Tonight I lost my best friend, Chance. The one who whinnied the moment my car pulled up, would run away and wait for me to catch him only to turn around and run away again. He made me laugh, knew all my secrets and nuzzled me when I was sad. He taught me about unconditional love and having a positive attitude despite circumstances. He nodded when I asked if he loved me and gave kisses to get treats. He’s the 17.1 hand horse who would stand behind me and fall asleep as I did my school work and would get upset if any horse got near me but would never hurt a fly. He let children hug him and dogs run into his stall and let me dress him up with flowers. He loved rolling in the snow, laying in the sunshine, and would light up the moment he saw me. I’ll miss playing in the barn on cold nights and curling up reading in his stall when he wasn’t feeling well. I’m thankful that he waited for me to get there tonight to say goodbye so I could hold his head in my lap and talk to him while he passed. There will never be a sweeter horse with a more gentle and pure soul. Thank you, Bubba, for being with me through it all- high school, college, the break ups, the losses, the good and bad days. You gave one hell of a fight for 30+ years. Lucky and I will miss you- there will never be another you❤️ #myfavoriteredhead #chancewetake #20yearstogether #thebesthorseintheworld #myheart
I had the opportunity to work with a “horse communicator” today. She was recommended to me by an equine vet who, after reading my blog, felt that I would be open to the idea, and introduced me to her via email. According to the vet, she often works with this particular equine communicator due to her ability to point out exactly where the horse’s issues are, allowing the vet to adjust/manipulate/treat the main issue.
I chatted with her at length a few days ago as she explained the process and we scheduled an appointment.
Today I gave her a call, as she explained, connecting remotely allows for the horse to be in his natural setting without the influence of an unknown person. That way the horse could be relaxed and the owner can observe, ask questions, and engage. So, that is what I did. She went onto explain that sometimes the horse needs energy work in order to open up to the process and that the horse must trust the process, her, and obviously, the owner.
I was asked to have questions ready to ask my horse, along with something I would like to tell him at the end of the session. (If you have been following this blog then you will know I had some difficulty narrowing down a couple of questions- I have a lot! 😉 ) She began connecting with Chance.
I will not be able to convey all the details of what was said, Chance’s reactions, or even mine…It is almost a blur… I wish I could.
I was asked to feel around Chance’s right forehead/eye area for a lump or bump. I did as I was asked and didn’t feel anything abnormal…but remembered he had a gash that was healing right above his right eye. She informed me that he had a “headache”. She continued to move over him and explained that his “energy” was “blocked” on his right side. This makes sense…Chance has a “swagger” at the walk- he pokes his butt to the side and has a twist on the back right leg (Chance’s swagger has gone up and down- it was worse when he had the tendon issues, resolved after stem cell injections, came back when he got EPM, went away ish, and came back with his Lyme). While she was working on his energy, I massaged Chance’s back, neck, hip, and shoulders. She went on to explain that Chance had some right shoulder pain. Thankfully, Chance allowed her to work on his jaw (he pretty much has TMJ), his head, his back, etc. The energy was “pouring out” even on the hind end which, if I recall correctly, is commonly seen on horses with head injuries.
This is where my one question came in…I wanted to know what happened to Chance when he came to my college. I didn’t give many details…I didn’t know many details but I always wondered what may have happened on Chance’s trip down to my college.
I had gone off to college in January and decided to have someone trailer Chance down (about 3 and a 1/2 hours) once I got settled and found a barn, etc. Two months later Chance was arrived at her new barn. Despite the cool March weather, he was covered in sweat and was visibly scared. I didn’t inquire too much since he was in one piece and I chalked up the sweating and fear to exactly that- fear and anxiety. However, as the months progressed, Chance began bucking and rearing while under saddle….this was really strange..When he had left home we were doing dressage and jumping and he was sound and calm. Once again, I chalked it up to being in a new place- a barn that hosted Friday night Bullbucking no less. I decided to switch to a different farm, one preferably without bulls, even though the show was awesome to go and see, and work with a trainer. Still the behaviors persisted and the episodes of lameness increased. The vet finally diagnosed Chance with arthritic changes in his back and suggested I no longer jump him. I decided that summer instead of bringing Chance home and have him endure another long trailer ride, to board him at my new vet’s farm. Chance had the summer to recuperate while under the care of an equine vet.
Anyways, after that summer, I decided to retire Chance for good. I would occasionally get home him to walk around, I still can and do today. But, that was the beginning of a chronic condition that was never given a diagnosis. Instead, Chance’s symptoms were treated as they came.
Back to my session with my very own horse whisperer..
