4 years: my favorite memory

4 years ago I said goodbye to my Hayley Horse.


Favorite face

I told myself that, this year, I wouldn’t be sad.

So instead, I’m just going to share my favorite thing about her.


Best friends. Always. 

Hayley was always food motivated. She was similar to Batty in that she ate first and thought later, but she was very vocal in her thoughts, similar to Jiminy.


Waiting for breakfast, probably. 

She was NEVER afraid to tell you when you were late with breakfast or dinner or just moving too slowly for her comfort level. After all, with breakfast (or dinner or tea), it was a matter of LIFE or DEATH and we all should hurry up and FEED HER.


Eating a million miles a minute. 

So, after we moved her home, she quickly discovered that we had the house’s corner bedroom. In the morning, she would wait until the light went on and start screaming for breakfast. In the spring and fall months, if the windows were open, she’d start sooner, and the screaming would start the MOMENT the alarm would go off. So, you’d have an alarm, and you’d have a secondary alarm of HAYLEY yelling in the background. And, if you were to look out the window? Hayley would be staring straight at you, wondering why the hell you weren’t downstairs prepping her breakfast.


Best chestnut mare EVER

That was Hayley. Food driven and highly impatient.


The Three Chestnuts. Never to be replaced in my heart. How much Hayley and Batty looked alike even thought they didn’t. 

Jiminy has tried to take on the vocal horse, but he has BIG shoes to fill.

I’ll always miss her, but I’m happy she free of pain and health issues.


Her favorite thing. 

Happy (?) 5 Year Anniversary

Some people celebrate birthdays. Some people celebrate memorials. Others celebrate other life changing events.

And I’m not sure how life changing or momentous this event was, but it’s something I try to think about because it certainly was more life changing than I like to admit.


And that was that. I’ve talked about it before on this blog. I remember it, but I don’t. It’s blurry. If you want to know what happened, read the blog I linked to.

The thing that bothers me the most about that day is that it completely ruined my relationship with Hayley. It shouldn’t have, but it did. There was nothing vengeful or malicious about the kick. She wasn’t targeting me, she was aiming at Batt, but more than anything, she, my crippled mare, was feeling good. With all her health issues, was feeling good. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, untying a freaking knot of all things and got kicked in the head.

So I play the if only game.

If I had stayed at work instead of coming home early due to a headache, I’d have been fine.

If I’d have come home, but NOT fed and left if to my husband instead, I’d have been fine. After all, he always fed that meal.

If I had left the damn hay net alone, I’d have been fine.

If I had let myself fall into the mud instead of refusing to fall, I’d have been fine, after all, the second impact, the “catching myself” may have caused more injury than the initial kick.

If I had argued with the ER doctor who told me I was fine when I knew I wasn’t.

If I hadn’t gone back to work when I knew I wasn’t fine just to prove a point.

If I hadn’t waited until I couldn’t talk to see my primary care doctor (not exactly true, I called and made an appointment, but the office took my word which was the ER doc’s word that I was fine. That was what he told me. No fracture, no concussion), I’d be fine.

If I had done any of the above, my migraines wouldn’t be as bad as they are now.

The what if, they don’t help. But, they give an overly analytical person stuff to obsess about.

And the truth of the matter is, I had migraines before this happened. I left work BECAUSE of a migraine. Just not a bad migraine. And, I’d had bad spells before this. And, my neurologist has told me that he’s not convinced this concussion has played role in my current situation.

But, I never had speech issues at all before this concussion. I get the speech issues now when I’m stressed and a migraine is coming on. That said, speech issues are a symptom of migraines.

So, looking back 5 years, I consider the what ifs because that’s be, but I also remind myself that there are what if that are so much worse that I try not to consider. And for that I am grateful.


The sweetest mare there ever was

4 years.

Yesterday marks the 4 year anniversary of a day that really changed my life in ways I had no way of knowing.

