Wednesday 28 August 2013

Now the barn owner don't mind.... and the boarders don't mind... Please, please stay, a little bit more.

And so, with Regumate and a box of rubber gloves on order each month, finally the clouds parted, the sun shone down, and happiness reigned at Lana Acres. Dr. Lana loved Ms V, now that she was a squeal free, fatty weiner dog eunuch horse. 


Cue the Angels! Cue the Angels!

Not her again. Is she for real?

No, of course not. 

Over the next year or so I stayed at Lana Acres, and my horse managed to somehow stay, unloved, at the bottom of the pack. 

She apparently could not get along any other horses - so only got turned out with the crustiest old gelding, in the paddock with the manure heap (while other horses frolicked in rolling green hilly feilds). She cowered fearfully in the corner and was a pain in the ass to get out the gate without a whip in hand to keep Alligator Face from attacking during our escape.

(She has since been on group turnout with many different mares - even on 24 hour turnout at one point in time - without incidence).

I arrived one day to find the clip on my halter wrapped in duct tape because it was "impossible" to get the strap over her ears, so only the buckle on the crownpiece was to be used - who knows what happened to inspire this judgement, but I removed the tape when I moved to a new barn, and everyone has used the clip ever since.

And so on. So forth. Dr. Lana just had a dislike of my horse that never quit.

The upside was I noticed a really big difference in the way she went under saddle on Regumate!  Wow!  Oh wait, no. That's wrong. I am confused again.  There was absolutely no difference in her way of going under saddle at all - she was still the same old "good some days, goofy others" horse that one might expect when riding a 5 year old.

The real only difference I noticed was in the amount of money I was forking out in vet bills - the Regumate was costing over $200 per month.

But hey!  Being the eternal optimist that I am, I must say there was a few perks associated with this whole debacle. On the plus side - when the day came to rationalize the cost of my move to a full training barn, this $200 was like a justification bargaining chip - I could spend it on the "training" part of training board, instead of as some freaky offering to appease the Gods of Lana.  Totally makes sense, right? 

Also on the plus side - when we hit the "progress up the levels" wall with Coach Ritenau, pinpointing the cause was a little quicker than it otherwise would have been. Once we bought the new saddle and tried the Bowen Therapy - we saved a few months in the process of systematically investigating  "reason your horse is not progressing that have nothing to do with the fact that I am not experienced enough to help you move to the next level" since we already had "maybe her ovaries are sore" covered. 

I said it before and I will say it again - "silver lining, every cloud".  Have another glass of wine if you don't see it.  It is there somewhere.

Dinner's almost ready, Ms. V

Curmudgeon, you moron. Why - oh - why did you stay?

Well, you have to remember that although Ms. V was not a favourite - Dr. Lana wasn't exactly giving anyone else a free ride either. And all in all, this made for a pretty pleasant riding experience on the human side. 

The other boarders were all very normal people, because the blowhard, know it all weirdos got kicked out in short order.  And it is worth at least $100 in Regumate to me to not have to deal with weirdo boarders after a long day of dealing with weirdo pet owners. 

There were a few neat and polite teenage girls who were pretty much always accompanied by their moms, who were almost my age and were a pleasure to spend time with while laughing and grooming. There was another woman in the same age bracket who was working on backing her dream horse, a Lusitano she had bought in utero - who was also fun and funny and made evenings at the barn enjoyable. 

Dr. Lana herself was also great to shoot the breeze with - the same no holds barred honesty that she brought to telling you your horse was (insert negative horse characteristic here), she brought to all of her conversations, which sounds bad, but is actually very refreshing.

All and all- once I made it through the gauntlet of control freak barn owner-isms, I really liked Lana Acres

I think sometimes along this horse journey I have lost sight of the fact that the horse and I are in it together - A barn where the horse is perfectly happy but I am not enjoying my hobby is no better than one where I am enjoying myself and the horse is miserably cowering on a manure pile being and bullied by Alligator face. Sorry to depress you, but you must add the challenge of finding a barn you can both stand to the almost impossible mix ... trainer, horse, ability, money, barn free of wackos...

(But seriously, I do think Ms. V has gotten the better deal most of the time.  I have put up with a lot of wackos).

And - for the most part - her training was coming along very well at Lana Acres. I felt that we had successfully made the leap from "Green Horse" to "Green Dressage Horse", as in, someone watching from the sidelines could probably tell where we were headed, even if we still had a long way to go. It would have been hard to give up on the situation at this point in time, when everything under saddle was looking so rosy.

Saturday 17 August 2013

I think I am slowly losing my marebles.

Ok team. I am feeling energized to write today.

Finally, after humming, hawing and generally being a whiny little down in the dumps "why me" sap about my horse situation since January, I filed a small claims court claim against the people who I am alleging broke their lease-to-own contract with me. I have my "Settlement Conference" date in October.

Am I the pig?

Or the person who shouldn't wrestle with pigs, because you only get dirty and pigs like it?

Well, if George Bernard Shaw was here I would tell him I am not really sure. I do know I have paid  the equivalent of a month's worth of board to have mud slathered on me and be wrapped in saran at a foo foo spa in Quebec for a week - and it was pretty fucking fine. Granted his time the slatherer will be barking at me in a German accent, not coooing softly in French... but I think I might enjoy it just as much.

