Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy new year/happy birthday to all the Thoroughbreds, and cherish every moment with your horse!

Five years ago, I lost my job and had a difficult time finding a new one largely in part because I can't hear the way most people do. The experience ignited frustration and I decided to start a blog as an outlet for my stress. But the first blog was too unfocused and negative for my taste. It had just one post, but one was enough. After a couple days, I deleted the blog.

As a creative type with a degree in writing, however, I enjoyed the process of spilling my thoughts into an internet journal with a potential audience. I had to start anew, and so I did--with this blog. This time, unlike the deleted blog, I decided to focus on my life as a deaf equestrian.

Early posts aimed to be both educational on deafness, as well as a fun tribute to my beloved mare, Limerick. Over the past five years, the blog has evolved. It is still a fun tribute to my beloved girl, but also a venue for me to share my thoughts, experiences and photographs of the world of horse racing. I don't remember the last time I wrote a post about deafness, but that's okay--my hearing hasn't changed one bit, so the principle of the blog still stands!

As I enter my fifth year with this blog, I would like to begin incorporating more posts about the racing world. I plan to give the blog a makeover to represent this desire. And don't worry, I'll still post plenty about Limerick--how can I not, as she is my muse! Besides, as an off-track Thoroughbred (OTTB), she already fits perfectly within the ecosystem of the racing world.

Speaking of years, last night I reflected upon my years with Lim as I hand-walked her in the indoor arena. She is still recovering from the hematoma on her butt (I'd say she is about 75-80% better) and I incorporate some light hand-walking when I can. Unfortunately, she has also been a bit foot-sore because she was trimmed by the farrier on Friday and the ground in turnout has been rock-hard. As a result, our time in the indoor arena has been devoted to half hand-walking, half scratching her itchy spots.

Although I do fret when Lim is recovering from an injury, I also value every moment I spend with her while taking care of her. It is at these times that I get a better look into the window of her personality, quirks and all! In instance, when I stand by her and scratch her withers then stop, she will do a 180 so that her other side is presented for me to scratch. And when I stop scratching that side, she will again do a 180 so I can resume scratching the original side. As I do this, her face stretches out long with bliss, her eyes wide and upper lip wiggling the air. Sometimes her whole body trembles and her head and neck bob up and down when I hit a particularly itchy spot, and sometimes she cranes her head around and rakes my arm or shoulder with her teeth in an effort to return the favor. And so it continues, until my shoulders and arms are burning white-hot and I can no longer scratch her.

Limerick is so many things, and this is just a part of who she is. I love moments like these, and treasure them very much.

At the end of our time in the indoor arena, I clip her lead shank back on. At the gate, I turn off all the lights and walk her outside under a canopy of stars. As we walk back to the barn, I always look up at the stars then at Lim, seemingly oblivious to their timeless existence--or is she?

I realized last night that a few short days after I watched my first Kentucky Derby in 1991, a mare named Amelia Bry foaled a little bay filly. The mare was 22 years old, and this filly was her ninth and final foal. This little filly would not grow to be a success at the track, nor would she grow to be a success in the show ring. But this filly--Amanda Bry, Limerick--did grow to be a huge success in my heart.

 The years are slow when your horse is young, but so fleeting later on...treasure every moment!