I've spent the last 10 weeks in a knee-high moonboot due to an old ankle injury that flared up over the summer. There will likely be surgery to fix the problem in the near future and that means a couple of weeks on crutches and more endless weeks in the blasted moonboot. It's frustrating and depressing. But today I decided to quit lamenting all the things I can't do and start figuring out what I can do in spite of the boot.
On weekends, I cheat a little and wear an inflatable splint inside my mud boot on the bad ankle. Under the pretext of keeping my moonboot clean for all the days I have to wear it to work, it gives me a much needed break from the halting half-limp gait the boot causes since none of my shoes are exactly the same height as the moonboot. I am very careful and do avoid uneven ground and pay close attention when I'm around the horses. With six horses it's pretty easy to get run over if you are not paying attention. But it feels so good to just to be able to walk level!
This morning I decided to bring each of the horses up one at a time for a private grooming session. I ended up only bringing five of the six up. The three year old was a little fractious and I decided not to push my luck. It was nice getting to spend a little one on one time with the five that I did bring up, but it didn't really satisfy my itch for horsey time. What I was really wanting to do was ride which is out of the question right now. I ended up feeling more sorry for myself after my grooming sessions than I had been before. I just kept running down the list in my head of all the things I can't do and all the things I'm missing out on these days. But then something snapped in me. When my kids were growing up and had a sour attitude about something, I would have what I used to call a 'come to Jesus meeting' with them and then send them to their rooms to change their attitude. After 10 weeks in the boot, my attitude was definitely sour and I wasn't even liking spending time with me. So I had one of those meetings with myself and decided to change my attitude. Just because I can't ride doesn't mean I can't spend time with the horses.
On weekends we sometimes put the horses up in the small front paddock to give the pasture a day or two off and the horses something new to look at. Since they were up front instead of in the big pasture, I was able to get to them without crossing any rough ground so I headed out. They noticed me when I came in the gate, they always do. Their heads come up, they stop munching for a few minutes to see if they can figure out why I'm there. My mare is particularly attached to me and has probably been feeling neglected since I have barely paid any attention to her lately. She took a step or two toward me and then waited. I walked on out to where she was spent a few minutes just scratching all the places she can't really reach. Then I stepped back and walked back the way I had come, to see if she would follow me. She did, she usually does. So I walked to the round pen and sat down on the mounting block we always have in there. She walked up next to me dropped her head to look at me for a minute ...then proceeded to nibble at the sparse grass around us. She was just out of my reach. I could have stood up and taken a step in her direction to scratch on her, but I decided to see if she would come to me. I raised both hands and made scratchy moves with my fingers. She looked at me like I'd lost my mind at first and then you could almost see the light bulb go off in her head ..'oh, you want to scratch me!' She took two steps toward me and then another and she was in range. I was able to scratch her chest and up her neck. A few minutes of that and she was ready for me to scratch her belly and finally her hind quarters. I sat on the mounting block the whole time and let her do the maneuvering. It wasn't what I wanted to be doing, but it was what I could do and it felt good.
My attitude is much better now. I know it will likely be March or April before I can ride again, but I'm okay with that. I am blessed to have horses not only in my life but right out my back door. I am even more blessed to a horse that can be a pasture ornament for six months or a year and still be a good ride when I finally get back on her. Yessiree, I am truly blessed.