A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses

I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Almost back to normal, but dealing with lack of confidence.

Yes, it's healing VERY nicely.  The whole process wasn't smooth as silk though.

A few days after I was stitched up (3 days is the worst you know) things started swelling, pulling, pinching and itching.  I could handle talking for a bit, but too much made my face hurt later.  Ironically, in the accident my phone was destroyed.  That ended up being a blessing in disguise.

While I was sitting here worrying about clients not being able to contact me, or the loss of data on the phone, my phone was sitting there being very very quiet.  Some moron let the warranty run out with out putting insurance on the phone (yea that was me, for some reason I only had 6 months of protection... accident happened at 6.5 month).  I checked into a replacement and HOLY COW... $450 bucks for an older model phone, I don't THINK so.  Ah, but Jae got a "free" upgrade that I could snag in only a short week.

So, snag it I did (Since Jae only uses his phone like once each month) and now I have a nice happy modern(ish) phone.  It arrived yesterday, and as soon as I announced it.... it started ringing!  I am back in touch with the real world.  BUT, if I punt your call to voicemail, please understand it's because my jaw is still sore at times, and talking can be ouchy.

Now, as for the last, oh, what 3 weeks?  Yeah, well, when you shove dirt and poo into an open cut, there's really only one logical outcome.  Infection!  Oh sure, I was on antibiotics, anti inflamatories, vaccinated to kingdom come (and you know it was bad when the vaccines didn't hurt) but still, I got a very minor infection.  Not a big deal at all....

Except for the vertigo!  Oh wow did that SUCK.  The cut swelled, and the pymphnode was working, so swollen, and the cut pushed on the lymph node, which pushed on the inner ear, and a bit of infection added something else to it....  The end result was any time I looked down and left, in any form or fashion, my world spun like a drunk's.  Except when drunk, your world spins horizontally... mine spun vertically.  I learned how to manage it pretty quick (don't look left when turning left, and do NOT look down fast) and oddly, when I closed my eyes the world didn't spin. 

Oh, and did I mention the memory loss?  Yeah, I has it.  A few things are simply GONE, and other things were out of my recall.  Let me explain.

I don't remember specific events that happened about a day before the accident.  Nothing important, but a horse doing something at feeding time, or Jae telling me something.  Those things are simply gone.  But hey, every one forgets things! Then there's the lack of recall.  I had papers to mail.  That morning I had set them aside in the "send out" stack.  After the accident, of course, that was unimportant.  A few days after the accident.....I still didn't remember that I had to mail them.  As soon as some one asked about something, BOOM, I remembered all about it.  I needed an outside source to bring the memory back into recall.  My normal daily life didn't have the trigger I needed.

The doctors say this is common, and while some memories may be just gone for good, they shouldn't be anything important.  I still have some problems with short term memory, but it's getting better every day.  So if I have forgotten something you asked me to do.... don't hold it against me!  I've been reworking my daily routines to get a "back up" for all those memory things.  I tell Jae, I write it down, I put notes on my new phone.  Sadly, it's not habit yet, and if I don't do it NOW, I still occasionally forget.

But, will I stop messing with horses?  NO!  And the filly who kicked my face in, is still one I go up to and snuggle in the pasture.  Yes, I make sure she's no where near Sweetie (yeah, they have a serious hate on) but I have no fear of her.

What I AM having trouble with, is confidence around horsey rumps!  My old grey mare, Ash, has a very bad habit.  When she sees a person she likes, she swings her butt right at you.... wanting it scratched.  It's almost the same type of move as a horse does before it kicks.  Before, it has never bothered me (well, I tried to train her not to, but gave up after 10 years).  Lately, my heart races, and I dodge with out thinking.  Ash turns and looks at me like "moron!" and just waits for me to scratch.  And scratch I do!

