her, or maybe she was in pain in her hind end.  Could be the mouth, could be the hocks, could be anything really.  Could be her just being a red headed Thoroughbred mare.

this is how we entered the ring - not happy at all

  Yesterday, still feeling blue about my actions, I was talking to my sister and telling her about Penny.  She mentioned my vet was already heading to my moms (she works for him) and I should have him swing by after to check on Penny on his way back.  What perfect timing.  She set it up for me and after work he came by.  He looked at Pennys mouth and commented that it sure was strange.  It looked as though a sliver of tooth had somehow been embedded in her gums for quite some time and was now making its way to the surface.  We figure the tooth either fell out, or broke off several years ago.  Ever since it has been buried deep in her gum line right where the bit spot is.  Slowly making its way out.

sleepy girl after extraction

tooth splinter - the bane of our existence?

   The vet explained this would cause significant nerve pain, and that this is probably why throughout all her training with me and before me she has had issues with flat work and accepting the bit.  With a little happy juice, a needle in the gums, he was able to extract the tooth splinter.  The entire procedure took under 5 minutes.  Her mouth should heal in a week and I will be able to start riding again.  Only then will I know if that has been the issue all along.  If she isn't better then we will do a full lameness exam with X Rays...but something in me tells me this was it.  

 I had a feeling it was pain related a long time ago, but I ignored it.  I ignored it to the point where I got so upset and frustrated that I lashed out and hit my horse.  This is truly unacceptable in my eyes.  I know I'm not perfect, and it's these instances that remind me that I am still just human.  I need to try harder though, for my horses.  I'm sorry Penny.  I'm sorry I ignored the signals.  I'm sorry I took it out on you.  I'm sorry I didn't understand, or chose to ignore.  It won't happen again.  I will not ignore what my horse is saying to me.  This is a promise.

 This is a promise I can't ever break.


  1. It's okay :/ I know that feeling of completely losing my cool, but the good news is our horses are really good at forgiving us. I'm sure Penny feels much better now and you can put this behind you!

  2. I admire your honesty. We all make mistakes, and we all get frustrated. I admit to losing my temper with my horse (threw the lunge whip at him while yelling at the top of my lungs - so embarrassing. I felt absolutely terrible afterwards.

    The important thing is how you proceed. The fact that you decided to check into her comfort, instead of tying her head down, or throwing a severe bit in her mouth says volumes.

  3. Kudos to you for posting about this so honestly. I think most if us have been there at some point. We are all told to be the "lead mare" and not let our horses call the shots, yet at the same time, sometimes they have legit things to tell us and they tell us through acting out. How are we to know which is which? Only by instinct/intuition and really knowing our horse, I guess. It is a very fine line that we have to draw and I think it is very admirable to admit you might have been wrong and move forward. :-)

  4. Good for you keeping it real. I think many of us have been there, I know I have. Sounds like you two will be able to enjoy moving forward with the tooth gone. Just be sure to forgive yourself so you don't bring guilt to your rides, I'm sure she has moved on, horses are amazing that way.

  5. Awh, I'm sorry that you had to go through that but seriously, major props for being real and honest. I've definitely been there with Red and it made me feel like trash afterwards but we're human and we're fallible, everyone's been there. Horse's don't hold grudges, like Redheadlins said ^^^ they're pretty amazing that way.

  6. Wow! thanks for the honesty I'm sure that can't have been easy. That is crazy about the tooth!

  7. fingers crossed that the tooth was the root of the problem.

  8. thanks for sharing this - like others said, we've all been there (i sure have... and it's not fun), but your point about looking deeper and *listening* is so critical and worth hearing over and over again. fingers crossed that this procedure helps alleviate some of her mouth issues!

  9. We've all been there and it sucks. I felt horrible when I lost my temper trying to get Archie to cross a creek and the times I've had to force him on a trailer. Thankfully, these animals are better than us and forgive.

    Hope the tooth extraction is the root of your problems!

  10. I think Laura's comment says it best. We've all been there, and we also all know you mean the best for your horses. We've all learned lessons like this, and kudos for sharing it so honestly.

  11. When you are honest good things can happen. Horses have a different way of communicating and it is not always easy to understand.

  12. All any one of us can do is our best, don't beat yourself up. Hope Penny's mouth feels awesome soon! :)

  13. Those frustrated moments happen to the best of us- it's the acknowledgement that keeps moving forward. And I'm glad there's something that (hopefully) was the "root" of the issue.

  14. Yes, I think this has happened to all of us at one time or another. Hope that was the problem and Penny is no longer in pain.


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