Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mark a big black "X" on our door

Thursday my daughter came home from school complaining of a sore neck and took a two hour nap.  She woke up with a fever and nausea.  There are two things going around our neighborhood - a 24 hour nasty stomach bug or a 7-10 day flu that seems to have escaped the flu vaccine this year.  I gave her some ibuprofen and literally had to carry her upstairs to bed but she slept all night and never threw up.  The next morning I took her to the doctor because her fever was much higher and her neck still hurt and she was very weak (and the not throwing up made me think it wasn't a stomach bug).  The doctor thought the same thing and gave us Tamiflu and sent us home.  But then I looked up information on Tamiflu and it scared me so I thought I'd hold off and see how my daughter did and if she continued to stay that sick I'd give it to her. 

But by evening her fever had pretty much gone away and she was eating her weight in toast and jello.  I think next time before I spend a lot of money on Tamiflu I'll ask the doctor to do a blood test to confirm she actually has influenza.  Especially because we all get flu shots so we will most likely never need it.  Too bad you can't donate medication you won't use to people who need them but can't afford them. 

I don't feel very good this morning so we'll see how the weekend goes.  I hate throwing up almost to the point of a phobia but at the same time I am relieved this is a 24-hour bug instead of the almost two week thing that's going around.  I guess I'll take 24-hours of dealing with a phobia over being super sick for a week.   That and honestly, I'm feeling too drained and tired to get really anxious.

I was bummed that I had to miss my riding lesson yesterday.  And Toadie is doing well these days in training so I was bummed to not get to be there for that yesterday.  In general Toad is doing really well.  I'm starting to recognize things that cause her to flip out and am able to stay calm during her flip outs which helps her come down much faster.  In some things she is already starting to be able to check herself during spooks.  We've been walking around outside the last week after she free-lunges and a few things scared her - like a branch brushing against her or the sound of a car coming down the driveway - and she'll jump but then come down really quickly as long as I keep her focused.  Those are small steps of course - she's still not ready for big challenges because her panic takes over so much she can't focus on me yet at those times, but we're working on it.

Thursday Toad had a chiropractic appointment with her vet so I went to the barn early enough to do some free-lunging with her so she'd get some of her energy out and be calmer.  She was already worked up for some reason (in heat, it was windy outside ... she's Toad) so she was bouncing around when I put her in the groom room to take off her blanket and put on her bell boots.  The Western trainer from the other side of the barn was in the arena cleaning up poop and when I brought Toad out in the aisle to go to the arena.  Perfect timing (sarcasm) - the barn owner was coming up behind her with a wheelbarrow of shavings and the other trainer was coming out of the arena was a bucket of poo and Toad decided there was a monster behind her and in front of her so she panicked and tried to spin the aisleway (which is too small).  That scared the other trainer (who has many times expressed fears about Toad) so she said she's just stay in the arena.  I should've spoken up and told her just to walk by because it would be easier but I was busy setting boundaries with Toad that she stand still.  So, I took Toad in the arena and she veered away from the other trainer, who then got more anxious and expressed concern about Toad (can't remember what she said) and Toad started to dance.  I corrected her and firmly said, "Whoa. Stand still and be polite," and Toad panicked and reared straight up.  The other trainer gasped and said she needed to close the other gate and ran across the arena to close the gate.  I said everything was fine and to just take the poo bucket out and Toad would calm down and then we would close the gates ourselves.  But her rushing across the arena freaked Toad out more and Toad started jumping backward.  I held onto the lead rope, got dragged about a foot and then Toad when straight up in the air in a full-on straight up rear.  I sighed and said firmly, "That's very pretty, Toad but it's not appropriate. Knock it off."  I told her to "Whoa" again and walked firmly and authoratively to her side and she was shaking but she stood still.  I told the other trainer just to go and I'd close the other arena door, which she did and Toad walked next to me quietly, although still very anxiously alert.  I told her we needed to walk around and calm down and be polite before she got to run around and she complied. 

When Toad was finally breathing normally and not quivering I let her loose and she bucked and raced around like crazy.  I chased her around for a good fifteen minutes until we were both exhausted and her vet had poked her head up over the arena door to let me know she was there.  All I had to say was "Time to go in Toad," and she ducked her head and walked over to me at the arena door, said hello to the vet, then lowered her head and followed me to the mounting block and stood quietly with her head down while I put on her halter.  Then she was an absolute angel during her chiropractic.  She was relaxed and didn't resist and didn't freak out over anything her vet did on.  She's starting to really relax into massage and chiropractic and we could tell she was really enjoying her adjustment.

What I'm seeing in her is that she is literally a sponge of the emotions of those around her.  The other trainer has no experience with her other than hearing all the horror stories about her and her reputation as a "dangerous" horse.  So any apprehension she had - even if it was well guarded by an outward veneer of necessary professionalism - Toadie picks up on it and freaks out.  I'm always saying to her "Be your own horse. You are your own horse," in order to remind me to treat her like that and to help her work towards that.  I know she's a Thoroughbred and will always be high strung but I see tiny glimpses of the improvements she's already made since last August when I got her.  And I know that she does not need to be written off as a "dangerous horse" and when I think of her that way things get much worse. Because she's not a dangerous horse.  She's a complicated horse and needs a ton of work to be safe in a lot of situations, but right now that is what she is - a complicated horse.  Not the "D" word.  And if I could I would keep her in a bubble away from all the people who (despite how hard they may try not to think of her that way but still feel that way about her) believe she is "the D word". 

She's a lot like a kid with ADHD who is underneath a wonderful kid.  There are very rare exceptions of kids who are sociopaths and have no conscience and are dangerous - but that is very rare.  I believe the same about horses.  And Toad is not one of those extremely rare dangerous horses.  She's like a really sweet kid with ADHD or Autism who *wants* to be good more than anything, but needs special help to get there.

No comments:

Post a Comment