I don't stand between horses at all.  I mean at ALL.  One could be 20 acres out, but if the direct path to it is where I am... I just move.  It's silly, but it makes me feel a bit more confident.  I haven't tried riding yet, and when I do, I'm pulling one of my packers out for the first week.  After that... it's POKO!  I figure Poko is a nice balance of good and bad.  I know what he pulls, I know when he's going to do it, and I know I can handle most of it.  So when it comes to getting back in the mode of training, he'll be my "experiment".  After him, I have about 5 babies I need to get started under saddle.... including the filly that kicked me. 

Like everyone out there, I have always had to deal with fear around horses.  I'm not scared of horses, but hey, they do things!  A horse charging me makes me scared.  Sure, I'll stand and deal with it, or hop a fence - which ever is the best choice for that horse - but that doesn't mean I don't experience fear.  I just have always conquered it.  After the accident, I have more intense fear, so I have to deal with it in different ways.  I will still conquer it!


I live by the rule that if you're too scared to do it, then you shouldn't do it. 

In the last few days, we have had "O" here for breeding.  He has been cycled through 3 of my mares, and the process of moving the ladies around, is sometimes... interesting!  At one point, I just couldn't take it, so Jae stepped in and handled the silly mare (ironically, the dam of the filly that kicked me... hmm).  Was she doing anything bad?  Not really.  She just did not WANT to leave the stallion!  She balked, she got high headed, and acted like she'd drag me.

But having someone like Jae around is priceless for overcoming the fear issues post accident.  He doesn't say a thing, just watches me.  If I move in a way like a scared little kid around a monster, he just steps in with "here, I'll get that".  If I need a hand, I just ask, and he does it with out a single complaint.  He lets me try what I want, and push myself as far as I can, and is there when I need to back off.  He starts things that will encourage me to join in, and get in the "thick" of things with out being in the THICK part of it.  Like scratching the horses over the fence.  I can be there "in" the herd, but out of harms way.  I still get the feel of being with the horses, but it doesn't set off my anxiety meters.

Every day I get better.  I've only been up and "normal" for a few days now, but I can really tell the difference.  The first day, I didn't want to go in a stall with a horse that was excited (and at feeding time... that's most of them) even if the horse was well mannered.  Now, I avoid some thing I know could do silly things (like the stallions that aren't breeding) but gladly walk in with others even if they aren't standing quietly.  Scorch is a good example. 

See, Scorch LOVES grain.  I mean, loves it with all his heart!  He tosses his head, nickers to me, gets all pretty, but he knows he has to stop once the stall door opens.  I raised him to have good manners since he was born, and I know his quirks, so his antics I can accept.  I open the door, he quiets down, moves back and over giving me access to the feed bucket, and waits until I say "ok" before stepping up to the food.  The first day I was back on the grain slinging line, his excitement was more then I could take, and while I KNEW he would be quiet once I stepped in the stall, I didn't FEEL safe about it.  Knowing and feeling are 2 very different things that do not always work well together.  So, I simply had Jae handle it.  Now, I can catch Scorch and lead him down the "alley of doom" (i.e. barn full of mares) and trust in his training.  Yes, I know he's a young dumb stallion, and those mares are really trying ot get his attention, but I also know that he won't do more then lift his head and flick an ear.  He's never been allowed to do more, so won't start now unless *I* let him.

I figure it will take me about a month to get back into the swing of things, and working with the horses like I used to.  I won't push it.  If I'm too scared, or insecure to do something, I will stop before I make a stupid mistake.  With that said, I will do something if I'm just anxious, but still in control. 

I know that my accident was a great example to many people of what CAN happen, even to experienced horse people.  I've been training "rank" horses for 13 years, and that was my first kick.  I also know that talking about fear issues is something very few people do.  Even my mother told me "you never get scared!" when I've always had moments of fear, but simply worked through it.  I think you're lieing if you say you don't EVER get scared around horses!

So talk about it I will.  I have an advantage over many people because I do know what I'm doing, and what the good side of it feels like: the high of working well with a horse using trust.  At the same time, I also know that fear is anything but logical, and it strikes when it wants to.  Who knows, maybe some of the tricks I use can help some one else, or give insight to those who have yet to face this problem.  Either way, yet another bruise to my ego by admitting fear is a small price to pay if it helps anyone.