Chance “showed” her what happened on his trip to college- a trailer wheel falling off the side of the road. His head hitting one side of the trailer and slamming the other side. The pain. The concussion. His neck and back becoming misaligned. His jaw coming out of position. His body compensating. He showed the decline of his once functioning body- starting with the hit on his head, to his jaw, and his neck. Down his neck and through his back towards his hips and down his legs. The wear and tear of his body. Chance stated that he is still angry with the person driving the trailer; he wasn’t ready to forgive. I have forgiven them. I have no doubt it was a mistake and that there was no ill intent. But, I am not the one feeling the pain that he is. I am not the one who went from a racehorse to a jumper to practicing dressage to retirement long before I should have. And like the “horse whisperer” said, she will “hold the forgiveness for him until he is ready.” I will do the same.
She spoke of his time on the racetrack. Chance was happy to hear that he was being remembered for who he once was, and will always be to me- a strong, beautiful and crazy talented 17.1 hand red-headed thoroughbred and not a “weak old man” as he put it. When asked what his name was during his time on the track, he said, “Hot Stuff”, which could be a nickname and not his actual race name.
At one point during Chance’s session he fell asleep; standing in an odd way- hind legs spread out. Suddenly, his body gave out and he caught himself from falling. This entire time his eyes were still closed! They remained closed for another minute after this. His body reacting to something, perhaps a shift in his energies, and all the while he was a a state of peace; trusting that nothing bad would happen to him.
The session lasted an hour and a half. Honestly, we could have continued because of all the “blockages” but decided to stop for the day and pick up again another day. I was told that the effects of the energy work or Reiki, would continued throughout the week and that he would be emotionally vulnerable. As the session wrapped up Chance apparently said that he was the lucky one because I found him all those years ago.
Energy Work and Reiki Resources
Head Trauma and Headaches in Horses
I have been trying for years to read Chance’s tattoo. Unfortunately, the tattoo was faded even back in 2000 and has become that much more over the years.
I have tried everything I can think of to figure out his tattoo or gain any information that I can about his racing name- video, photos, lots of light, a flashlight, a blue light, red light, asking vets and dentists, emailing his previous owner, the farm where I purchased him, my past trainers, rummaging through my old files…nada!
I have searched for hours on Jockey Club using his markings (white marks on his face and legs, different letter and number combinations based on his age, and different variations of what I thought was his “racing name”). I have even done a guided search that came back with nothing.
Chance’s racing records do not matter in the grand scheme of things…it is more curiosity then anything else. Plus, I think it would be pretty cool to find out more about my guy.
So far all I have is;
Tattoo Number: T_____
Foaling Year: 1990
Head: Patch of white hairs mid to top of eye level
Head Cowlick(s): Median cowlick at top of eye level.
Neck Cowlicks(s): Middle of front of neck
Left Fore Leg: cornet white left side of heel white
Left Hind Leg: none
Right Hind Leg: some white on cornet band
Right Fore Leg: none
Body: top of head off center/right behind right ear small white patch
Other: left foreleg inside firing markings
Today Chance got his teeth floated by his very first dentist from 2000! Due to his cribbing history his front teeth were significantly worn down. His molars were not in bad shape but were a bit jagged. The dentist noticed that Chance’s left side was more sensitive to the filing and put a jaw opening device in C’s mouth to keep it open (see below right photo). The molars all looked like they were holding strong and there was no smell that would be indicative of an infection or decay. The dentist indicated that Chance was missing three back molars and that he felt that he was about 24 years old.
The dentist asked me about the nutritional care Chance was receiving due to his age, and I gave him the run down- 2 quarts twice a day of hay stretcher, hay/alfalfa mix throughout the day, 4 quarts of Nutrina Smart Feed Senior twice a day, 2 cups of Rice Bran twice a day in feed, SmartPak Senior Flex and Immune Boost, DuraLactin once a day for arthritic pain and inflammation, Vitamin E once a day, and Transfer Factor for an immune system booster. He continued to explain that when he asks the owners of most of the older horses he goes to sees, they do not have them on the proper diet. I explained that we are still trying to get more weight on Chance but that he has put on a good amount of weight since last summer. He suggested that our next appointment be this December before Chance has the opportunity to go into the winter and lose any weight, which is common in older horses, especially cribbers and thoroughbreds, in the winter months.
Later that day, Chance seemed to have some difficulty eating his hay; wads of hay were scattered around his stall. This is something that I have seen intermittently, maybe once or twice, but not to this extreme. I decided to give him alfalfa cubes to substitute the hay until the next day when, hopefully, he would be able to eat more easily. Sure enough the next morning there were no wads of hay!