Sunday, August 28, 2011

Silver Bullets

Last week Eddie's vet came out to see him and check on his progress. He took some x-rays and found out Eddie damaged another joint in his lower leg -- the pastern joint -- when he fractured the coffin bone. The fracture has healed well, but there is arthritis in the pastern joint. Not a good situation. Allowed to progress, it could make him permanently lame. The course of treatment involved injecting both the coffin joint and the pastern joint with steroids. The injections aren't a silver bullet -- Eddie isn't magically (or chemically) healed, but they help limit or arrest the progress of the arthritis.

The good news is that rehab is continuing. We've been allowed to trot -- in a very restricted way -- and although there's some limping in the turns to the left, he seems to be improving bit by bit. We are proceeding very conservatively since, as Eddie's vet says, he's being asked to use parts of his body he hasn't used in about a year.

The rest of the good news is that Eddie is very pleased. He's delighted to show me how good he can be.

However, we still have a long way to go, and the ultimate outcome is still up for grabs.

Isn't that the way progress is usually made? Step-by-step persistence, even when the road looks unbearably long and rough. It's like Woody Allen's famous statement, "80% of success is just showing up." The other 20% is willingness to follow instruction and advice, talent, acquired skill, help from others, and anything else that makes up the mix of what is required to achieve your goal.

Regardless of the goal -- whether it be horse-rehab, writing my next book, or weeding the garden -- I need to remember not to put more mental emphasis on the 20% than the 80%.

I will keep showing up.

I will not quit before I reach my goal.

It's pretty obvious Eddie plans on showing up, too.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Riding Eddie

It's been about a month since the vet told me Eddie could be ridden -- at the walk only, and for a few minutes at a time. I'd been gazing longingly at that strong back since I'd been allowed to hand walk him and wondering if and when I'd be permitted up there. I have to admit, I intended to blog about the experience when it happened but, as most writers know, when emotion hits you it's a little hard to share the experience in any reasonably coherent manner right off the bat.

My husband went to the barn with me, camera in hand. The barn owner, my friend Stacey, was in attendance as well. I'm pretty certain both of them were a little worried about how Eddie might react when I swung a leg over his back. After all, the last time I rode him was October 2010. Even the vet warned me not to get bucked off.

Reins in hand, I stepped into the stirrup from the mounting block, settled into the saddle and … Eddie moved forward as if the confinement of the last nine months had never happened, as if he'd had his usual work-out yesterday, as if he expected me there on his back. He went to work, striding forward solid and strong.

We made it three quarters of the way around the arena before I started to cry.

Even my husband forgot to take pictures.

Next week we may be permitted to trot. I'm fairly certain I won't be crying, but I sure as heck will be grinning.

Here's a picture from a year ago

"I am strong when I am on your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be." 
--Brendan Graham, Rolf Lovland