Will the courts see things my way?  I have no idea (again, at this time - I am alleging - judge could decide I am delusional). But win or lose - it is time to go Sandra Dee again. I am happiest when the bridges are a-blazin. Turning the other cheek has never been my strong suit, and giving it a go this summer has just been really draining.

Curmudgeon! No one is EVER going to want to do business with you again if they find out you took someone to small claims court! Bad move!  Everyone is going to think you are a money grubbing nut!

Yah, maybe. So be it. That's how I roll.

But - as my very favourite song lyric of all time goes... "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose". I am free.  I am enjoying having my horse back, at a small stable, no trainer, no lessons, no pressure. I tried the high commission, high profile, high price sales route - and it flopped miserably. I have now come to terms with keeping her forever. Or, alternatively - should the absolute perfect person walk through the door with a few bucks in their hand and a starry look in their eyes that says "I dream of someday riding a flowing halfpass"- dropping her price to a mere mortal level to make their dream come true if it suits me.

I have nothing left to lose.

Yah, yah...I know, I know. You all knew this would happen, even though I keep insisting I want to sell her.

I just can't quit you, Ms. V

So!  Long story short - I have to make this Long Story short so I can someday report to you on "SCHWEINWRESTLE FEST 2013". Exciting, isn't it?

Where were we. Mare acting like a mare. Barn owner acting like no other barn owner, past or present.

Curmudgeon! Please tell me that you packed your things and got the hell out of there!

No. No, I did not. Why you ask? Did I have a screw loose?  Had I lost my marbles?

Perhaps. To this day, I can not explain to you why insisting that I find a way to transform my normal, hoochie mama mare into a female eunuch seemed to be a reasonable request, and why I did not just thank Dr. Lana for her time, pack my things, and leave.

However, I can assure you that what I had certainly not lost was my Marebles. I had ordered them on the internet for the low LOW price of only $18 dollars each.

What, pray tell are Marebles, you ask?

Well, I don't know all of the details, so be forewarned - my story may not be entirely accurate (surprisingly enough this event is not covered in bible, which was kind of the National Enquirer of the day as I understand it). Apparently, once upon a time, long ago... a camel driver sitting around waiting out a sandstorm blasting though the Sahara (or doing whatever it is that camel drivers do during their down time) got really bored.  So bored in fact, that an interesting thought crossed his mind. "I wonder what would happen if I shoved an apricot pit up my camel's hoo-hoo"?

(Maybe I just have a warped mind, but I suspect this is probably not the first thing a bored man in the desert shoved up his camel's hoo-hoo.  But that is another story all together).

Well lo and behold, as legend would have it - the camel drivers found that camels with apricot pits in their uteruses (what is the plural of uterus? Funny, I don't think I have ever attempted to use this word before in my life) no longer exhibited signs of "oh hot, baby, hot for you" estrus.  Which was a good thing, I totally get this. I can see how being trapped in the desert for a month or two with a whole camel drive full of hormonal female camels living together and fighting over the male camel would be a bit tiring.  Kind of like "The Bachlorette" for camels.

Anyway, fast forward to today - although we have modern medicine and technology, somehow the idea that "if it is natural, and has been done for thousands of years - it is better than anything your so-called "science" comes up with" prevails.

Enter - the Mareble.  A clean, shiny, autoclavable version of the apricot pit, ready for implantation into your mare's uterus, which apparently works to supress estrus naturally.  (Well, as naturally as having something other than a foal shoved in your uterus can be, in any case).  So, whereas the obvious solution from a vet medicine point of view was a daily dose of evil, pharma generated Regumate, which is tried, tested, true (as in "truly expensive", as with all horsey things it seems) - if you love your horse in a natural, holistic, way - you knuckle down and get out your aggies.

Of course, Curmudgeon - it is an IUD for horses!  Why wouldn't it work!

Oh come on now. We all know why it would not work. Because nothing in the horse world is ever simple, effective, and costs only $18.  That really should have been all of the information I needed to reject this treatment as a possibility.

But I did look into it a bit more. A girl can dream, can't she?

And, what I found basically eliminated the Mareble from contention.

Sure - it is kind of an IUD for horses, and IUD's do work in people. The only difference is that effective IUD's for people are coated in birth control type hormones or copper that fucks with the sperm's minds.  Perhaps their mere presence in the uterus does have an effect as well, but they are not just blobs of inert glass that show up and say "Ta Da! Bet you think I am a baby!"  So really on further inspection, they are kind of nothing like IUD's in humans, other than their place of residence.

Next - I did some research and found that while natural, holistic, bulletin board prone people insisted that Marebles were a valid alternative to proven science - they also reported that Marebles seemed to emit strong waves of placebo effect that worked well to control heat cycles throughout the winter, but that they strangely seem to lose their power as spring approached. Or worse still - that they did horrible damage to their horse's reproductive tracts.  Or were impossible to remove, without doing horrible damage to their horse's reproductive tracts.

So, although they were beautiful and fun to play with - I did not try the Marebles route.

Since this time a lot more research has been done into "The effect of intra-uterine devices on the reproductive physiology and behaviour of mares" and as far as I can tell, the jury is in - it doesn't work.

That said - if you are a bored camel driver in the Sahara looking for ways to pass the time and your friends catch you elbow deep in a camel - I think you could still save face by telling them you are implanting an apricot pit in her uterus. It is worth a try.