Sometimes I really annoy myself. Sometimes I really let myself down. Sometimes I wish I could go back and change what I have done, but we all know you can't do that. That is life. Learning from bad decisions. Growing from mistakes. The most annoying thing is when you do something and you know you should have known better, but you did it anyway. I can beat myself up for days over these things.
Since our last event, maybe even a little before that, Penny has been not wanting to accept the contact. She has never really accepted it, but with each ride she gets fussier and fussier. She is great over fences because I don't touch her mouth at all, only through half halts. These past few weeks have been really trying. At the canter Penny has been an absolute nightmare. Grabbing the bit, running off, throwing her head in the air, and the other day she actually bolted on me and zipped around the arena a few times before I could stop her. She is never like that. This was after an already very frustrating ride. I will admit something I am not proud of - I lost my temper. When I was finally able to pull her up, I reached my arm out and smacked her upside the head. I'm embarrassed to even admit this. I don't know why I am even sharing this. But it happened.
Then, I realized what I done and just unmounted. Then, I started to cry. I never hit my horses. I never lose my temper. I guess I can't say that anymore because it happened, and I did. I just took Penny's bridle off and hugged her and said I was sorry. I don't deserve this beautiful horse and she clearly hates me. I can't ride her for shit and now all I want to do is have a pity party and cry all night. I have never in my life felt so guilt ridden as that night. I took Penny back to the barn and gave her a good brush, a rub down, and wrapped her legs. She worked really hard. It was more like a fight. I fed her her dinner and added some bute in case she was sore from the work. Maybe she was sore in general. Maybe that's why she is so unwilling right now. Maybe I smacked my sore horse who was trying to tell me something. Wow, I'm a horrible person.
A few weeks ago I checked her mouth after reading the judges comments -"horse is extremely unhappy in the mouth". Her edges were O.K but I noticed this strange edge of her upper right molar - it looked like a hook but it was almost like a new tooth growing. It was very very tiny. It was poking out the side but just barely. I did a little research but got no where and figured it must be a wolf tooth that was late coming in. I thought this might be what was bothering her, or maybe she was in pain in her hind end. Could be the mouth, could be the hocks, could be anything really. Could be her just being a red headed Thoroughbred mare.
|this is how we entered the ring - not happy at all|
Yesterday, still feeling blue about my actions, I was talking to my sister and telling her about Penny. She mentioned my vet was already heading to my moms (she works for him) and I should have him swing by after to check on Penny on his way back. What perfect timing. She set it up for me and after work he came by. He looked at Pennys mouth and commented that it sure was strange. It looked as though a sliver of tooth had somehow been embedded in her gums for quite some time and was now making its way to the surface. We figure the tooth either fell out, or broke off several years ago. Ever since it has been buried deep in her gum line right where the bit spot is. Slowly making its way out.
|sleepy girl after extraction|
|tooth splinter - the bane of our existence?|
The vet explained this would cause significant nerve pain, and that this is probably why throughout all her training with me and before me she has had issues with flat work and accepting the bit. With a little happy juice, a needle in the gums, he was able to extract the tooth splinter. The entire procedure took under 5 minutes. Her mouth should heal in a week and I will be able to start riding again. Only then will I know if that has been the issue all along. If she isn't better then we will do a full lameness exam with X Rays...but something in me tells me this was it.
I had a feeling it was pain related a long time ago, but I ignored it. I ignored it to the point where I got so upset and frustrated that I lashed out and hit my horse. This is truly unacceptable in my eyes. I know I'm not perfect, and it's these instances that remind me that I am still just human. I need to try harder though, for my horses. I'm sorry Penny. I'm sorry I ignored the signals. I'm sorry I took it out on you. I'm sorry I didn't understand, or chose to ignore. It won't happen again. I will not ignore what my horse is saying to me. This is a promise.
This is a promise I can't ever break.