And every little step forward, is a step closer to the saddle.  And y'all will likely be along for the ride!

8 comments:

  1. You wouldn't be quite mortal if you weren't at least a little apprehensive. I think it's natural anytime an injury is involved, and not necessarily one as severe as yours.

    I must admit I am looking forward to you giving Poko the comeuppance he so richly deserves.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad you're willing to talk about this - it's important for people to hear. After a traumatic incident like this, it's common to feel fear and worry, and also short-term memory loss - it happened to me when Dawn kicked me in the face a year and a half ago. I was very tentative, particularly around her, for quite a while, but I'm pretty much back to normal now - I hope with more sense about putting myself in super dangerous situations.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good for you in keeping it real. It's also a relief to know that even experienced horse people can have serious horse-related injuries. For a long time I felt like I must be the stupidest horse person around for getting hurt so often, but I've since discovered that it's the people who spend the most time around horses that eventually do get hurt, which makes a lot of sense.
    But still it takes a really secure and honest person to admit to feeling fear and a lack of confidence, even when it involves something they have a passion for. I admire you for that.

    You know what's ironic about what you said and how it relates to my own horse-kick injury? After I was kicked in the face by my mare, I felt cautious and maybe a little anxious when her butt was turned to me, but I wasn't really afraid.
    When my broken optical bones were healed and my bruises faded and vision returned fairly to normal again, I went right back to spending time with my horse again.

    And then while walking up to the barn, with her beside me At Liberty, she bolted forward and clipped me with a hoof on my hip.

    That made me angry! But I soon started feeling a different feeling creeping into my thoughts and instincts....fear...and not just any fear, but heart-gripping fear. The first time she kicked me, I took partial blame for, but the second time, I did not deserve at all. It was so random and unexpected and made me feel very vulnerable.

    But after the hip soreness and bruising went away, I forced myself to keep working with my mare and I was mostly able to rise above the fear and control my anxiety, until.....one day about 7 months ago, I was bringing in her hay and pointing my finger at her side for her to move over and let me past, but instead of moving over, she jumped forward and raised both hind legs.
    I could feel the breeze from her hooves on the side of my face.

    That one experience was the straw that broke the camel's back and pushed me over the edge, and now I battle that heart-gripping fear every time I am close to my mare. I often realize I am forgetting to breathe, and I can feel panic bubbling right below the surface or my forced bravery.

    But yes, I am still spending time with my horse, although I have not ridden her since that last threatening kick. But I groom her, although I don't spend any time around her rear end and I am not able to bring myself close enough to pick up her rear feet.

    But I do work hard every day at trying to conquer this fear and lack of confidence every time I head up to the barn. It drives me crazy and makes me feel so frustrated that this fear is now a part of my life, but I don't know how to remove it completely. And maybe I'm not supposed to?

    ~Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think that NO fear is much worse then too much. I also think that we're all taught to be ashamed of our fears. That's kinda why I put it out there.

    I mean, there's no shame is being a bit jumpy around horse butts after you got laid out... it's even kinda expected. But I always hear about accident, and never the MENTAL recovery afterwards. I just woke up this morning, and though "huh, you know, I bet that journey would be helpful to people who have always delt with it".

    I have to admit though, my biggest problem is knowing that I'm not 100% and not being sure what I can and can not do. I'm going to work back into the ponies slowly, and my first "training" project, is to curb Poko's appytude! I'm about 90% sure he won't hurt me... too bad. But that 10% will keep me on my toes, and get me prepared for backing babies. If I can take Poko, I can take a hand raised foal.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have done admirably.It is actually a pretty short time since your injury .You have let your body heal ,now it is time to let your mind heal too. You may always have a little fear or ,rather,different awarnesss after this , and is a good thing.I think your honest talking about it is very helpful to all of your readers. I have been working with horse my whole life ,raising Appy's 25 yrs(gawd I am,old) and I still get knocked around , and I get hurt. They are unpredictable critters and I love them , but ...

