Wednesday, October 31, 2012
A Bad Year
My sister and I have noticed that our lives have spells of bad luck that last 12 months, and then we will have good luck for a long time until the next “bad year.” We definitely have been going through a bad spell. We decided it started at the end of October last year when Dad first started feeling poorly. We rounded up to November 1st, which is his birthday, and decided that that’s when our bad year would end. We still had to get through October.
Ranger has been having abscess issues since early September. This month, Ellen was finally able to ride Ranger a little bit. He got that abscess in his front hoof, it blew out and we thought everything would be just fine. Well, when he blew it out, he tore up his heel, creating a huge crack. When the vet came out to give the horses their fall shots, Ellen had her look at Ranger’s hoof. She cut out some frog and found a pus pocket. She said it was left there as the infection traveled to his heel. That was also causing him discomfort.
Now, he had a badly cracked heel and his frog was sensitive as a result of the vet’s knife. The vet wanted her to douse it with iodine to toughen it up. At the time, Ellen was only hand walking him for exercise. We were both getting very discouraged. He was doing all right at a walk, but he was lame at a trot.
Right at this time, Cruiser had something happen to his head. I think he must have banged it into something. His face was swollen and he had a huge, fat lip. We now only had one horse to ride, Cole Train. Ellen was taking him out in a few mornings a week on her own, and she was enjoying her rides, but it is never the same when your own horse is ailing at the barn. I was riding Cole in the evenings and hand walking Cruiser. (When I got into horses all those years ago, I never expected to spend so much time hand walking!)
We scheduled most of our vacation time together for the month of October. This really messed us up--having only one rideable horse. Kevin graciously allowed us to ride Starry D. Still, it wasn’t the same.
After a while, Ellen started to ride Ranger lightly in the arena and on the driveway, and each time, he got a little better, but he still wasn’t there. Cruiser’s face swelling went down, and I was able to ride him in a side pull hackamore. Things began to look up.
Still, Ranger didn’t seem 100% at a trot. He was the worst when his bad foot was on the inside, which made sense. Ellen mostly walked him and would do a little trotting.
On the brighter side, I sold my old Camaro with 150,000 miles and started driving my dad’s much newer car with only 15,000 miles, the kitten my sister found that she turned into the greatest cat shelter ever---Stay a While Cat Shelter—got adopted. Could our awful year, the one that started at the end of October last year, be ending after all?
Then, Cruiser started to cough quite bad. He has seasonal allergies, and fall is a bad season for him. All the leaves came down at once—maybe that is why it was so bad. I started to ride him more cautiously. Some days—I just hand walked.
A few days later, after Ranger’s ride, Ellen noticed that his back hoof was mushy and wet. He was only in the indoor arena. I took a look at it—a hoof abscess had just blown out of the heel. The previous problem hoof was a front hoof on the same side. Could this be why he was still a little off when he should have been getting better?
A few days later, my “new” car got rear ended while I was at a standstill at a traffic light. More bad luck.
We had one more vacation day left for the month of October. Ellen and I take our time off together so we can go on trail rides, but due to her work schedule, we have to pick the days several weeks in advance. Turns out that this day was when the worst of Hurricane Sandy would be hitting Ohio. You know, Frankenstorm. Even though we were far from the coast, they predicted miserable weather. So much for our trail rides. More bad luck. Would we make it to the end of the month?
Ellen and I had planned to celebrate the end of the “bad year” and Dad’s birthday by making a couple of homemade apple pies—his favorite. We weren’t even going to eat dinner. We were going to feast on the pies.
Then Kevin’s furnace broke…
The night before, I was at the barn to ride and feed. Riding was out of the question—the wind was so strong that the arena was making all kinds of scary noises. I hand walked Cruiser and lounged and led Cole. He practiced his silly walk, and I taught him to chase a ball. At first, I clicked him for touching the ball. Then I would kick it a few feet, and when he walked to it, I clicked him for touching it. It didn’t take long for him to be trotting after it.
After we fed, I went to Kevin’s house to watch a DVD. I got a text from Ellen. It said, “I really think they shouldn’t let Dad control the weather. He is making the bad year go out with a bang. I think it’s a sign.” It made me laugh. My dad was obsessed with the weather. He would have loved following this storm—even more, he would have loved creating it.
At 10:30, Kevin’s power went out. I called my house, and the power was still on. I knew because the answering machine picked up. I got home around midnight. Fifteen minutes later, my power went out, too. Thunder and I snuggled close all night, trying to keep warm. I never spent a colder night.
The next morning, our day off, I called Ellen. The wind wasn’t quite as strong, but it was still raining. Her power was off, too. We decided to go to the barn, anyway. I only ran into one detour due to power lines being down. All was well at the barn, they didn’t flood and the horses were fine. We started our morning by riding Cole.
By some miracle, it stopped raining. We decided to lead Cruiser down to the river to see how much it flooded. As we started on the trail, we heard what sounded like a large branch fall. We were partway down the first slope when we heard another crack. We stopped, looked up, and we could see across the river a tree break about ¼ of the way up and crash down into the water. It was an awesome sight. I decided we should bring Cruiser back. He really liked the idea, too, and we spent the rest of his walk on the driveway. He didn’t cough at all on his walk.
We walked down to the river without a horse to see how high it was—and it was an amazing sight.
Ellen started leading Ranger on the driveway, but he was very excited, so she brought him in. Just as well, as the rain started up, again. I trotted him in hand for her to watch, and we decided that Ranger is no longer lame, at all. Yes, the bad year was ending.
We found a Taco Bell that was open and ate lunch. We called my house, and found that I still didn’t have power, so Ellen went her way and I went mine. No apple pies. The thing we were looking forward to the most wasn’t going to happen.
At 12:30, I walked into the house, and to my unbelieving ears—I could hear the furnace running. Dad realized his mistake and intervened. We had power. I called Ellen up and she came over. We made 2 delicious apple pies and ate them for supper. The bad year is over, and we had our celebration. We are going to try to do this each year in the future in honor of Dad. He loved our homemade apple pies.