On October 16, 2010 a Dream took a direct hit.
I didn't realize it for a couple of days -- thought it was just another inconvenience in the normal course of events. But it turned out that in wrenching the shoe off his foot, Eddie fractured his coffin bone.
The coffin bone is the "hoof-shaped" bone inside the horse's hoof. Sometimes fractures are minor, and heal with little problem. Eddie's fracture cuts diagonally across the bone and has several secondary branches. It's not a pretty sight. I saw the x-rays, listened to what the vet had to say, and struggled to hold my emotions together.
As Eddie stood quietly cooperating with the endless positioning for x-rays, seeming to know he had to be very still, I watched the dream of building on the art we two had worked years to accomplish blink out. In one unfortunate moment the world shifted in a way I'd never prepared for. There was no going back, no do-overs. What I thought I held so surely in my hands was gone.
Over the days that followed, while I waited for a cast to be put on Eddie's hoof, words from people I barely knew, as well as people I knew well started penetrating that dreadful sense of loss. A small bit of hope began to grow. When Eddie's vet came out to put to put the cast on several days later reality met with a plan, and from that plan some strength and confidence grew. Somewhere around the first of March we will be better able to predict the success of his recovery and the very real possibility of his return to the work we both love.
In the meantime, while he convalesces, I will have other horses to ride and the opportunity to work on improving myself. Eddie's and my journey together may not be over. But should he not recover enough to dance again with me, then at least I will still have my friend and the bond we've developed. I will always cherish what he has so generously given me.
"I am strong when I am on your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be."--Brendan Graham, Rolf Lovland