Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good News

Do you recognize these ears?

This is a very special view of these particular ears because it is a view I didn't think anyone would ever see again.  These are Tessa's ears.  I haven't said much about her lately because I have been feeling very superstitious about her.  Things have been going well and I didn't want to jinx it.  Or perhaps, it has just been such an emotional roller coaster with this mare that I couldn't allow myself to get my hopes up again.

This time last year, I was having very serious thoughts and discussions about putting Tessa down.  I have agonized over whether I should try to breed her with no guarantee that she could carry a foal to term.  I know there are thousands of unwanted horses flooding the market, but I also know just how hard it is to find a good  horse.  And Tessa is an exceptionally good horse.   I was tempted to try breeding her if she couldn't be ridden, but it wasn't what I really wanted.

About a month ago, I decided to send her back to the trainer to see if we could get her going under saddle once again.  Every day, I was expecting to get a call from him telling me she was lame and to come get her.  After a few days, I did get a call and I started thinking again about euthanasia.  However, when I went to visit her we found a twig embedded in the white line of her foot and once it was removed, she moved off sound again.  She has been working well under saddle ever since, wearing a pair of hoof boots to protect her feet.

This afternoon, I rode Tessa myself.  We were out for nearly two hours; up and down hills, through the mud, brush and trees.  She did not put a foot wrong.   

It is hard to say just what this ride meant for me.  There was a time, six or seven years ago, that I actually thought about giving up horses.  If you knew me well, you would know what a profound statement this is, but I had lost the fun of it for a time.  The mare I had been riding for many years was growing too old and arthritic to continue; I had lost my own confidence in a very bad riding wreck.  I was tired of the cruelty and deceit that is so rampant in the horse industry.  It is the ubiquitous parallel to the kindness, love and generosity that are also rampant in the horse world. 

When I stumbled on Tessa, I tried hard to talk myself out of buying her.  She was everything I thought I didn't really want in a horse - a young, untrained, gaited, flashy paint - but there was something about her that just kept nagging at me.  I can recognize quality when I see it, even if it is not what I think I want.

I think though, that I needed to work with a young horse again.  I needed to find out if I still could or if I really should just hang up my boots and take up crochet.  It's a good thing that Tessa turned out to be not just a good horse, but a truly exceptional and fun horse as well because I can't crochet to save my life and I don't really want to. 

Tessa is a good example of why I don't try to make plans any more.  I couldn't plan for her because I never envisioned her.  Once I had her, I couldn't know that she would be so badly damaged in an instant of equine temper.  My efforts to help her heal from her wounds brought Emma into my life and with her, of course, came Ramsey.   I can't help but be grateful for that.  These aren't the kinds of things that one can anticipate or plan for, they just have to be accepted, good or bad.      

Until today, I didn't know if Tessa and I would ever ride together again.  I am glad I didn't give up on her.  I am glad that I didn't listen to some of the experts and put her down.  I am glad I bought a young donkey to keep her company.  I am glad I couldn't have planned any of this.    I couldn't have done it and I would have missed out on a lot.

I don't know exactly where we go from here or what comes next.  I don't know if Tessa will stay sound.  What I do know, is that we had a really nice ride this afternoon and I am looking forward to bringing her home this weekend.


  1. Awww! Such a heartfelt post! I am glad that Tessa is sound and able to carry you again.
    And I do understand some of what you've been through.
    I, too went through major horse injuries with my previous horse and had lost my confidence and love of riding. It wasn't fun anymore.
    Then I found my Apache mare, but after a few months of riding her, she came up lame in her shoulder and it was discovered that she had arthritis in her shoulder. She could barely carry me for a 5 mile trail ride on the flats. I was heartbroken!
    She had given me back my confidence and I knew she was my heart horse.
    I started her on Select Legacy Joint supplement pellets in April of this year, and within 2 months we were riding up and down rugged mountains (after many low-key conditioning rides, of course) and she was feeling good, happy, and strong. This year has been a year filled with some of the best trail rides of my life, and it's all because my mare has a new lease on life. She is truly the wind beneath my wings and I wouldn't want to ride any other horse buy my Apache mare :)

    And I'm so grateful I don't have to.

    And I'm glad you don't have to either :)


  2. I'm so glad you had a nice ride :-). I too have struggled with replacing a perfect old friend. As a new reader to your blog, I'm behind. What happened to Tessa?

  3. A short while ago, there was a subtle hint in one of your posts, and I've been keeping my fingers crossed and looking forward to a post like today's ever since. Then, yesterday's hint just made my heart skip a beat. I am so very happy for you and Tessa, and for how beautifully everything worked out, Emma and Ramsey included.
    Best wishes always,

  4. What happened to Tessa, originally?

  5. A great post... and paen to Tessa!

  6. I'm happy for all of you!


  7. I love this story. I know nothing about horses except what I've learned from you and Carson on your blog. Your delight with Tessa's recovery is catching. I'm very happy for the both of you. Tessa must be very content riding with you again too.

  8. I know the wow you feel! AWESOME! I finally got to take a trail ride on Libby and what a wonderful time we BOTH had! Made up for all the anquish she has caused me lately with trailer loading.

  9. This is such feel-good, wonderful story! You have a great outlook ... things happen for a reason we don't know at the time. Just looked at the photo again, kinda teary eyed now that I know the story. So happy for you and Tessa!

  10. I too know how you feel about the recovery of an old friend & share your experience of the healing power of donkeys.

    I lost my ex-racer out drag hunting at a time when his companion was suffering the worst ever bout of laminitis. I think she went into depression at the loss of her friend & there seemed no prospect of recovery, so I bought Dougie Donk as a replacement companion, with the intention to keep Tammy pony for a couple of weeks to let Dougie settle & then say goodbye.

    The arrival of Dougie seemed to give her an incentive to recover, as she perked up & is still with me 5 years on. I've since found out she has Cushings disease & she is doing well on daily dose of Pergolide!

    I hope Tessa does equally well & you should give Emma & Ramsey a big hug for the part they played :)

    1. I believe that nearly all of the credit for Tessa's recovery goes straight to Emma. The healing power of donkeys is incredible. Tessa gets along very well with Gabe, but I have never seen her happier or more relaxed then when it was just her and Emma.

      I am glad to hear your mare is doing so well. I hope you have many more years together.