T: I noticed we practiced trailer loading the other day. Am I going somewhere?
Me: No, I was just making sure it was a skill you could still perform since we haven’t been anywhere in awhile.
T: Am I fully recovered? Am I able to travel?
Me: I was hoping you could tell me.
T: ***stares blankly***
Me: Well then, I think you have done phenomenal in your recovery. We ride a few times a week and you are building strength and have lots of try to do whatever I ask and you seem to grow more and more confident in your movement…as do I. On the other hand, I feel like we have hit a bit of a plateau on some of your sticky spots. You are not tripping frequently like you were right before your diagnosis, but you still trip more than you ever used to pre EPM. At the canter there are times that those back feet move in unison as though they are stuck together instead in a nice 3 beat rhythm like they should. These two things make me believe the connection to your brain and feet are not 100% restored.
Me: As for taking you off property, it’s quite the rabbit hole for me emotionally, buddy. The other day, while running, I saw a woman out on the trails, just her and her horse. It made me LONG for the days we got lost in the woods together, just the two of us. It made me reflect on all the fun times we’ve had with friends while laughing on horseback. The thought of trying again appeals to me but it also scares me. And, if I am completely honest with myself…feels a bit selfish. Because I don’t believe you are 100% I think you are a stability risk on the trailer. Maybe even on the trails. I also have concerns over the stress that travel will cause you.
T: I’m a pro at travel!!!!
Me: You are!!!! The best horse I know at it 🙂 That being said, I am not naive’ enough to think that travel doesn’t cause, even you, a fair amount of stress. Stress is a big factor in EPM relapse.
T: So what happens now?
Me: My conflict and angst over taking you away from home has led me to the conclusion, that it is just not time. I’m not ready to take this particular risk so I’m kicking the question of trying to get you off property down the road. I have a backpack trip coming up, which means I need to train and spend miles on my own two feet anyway. This gives you more time and will give me more information. We’ll continue doing what we are doing; working in the arena, riding our property and neighborhood and spending time building strength online. In late Spring I can re-asses what I think about taking you places. It may be time to go somewhere for a ride, it may be time to decide that our trail days are over or it may be time to kick the decision down the road even further. At any rate, it feels good for me to have settled on a decision, a path forward that makes sense to me. What do you think? Do you miss being on the trails?
T: I’m a horse. I live in the moment. I’m not like a human who laments over an activity that we used to do. I’m happy to have the physical and mental stimulation that is being provided in our time together. I don’t much care if it is a trail at the local park or the road at the end of our driveway. It’s all the same to me.
Me: I’m happy to hear that buddy. Even if you are just saying it to make me feel better.
T: What I think we need to spend our time focusing on is a formal snack plan. I think the regularity with which they are being doled out is quite infrequent, inconsistent and unacceptable.
Me: It’s good to know SOME things never change.