Ughs bugs

My dad is coming from Florida to visit tomorrow. The house is not ready, but the barn is. He’s a city boy, so he won’t be able to tell. Still, the priorities are in order, are they not?

No! I can’t get the house clean, it is a wreck, and at the same time I’ve been going through this med change, which isn’t working. I still cry like a, well, like me; I still have no confidence and can’t drive or answer the phone. Or ride.

Poor little Zil. She is quite rotund from pasture grazing, and in the pasture are the bugs. Oh, they are bad this year, so hard on the horses. Especially on the chests, those parallel lines rising in a pyramid up to their necks, all full of bugs and aggravated by flies, just where the horses can’t get to them.

The first thing I did with her today was let her prance all around hubby as he tried to trim her hooves (bad big sister! No self-confidence gives the horse way too much advantage). She almost walked all over me, too. She wouldn’t stand still as I worked on her dreadlock either. She was fast losing respect for me.

The next thing I did though was to scratch her chest with a shedding blade. She didn’t do the lip thing most horses do when this is done–they’re in ecstasy. She rarely expresses this. Reserved, this one. She stood calmly, accepting the original-formula Swat® rubbed across the area. This ointment coats minor wounds while repelling flies. The stuff is pink and makes Zil look like she is going around with a gaping open wound on her chest.

Then I massaged her face with my fingers, both of us enjoying the intimate contact, the rubbing of her ears, the gentle stroking of her muzzle and scratching of her chin. Then I discovered the most detestable work of the bugs! Have you ever checked under a horse’s jaws in the deep cavity between them? Talk about a place where they can’t reach! Zil’s under-jaw is a deep, narrow, upside-down canyon, and it was full of crust and scabs. Terrible scabs. Oh, how she stretched her head out for my fingernails working under there! It took me about five minutes to scrape all the mess away that I could reach.

Then it was out with the Swat® again. She visibly relaxed as I coated the canyon with the ointment. That was probably one of the most special moments of her summer! It was special for me, too. I may have been feeling awful, but it was so divine to make her feel good.

I hope all horse sisters and brothers check this area while grooming your horses.

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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…

Whee!

Whee!

…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…

Zzzzzzzz....

Zzzzzzzz….

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

Ugh

Ugh

…but what do we know?

IT’S ALL WORTH IT!

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.

Across the water

There she is, across the water
waiting for me, unconcerned
head down, forelock wind-blown,
lips whiffling the snow
searching for the impossible grass.

There she stands, looking out
across the long forty, high and low, swept
like the gentle curves of her face
in seeming indifference

to my hand outstretched
across the deep cut, the ice,
the long drop, the innavigable
water, unsufferable as despair.

Her black tail veiling her fetlocks
her mane a labyrinth of snarls
she knows, but cannot show it
how broken my soul is

not to reach her. For I stand
not upon the bank
but at my window.

My fingers touch not the wind
but the frosty glass
not ten feet from my bed.

The wish for tears frozen inside
to be cried into her neck
remains searing

I know how to be healed
and my will alone

cannot move my feet.