Sunday, July 21, 2013

Working Vacations

I tend to schedule vacation time so that I can go "work" at other "jobs".  Our staycation in May was pretty rare; it's not often I schedule time off of work with nothing planned other than having fun.

Last week, I took the week off so I could work a private health fair that earned me enough money to pay for my new baby. It was a few really early mornings, and I don't like mornings.  I think it's uncivilized to be up and moving before the sun bothers to make an appearance.  However, I enjoy working with the crew I had and I'll enjoy my new baby even more, so it was worth it.

As I was going through my emails last week, I came across a two-fer coupon for a Michael Jackson tribute show, HIStory II.  Jay and I had talked about going, but took one look at the prices and decided not to.  Buuuuutttt, with the two-fer, the price wasn't so bad.

So we went.

And had a great time.

I love to do stuff like this; if I ever won the powerball (in addition to everything else I'd want to do with the money), I would totally buy season tickets - the 2013-2014 line up for the Lincoln Center is amazing.

Now, I'm packing up to head down to Julie Goodnight's place - it's time to shoot the Colorado Episodes of her TV show, Horse Master with Julie Goodnight.  Heidi, her producer, always works us hard, but I learn so much and have a ton of fun that it's absolutely worth it.  If you're a horse owner and you haven't watched it, you should give it a go.

I can tell you honestly that nothing on the show is faked; I've been working with the show for about five years.  Each episode is filmed in a 24-hour period.  Julie watches the horse and rider/handler, gives some teaching (like in a clinic), the horse and rider go work on the new skills, and come back the next day for the "after" footage.  The change in the horses and riders/handlers is astounding.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Not A Perfect Day

Yesterday, I lost the equine love of my life.

Despite that, and the ensuing heartbreak, I have a lot to be thankful for.  First, Mom immediately identified the colic and started treatment.  One of the wranglers from the livery was able to give Estes some IV banamine to ease her pain until the vet arrived.

Bill called me at work and my coworkers were wonderful; I had another instructor cover my class, so I was free to head up the hill as soon as I got my class started on their project.

The vet beat me to the lodge by about 45 minutes, so by the time I got there, Estes was gorked out of her mind and in no pain.  Mom had stood with Estes' head in her hands for three hours by the time I got there.  I loved on Estes and allowed her to graze (even though the vet wasn't super excited about it) for five minutes or so.  My mindset was that if this was her last day on earth (which we didn't know at the time), I was NOT going to deprive her of a few mouthfuls of grass, especially if she wanted it.

I was cautiously optimistic that she was looking better, though I knew it was probably due to the drug cocktail flowing through her system.  I went to bed hoping that she'd be feeling better when it was time to give her her 3:00 am dose of banamine.  She was resting quietly and didn't seem to be in any distress in the wee hours of the morning, so I loved on her and gave her the meds.

At 6:30 am, Compass called and said I needed to get over, that Estes was down.  I'm thankful that Compass was up that early and thought to look over at our pen.  By 7:00, her pain was gone.  If Compass hadn't been up working with her horses, Estes might have continued to lay in her shed in pain until I got up at 8:00.

Things just kind of fell into place.  I had the means and ability to end her suffering and I was surrounded by people who cared.  Mom and Bill were amazing.  I was alone when I put Estes down, but they were there within seconds, sobbing right along side me.  I know it hurt them as much as it hurt me to lose her.

I don't know what I would have done without them.  While I managed to find the strength to do what needed to be done, I did not have the strength to cover her with a tarp.  I couldn't do it.  So Mom and Bill did.  Estes had bled on her halter and I was going to just throw it out, but they took it off of her and Bill washed the blood out for me, all without saying a word.

They helped me figure out what to do with a 900# carcass, which wasn't easy.  I don't own any property, so I couldn't bury her - I had to figure out what to do.  Mom put in a call to their neighbor who owns heavy equipment and had to leave a message.  He does a lot of construction projects around the area, so they were prepared to go hunt him down to see if he could load Estes onto the truck.  Rarely does he ever check his voice mail, so it was a surprise when he called back.  Bill told him what we needed and he was at the lodge within five minutes.

Bill oversaw the details that I couldn't handle.  I stayed in the lodge while their neighbor put her on the back of the truck and then Mom and Bill re-tarped her and strapped her down.

I was going to follow the truck down to the rendering plant, but Bill suggested that maybe he follow me.  It's the little things that I wouldn't have thought of.  I'm glad that I wasn't behind the truck, watching my tarped baby ride along.

At the rendering plant, Bill stayed with me while I paid for her disposal and then I climbed back in the truck so I didn't have to watch them unload her.  I did, however, watch them once they got her off of the truck - I couldn't NOT watch them take her away, but they did it gently and, I feel, with dignity.  She still managed to look regal.

Not only am I super thankful that Mom and Bill were with me every step of the way, I'm unbelievably grateful that there are people who do the jobs that the rest of us couldn't imagine doing.

Jay and the kids were shell-shocked, I think.  Really, so was I.  Yesterday I was numb.  Today, the numbness is gone, replaced by a deep sense of loss - almost that something has been ripped away from my soul.

My online friends rallied and brought me comfort throughout the day.  Mrs Mom wrote a beautiful piece about Estes that I would not have been able to compose. 

Ashinator posted this on Facebook, which still makes me cry:
this morning, the world lost one firecracker of a horse and holy cow- her and my mom were quite the pair. my whole heart is going to miss Estes, but knowing she's safe and at peace across the rainbow bridge makes it all just a little bit better.
And Rachel spent a great deal of the night texting with me since I couldn't sleep.  She also sent me this amazing picture of me and Estes:

Despite it being a horrible day, it could have been much worse if things hadn't fallen into place the way they did.

Today, this is my theme song.  It's called "Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On" by Jimmy Buffett.  I suspect it will be my theme song for the next bit as I adjust to not having her in my life.