Stormy the beautiful

This is a post about my beloved Stormy.

Stormy in the field

Stormy in the field


Lately I have been in agony. Not over Zil, but my first heart-bonded Arabian, Stormy, who in his late 20’s. He has lost all his appetite and is getting pathetically skinny as well as listless. My veterinarian prescribed furosemide which helped a little . . . he ate more and had more energy but I can’t afford to keep him on this expensive medication. He turns up his Arabian nose at beet pulp. He eats only a little of the soaked alfalfa cubes. He doesn’t even eat his senior feed. He just nibbles at his free choice hay, either in the safe confines of his stall or at the huge bale in the paddock.

In his stall at night when furosemide was started

He looks like a horse I would be horrified to see in a stranger’s field. He looks like a rescue horse that we would work hard to rehab. We have saved skinnier horses.  I take comfort in my attempts to make him comfortable. The frustration and helplessness are maddening, though.

I see the end coming. I can’t let him go on until he is in catabolism. I can’t see him suffer. Right now, though, his tail’s still a-swishin’ and his ears are pricked. He nickers when I come to him. When he’s done nibbling in the morning he wants OUT. He enjoys sleeping in the sun and eating sweet feed. He enjoys attention, being brushed, which is all he can manage. No longeing, and definitely no more riding.

Looking cute in winter paddock

Looking cute in winter paddock

From the above pic you can see how happy he is to be outside, and how interested and alert he is! ❤

I suppose you who have been in this position always wish you had ridden more, spent more time  . . . I hope I’m not alone in those feelings. They are a goad to my depression and alcoholism. I just hope to God I can tell when he tells me it is time. I’m pretty sure I will. I have no idea where to bury him.

Meanwhile, Zil is a fat pig and I have allowed her to become obnoxious under saddle.  I actually paid my daughter $10 to work with her on the trail because my confidence has dropped so low. I rode her mare, Zil’s gentle and trustworthy half-sister, Sunflower. My daughter , by age 16, had become an amazing horsewoman and trainer. Now she is 17! (I chose to pay her to ride Zil because she loves to ride her own horses and has never particularly been a fan of Zil. Until that day. They looked great together and both of them knew it!).

Now I am obsessed with Stormy and afraid, always, that I am not doing enough for him. I could leave him shut in his stall 24-7 so he will eat out of sheer boredom. But I let him out during several hours of the day because I believe his mental health is as important. I have to shut his stall, though, as he doesn’t have his own separate run and I don’t want the other horse getting into his stuff. He is happy to be let back in later in the afternoon.  Sometimes I go out the next morning and his alfalfa and senior feed are gone, which excites me to no end.

What has this to do with “healing horse?”

I don’t know because Stormy isn’t healing. He is the cause of a sense of responsibility that keeps me going though, even when I think I can’t move at all. For that, I am grateful.

Maybe someone out there can help with this. Depressed to begin with, and I am already saying goodbye to someone who is still here, not ready to go yet! My beautiful Stormy, I never felt worthy of you.

Under the apple tree

Under the apple tree


Saddle up against depression!

Sounds like a slogan for a fund-raiser, don’t it? Hmmm….Let’s wait till I’m manic and I’ll organize one. Of course, when the big day arrives, I’ll be too busy crying to participate. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve had a helluva week.

Okay, Big Sis, git yer dorky helmet and let's go already!

Okay, Big Sis, git yer dorky helmet and let’s go already!

There are many nicer pictures of Zil saddled up and ready to go…in this one she looks like a little Ute pony named Pinky, and tied to the wreckage of our old porch at that. However, I chose it for its authenticity…taken on 2/16/13, while I was in the midst of one of my worst, most relentless depressive stretches – punctuated by mixed manic mishaps – in recent memory (still in it, too). If it was warm enough at all, I’d determined earlier, I was going out with my little sister Zil every day, and I was being pretty good about it.

And, oh my gosh, so was Zil. That beautiful soul has either been meeting me at the gate or coming to me when I call her, every day. If you have read earlier posts, I referred in one to how stand-offish her nature has been, because of the way her mother whisked her away to the opposite end of the property when she was born, not allowing any imprinting to happen. So for her to be being there for me, actively, consciously, during this difficult time has been life-affirming beyond all expression.

I’m fairly sure most of us bipolar or depressed or other persons with MI have heard how essential exercise and sunshine and fresh air, with or without sunshine, are in the management of our conditions. Go out and walk. Go out and jog. Go walk your dog. Get your bike.

Ride your horse! Why, oh why, did I choose that one??

– (It must be pointed out here, of course, that exercise seldom serves alone as a management tool, and that even with all systems in place, not even a healing horse can prevent all breakdowns) –

Anyway, the horse thing. It’s not just the struggle to get out of bed, figuring out what to wear, getting shoes on (or deciding how much available energy there is to squeeze on how many layers of socks), and dragging-ass out the door that we all share in common. There’s also catching the horse…



…tying the horse up…

How can I get this annoying halter off?

How can I get this annoying halter off?

…sorting through the mental fog to locate special, specific, grooming brushes and then freezing fingers off…

Okay, what's the quickest way to get those dredlocks back?

Okay, what’s the quickest way to get those dredlocks back?

…and then she goes to sleep…



…waiting for yours truly to lug the saddle, saddle pad, bridle, etc….!



…but what do we know?


Our rides lately have been from a mile to four miles, depending on the condition of the county road, the fierce-ity of the wind (it’s been brutal but that generally doesn’t stop us), and most especially the effectiveness of our communication through the aids and, of course, telepathy. Our most recent ride she had her most epic spook since she was a three-year-old, at large sheets of black plastic blowing wildly off a decrepit trailer…boy, I was glad I had a saddle horn. No telepathy whatsoever.

So…my week. Despite our best efforts, I did have an episode during the week, which made it even harder to keep going.

So the next day, I pushed through my depression and self-loathing, and went out and saddled my faithful Zil again. Mainly because she was waiting. Zil helped me through the day, and got me back some self-esteem, too. Although nothing is certain, I know that riding is an essential help to keeping these occurrences to a minimum. I am thankful for her and for the strength of our family’s love and empathy for one another, without which I could not exist.

And we kept on riding. It’s called keeping the faith.

Blog for Mental Health 2013

I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project.  I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others.  By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health.  I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

I would like to thank Bipolar 2 Dad for pledging me and turning me on to this project!

I don’t even remember when I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1. I believe I’ve had it all my life, but my first diagnosis was clinical depression. I was finally diagnosed bipolar in early my 20s. I’m bad with dates, but I’ll never forget the words spoken, by my boss, on the phone, the night I lost my job as a medical technologist a few years ago:

“You don’t have to come back to work.”

Thank God.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve been on almost every medication in the book. Some combos worked for awhile, then stopped working. I believe I am on such a coctail now. It has only seemed to work. Unfortunately, after decades, even as a Christian, I am still searching for the peace and acceptance that so many fellow bloggers seem to be able to achieve.

A few fellow bloggers that I would like to offer to pledge to the Blog for Mental Health 2013:

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane Blog



The Sprightly Writer