Friday, September 26, 2008

Wear Me Out Day

At Least It's Been Interesting

When I went out to feed this morning, Toby was limping badly. I checked his foot, and sure enough, he had sprung his shoe and had stepped on the clinch, exactly as Tucker had done.

Out came the soaking boot. Out came the epsom salts. Out came the Icthamol. Out came the vetrap and the duct tape. Been there. Done that. Called the shoer. "My" Scott is still laid up with his shoulder surgery recovery so I'm not sure who will be here or when. Meanwhile, Toby is stuck in his stall, which is fine as it's raining.

Off to school I went in a bit of a rush since the doctoring had taken up time I usually need to get ready.

Took care of homeroom and started first period class and then my substitute teacher came in so I could go to the theater/auditorium for a reading of my driving play before the Superintendent of Schools, her Assistant, and our Principal.

I am generally pretty modest about what I do, but this time, I have to say something. Honestly, I wrote this play. I know it. But when we reached the last few pages, I was on the verge of tears. Not because of how well the students read but because of the story--the play itself. It got to me and choked me up totally. One of the episodes tells the story of a young driver who falls asleep at the wheel and drives off into the river. Her ghost is there, unaware that she is dead as a newswoman reports on the accident. The girl keeps trying to tell the reporter her name, pleading to be heard. Then the other young accident victims add their voices. Somewhere in that scene I just started to choke up. It was really powerful.

When we finished, I discovered I was not the only one so moved. The three administrators were close to tears and the theater teacher told me the play needed to go to one of the local professional theaters for their special program. Apparently, it was that good.

I am really pleased to think I may have moved people to think about how all kinds of driver errors can ruin lives in such an effective way. I'm quite excited about seeing the full production in a few weeks.

HOWEVER, and there is always a "however" at Vo-Tech High School, the Superintendent wants me to "clean up" some of the language. So, here I am with a teenage play, with real teenage voices, and I can't use their language. I went back to class and workshopped with my senior writing class and came up with some alternatives to using (Please be not offended) "shit" in about five places. This was a heavy metal rock musician talking in the play and one really rebellious teenage girl. Oh, well. I guess it's the pain of being a writer. (No one has paid me for writing this, either, so it was free labor for the school system. Maybe a reward in heaven??? I am a professional writer as I have been paid for my words in the past......)

Later, the Principal dropped by my classroom just to reaffirm how wonderful he thought the play was. He said he started thinking about his own children and all of a sudden just started tearing up.

So all that was good.

I had requested personal leave starting at 12 PM today so I could get home for the vet.

The Vice-Principal completely ignored the 12PM time and scheduled a substitute teacher for 12:30, and official half day. When I called in over the intercom, she said I was welcome to leave if I could find someone to cover my class.

My associate whose room is just across the mini-hall from me would have, I am 100% sure, been willing to help out, but she had gone somewhere for lunch and I was stuck. There was no way to contact any other teacher in the building, so there I sat.

One of the students kindly loaned me his cell phone so I called my vet's office. Dr. Perez was already on her way, but they notified her I would be late and assured me it was OK.

I let my class go about two minutes early and rushed out of the building. It took me, my some miracle, less than 15 minutes to get home. And the vet was already there.

So now, the Tucker report.

Lunging, trotting in hand, showed nothing with Tuck except PERHAPS a slight misstep once or twice in his left front, that hoof he'd lost the shoe on.

So, I saddled him up, trotted him off, asked for a right lead canter and....buck, refuse, kick out, all that nasty stuff. Then I tried the left lead. Buck, refuse, kick out, all that nasty stuff.

We unsaddled him and (by the way my vet has a wonderful assistant who did the in hand trotting for me since I cannot run due to my knees) did flexion tests on all four legs.

Just a little reaction, but is was beginning to look like hock soreness. Once inside the barn, Dr. Perez checked Tucker's acupuncture points and once more, hocks, with the left being a little more reactive than the right.

That would explain a lot. First, the left hock would cause a problem with the right lead canter depart as canter leads demand a twist that puts stress on the outside hind. (That's why it didn't make sense if it was his right--the usual--stifle causing the issue.)

Second, it would also explain why he was worse after I had done the hill work. As Caroline well knows, hills and sore hocks are not a good pair. In essence, my attempts to treat his stifle were actually making things worse.

The treatment? Adequan injections for about a month. Every four days. I will also give him some bute to see if it makes a difference.

We opted out of hock injections at this point since we all know the first injection will lead to more down the road for sure. Toby used to get sore hocks as well and reacted much the same as Tucker, though less belligerently. I did inject his hocks perhaps twice in 10 or so years, but we found that three Adequan injections usually brought him "right as rain" without invading the joints.

Tuck's soreness is very slight, so I am hoping we are not running into more chronic problems. But time will tell. As I have said repeatedly, if one of my horses is limited in what he can do, it's fine with me. My ambitions don't much drive me anymore. While I have dreamed of training at least one horse to Grand Prix, if I don't get there, it's OK. I've taken two to Intermediare I, and that's a pretty big accomplishment. All I do need to do is teach a horse to piaffe and passage, and that's that. (I did the one tempi's on PJ so that's been done too.)

Hey, Chance??? What do you think about learning to passage???


  1. Oh long post. I am so pleased about your play. But they do not give you much slack from it, don't they? Booking the teacher for 12:30 instead of 12 ... I think you have demonstrated your worth more than once.

    Do not delay retirement!

    Poor Tuck! I hope the injections will work their magic!

  2. Mmm. Sorry to hear that. Hocks and downhill in particular = bad news.

    Your play sounds fantastic. How dumb about the language changes, it was hardly extreme, was it?