    ReplyDelete
  6. What you're going through is very natural and normal for most horse people. It's how you'll handle your fear and anxiety that will really define this injury. You're handling is very well and I'm sure you'll be back to doing everything you used to in no time! However, you'll likely have more caution from here on out :)

    Also, to me, fear is completely logical... Being afraid of a horse is so logical, which is why many people have trouble overcoming that fear. If I'm working with a stubborn/potentially dangerous horse, it has to be the "right" day for me to get them in the round pen... If it isn't the right day I'm asking for trouble. On the right day, the fear (and some other logical instincts) are left at the gate. They have to be, or the right horse will take complete advantage of you.. And, as you know, if they get away with it once, that can be bad news.

    Guess I don't want you to feel bad about fear, it's completely normal, logical and expected. Being able to leave your fear when working with horses is challenging and rewarding. Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What you're going through is very natural and normal for most horse people. It's how you'll handle your fear and anxiety that will really define this injury. You're handling is very well and I'm sure you'll be back to doing everything you used to in no time! However, you'll likely have more caution from here on out :)

    Also, to me, fear is completely logical... Being afraid of a horse is so logical, which is why many people have trouble overcoming that fear. If I'm working with a stubborn/potentially dangerous horse, it has to be the "right" day for me to get them in the round pen... If it isn't the right day I'm asking for trouble. On the right day, the fear (and some other logical instincts) are left at the gate. They have to be, or the right horse will take complete advantage of you.. And, as you know, if they get away with it once, that can be bad news.

    Guess I don't want you to feel bad about fear, it's completely normal, logical and expected. Being able to leave your fear when working with horses is challenging and rewarding. Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good for you in keeping it real. It's also a relief to know that even experienced horse people can have serious horse-related injuries. For a long time I felt like I must be the stupidest horse person around for getting hurt so often, but I've since discovered that it's the people who spend the most time around horses that eventually do get hurt, which makes a lot of sense.
    But still it takes a really secure and honest person to admit to feeling fear and a lack of confidence, even when it involves something they have a passion for. I admire you for that.

    You know what's ironic about what you said and how it relates to my own horse-kick injury? After I was kicked in the face by my mare, I felt cautious and maybe a little anxious when her butt was turned to me, but I wasn't really afraid.
    When my broken optical bones were healed and my bruises faded and vision returned fairly to normal again, I went right back to spending time with my horse again.

    And then while walking up to the barn, with her beside me At Liberty, she bolted forward and clipped me with a hoof on my hip.

    That made me angry! But I soon started feeling a different feeling creeping into my thoughts and instincts....fear...and not just any fear, but heart-gripping fear. The first time she kicked me, I took partial blame for, but the second time, I did not deserve at all. It was so random and unexpected and made me feel very vulnerable.

    But after the hip soreness and bruising went away, I forced myself to keep working with my mare and I was mostly able to rise above the fear and control my anxiety, until.....one day about 7 months ago, I was bringing in her hay and pointing my finger at her side for her to move over and let me past, but instead of moving over, she jumped forward and raised both hind legs.
    I could feel the breeze from her hooves on the side of my face.

    That one experience was the straw that broke the camel's back and pushed me over the edge, and now I battle that heart-gripping fear every time I am close to my mare. I often realize I am forgetting to breathe, and I can feel panic bubbling right below the surface or my forced bravery.

    But yes, I am still spending time with my horse, although I have not ridden her since that last threatening kick. But I groom her, although I don't spend any time around her rear end and I am not able to bring myself close enough to pick up her rear feet.

    But I do work hard every day at trying to conquer this fear and lack of confidence every time I head up to the barn. It drives me crazy and makes me feel so frustrated that this fear is now a part of my life, but I don't know how to remove it completely. And maybe I'm not supposed to?

    ~Lisa

    ReplyDelete