keeping it real

After close to three weeks, I went to the barn for the first time to see Koda. The steamy, leftover wet weather kept us inside for the most part. It was uneventful, and quiet. I just observed, no handling. Wasn't sure what to expect. It's been so long since I've been there, everything felt odd.

Brad is doing a great job with Koda and coming up with ways to keep things interesting for both of their sake. It's incredibly boring otherwise. Can't imagine what Koda is going through with his dull stalled life. I'm worried about more then his mind, his physique is bulging in places I've never seen before. Guess that happens when you stand around doing nothing 23.5 hours a day, 7 days a week. Food has been adjusted accordingly, he still has to eat and keep his system moving.

Koda's personality hasn't changed, but he looked a bit depressed to me and had to be encouraged to keep pace. Brad got a couple raised ears in key spots, otherwise Koda obliged with what was being asked of him. Of course he is more animated when walked outside, where he usually enjoys his un-jailed time. 

Absolutely love that Brad is mixing things up & giving Koda things to think about! Can't get too active tho, Koda needs to be kept walking calm. Here is a short video of their indoor session walk yesterday...

and some love for a job well done...

Brad & Koda

After that it was outside for a snack, then Nemo & Cierra's time to get a little love too.


changing of the guards

You know those days when you arrive at the barn and everything is off kilter? You can see it the minute you pull in the driveway, and you can certainly feel it when you walk in the barn. 

Hay was being delivered on a semi, tractors were unloading, staff was working double time, feeding was late, horses displaced in the arena & round pen, high energy scattered everywhere. Even the kid lesson horse being walked in from the pasture was set off by the commotion. That should have been my clue, but I didn't feel part of the chaos and carried on with my usual daily lame care routine. Groom, wash rear/legs, walk...and then it happened. I've known all along this whole stall rest thing would be our demise, just based on Koda's personality & our history, but never once in a million years did I think it would be in hand.

I chose to do our 15 minute walk in the outdoor arena, so we would be out of the way. Not one sign of "it" creeping in, or I would have waited to walk Koda. Everything in our routine so far felt normal, honestly wasn't the least bit concerned. We got mid-arena, and everything that happened after that replays in my head (over and over) like a slow motion movie...

Nemo & Charlie (turn out buddy) were about to be brought in. Their pasture borders the far end of the outdoor arena. Charlie was taken out first and instantly got himself in trouble. Koda's ears went on high alert. I reminded Koda he was with me, and tried to continue our daily walk. Nemo started racing the fence and frantically calling out. It was then that we turned around to head out of the arena. Thinking it was best to walk Koda back to his stall and wait for things to settle down. Wish I knew what Nemo was screaming saying behind us...whatever it was, sent Koda into panic.

I wasn't sure if he was going to run me over as we walked out of the arena, at that point I was no longer calm. Koda was about to blow, and he did. Thankfully he waited until we got through the gate. He pulled away fast and hard, rearing up, feet paddling at me, trying to get away, going backwards, as I hung on trying to stop him from taking off and injuring himself further. This happened not once, but twice, all in a nano second. I tried getting him to calm down & graze (yah, right). At this stunned point, I was shaken and knew Koda wasn't coming back to me anytime soon. I could see & feel him thinking about his next evasive move. He wanted to be with Nemo and away from the scary things, including me. My instinct was to face him towards the arena fence to try and calm his elevated madness (no I didn't trap him, I was giving him a boundary).

At that point Charlie had been put away, and I asked the kind employee for help. She saw the whole thing and brought a lead with chain, saying "wow, that was pretty bad"...no arguments there. I asked if she felt okay putting Koda away, my nerves were completely shot. She does his morning walks and led a confused, prancing high off the ground, Koda back to his stall.

What the H just happened? I've never seen Koda act like that, not even as a yearling...

I began putting away my tack, shell shocked, stripped finger dripping blood, as our trainer approached. Let's just say we had words, the kind that don't help. In many ways I know she is right. But if he has to be walked with a chain, in my eyes there is a problem. I refuse to tiptoe around my horse. I know he is an animal. I know he is stalled. I know the surrounding energy was off the charts. I know I got scared. I also know there are always options. Don't tell me there aren't. Unfortunately we are stuck between a rock and a hard place, and he is 40 minutes away (one way).

After seven years of trials & tribulations, we failed as a team. Again. I'm extremely disappointed (and sad) Koda didn't trust me enough to get him/us out of a sticky situation. We've slid down muddy hillsides, ridden them sideways, crossed raging rivers, leaped boulders etc...there isn't a single thing I would have done different. Therefore, I'm done. Of course I am also disappointed that I allowed myself to feel scared, but uncontrolled energy scares me. It's my reality. And this my friends, brought on the changing of the guards. I feel I am not the best person for Koda at this time, possibly ever. Most of the time we are fine, but it's simply not worth the risk. I don't want him to re-injure himself (or me) so I've stopped walking him. Pathetic, but true.

Not sure what the future holds. I firmly believe if you can't handle a horse on the ground, you best not be getting on it's back. If your thinking it, replacing Koda wouldn't solve anything. He is a great horse, and part of our permanent family. Seriously considering throwing in the towel. Some things are just not meant to be. It's been tough since the changing of the guards, doing lotsa soul searching...

My sweet hubby didn't hesitate to step up to help with Koda's daily needs and while I'm very thankful, I feel terrible. It's a gigantic time commitment. At Koda's five week vet recheck, Brad said he was clearly still lame at a trot (in hand). Four more weeks of stall rest before another recheck... 

Incase you are wondering, Koda is now being walked with a lead chain. Know that I'm not against them perse, they are definitely a safety tool when used properly. It's just such a shame, the whole damn thing. This is going to be a long drawn out process for everyone, especially Koda. Poor baby :(

my beautiful boy


grazing daze

Driving 40 minutes (one way) every day this summer to help care for my horse, wasn't part of my plan. We are three weeks in to his stall rest, and to put it mildly, it is B-o-r-i-n-g! With a capitol B. Koda seems to remain in good spirits, me not so much.

I'm thankful his stall is dead center of the busiest aisle in the barn, so he has distractions & neighbors. They walk him every morning and I groom, walk, and graze him every night. The only thing that seems to bother him is his stomach, requiring partial baths as needed. Let's just say I learned a new use for vaseline.

We started Koda on probiotics and are working on figuring out how to further adjust his dietary needs to his new sedentary lifestyle. The probiotic doesn't seem to be working very well on it's own. We may end up trying some other random remedy's I've heard to date, everything from senior feed, psyllium, kaopectate, yogurt, beet pulp, and someone even suggested aloe vera gel. I got the call this morning to pick up some psyllium from the vet to add to Koda's regime. 

Standing around in a stall with no riding or running isn't helping this big barrel horses situation. He is getting fluffier by the day. Koda is a horse that does best with regular activity, both with his physique and his mind. Me too. I can't even imagine what we will be like under saddle when healed...sadly sooo far away. I do hope there is a bright side to this situation.

With so much idle time spent just standing around, finding interesting things to pass the time is a stretch. Our grazing daze includes...

watching previous pasture mates, Nemo & Charlie 
adjusting to a different barn schedule then everyone else
searching for red clover, Koda's favorite
grazing with four legged friends
grazing with family 
watching Nemo ride
trying to enjoy the long daze