4 years ago I came home from work a little early (I had a migraine and I think I just wasn’t feeling work and wanted to lay down) and went out to feed Hayley her “tea.” Hayley got a mid day meal we called tea. Normally Erik fed and he had the routine down, but since I was home first, I decided to feed. So, part of the routine was clearing everyone out of the paddock/shed so I could feed her. I decided to untie the hay nets first and had her bucket waiting in the lawn.


It was muddy and for some strange reason Batty was hanging out in the shed (he uses the shed when there’s food in it and when it’s raining or snowing). So I went it and starting untying the nets. Hayley runs in and sees Batts and charges out, bucking. ***Please keep in mind, this was my crippled mare.***

On her way out, she bucked and clipped me in the head. Remember that there was a whole lot of mud in the shed. I fell forward, grabbed the shed to stop myself from falling snapped my head back, basically rocking my brain around my skull a few times. But, I didn’t fall in the damn mud. Anyway, somehow I didn’t lose consciousness and got myself out of the paddock  with the hay net (I think the hay net ended up on my bed), but I don’t think I fed Hayley. Details are fuzzy. Looking back, I actually don’t have a lot of memory of this beyond what I’m writing which is freaky.


Sweet, innocent Hayley. I feel guilty that I never trusted her completely again. And I tea was 100% my husband’s responsibility. I could do breakfast and dinner but not tea. 

So I called my husband, argued with him about going to the ER when he got home (I was in the against column), called my aunt, chatted her for awhile (in all honesty, I was trying to stay awake and alive and conscious), and then I looked in the mirror, saw the shape of a hoof on my forehead and agreed to go to the ER when my husband got home (I’m sure he’d have made me go, but…).

Of course, the idiot ER doctor was the start of my problems. After determining that I had no skull fracture (thank you for being barefoot Hayley — I’m actually paranoid about putting shoes on anyone now — I’d likely be dead) the idiot told me since there was no fracture, I had no concussion. I mean, I didn’t help by arguing I was fine, but anyone could tell I wasn’t. I was told to follow up with my primary in 3-5 days and take ibuprofen if I felt pain. And maybe I could use some ice, but only if absolutely necessary. And there was no reason not to go to work.

So, the next day, feeling like crap, light headed, sick to my stomach, with a pack of ice, no sleep, and near constant ibuprofen, I went to work. By noon, my boss sent me home and wouldn’t let me work my weekend shift. At some point I made an appointment with my primary care doctor’s office and they couldn’t see me until the following Wednesday. I can’t remember if I tried to go to work Monday and failed or if my boss banned me until I saw my doctor. By my doctor’s appointment, I couldn’t drive, walk in a straight line, or, guess what, talk in full sentences. I could get half formed words and that was about it. Holy concussion. And it got worse from there.


(Weird backwards computer selfie…) Dropping black eye. You can see the mark on my forehead above my eye where I got kicked. If you look at my other eye, you can see bruising is starting and a second black eye is forming. They both ended up black. 

So my doctor was furious at the ER for being stupid. Furious at his office for hearing the words “kicked in head” and “head injury” and NOT getting me in immediately and fearful that the idiot ER may not have order the right scans or failed to read them right (thankfully, in we were clear in both cases as the ER did something right).  So, I was out of work for a couple of weeks until I was cleared… With the warning to avoid future head injuries…

That said, 4 years later, I still deal with some post concussive syndrome stuff. When I’m tired, I lose words. When I’m stressed, I lose words. When I’m overwhelmed, I lose words. It appears, losing words is my lingering symptom. All of this was made worse by not resting right away after the concussion. While I didn’t have any immediate concussion symptoms, they can take a 1-2 weeks to show. That’s why it kills me when people are so sure they DON’T have a concussion (me included this past fall…). The kick was a huge part of mine, but the not falling and catching myself was actually the likely larger culprit for my problems. I saw an improvement after a year, but at this point, I think the rest of it is here to stay.

I’ve also always had migraines, but this concussion seemed to move me from the acute-to-chronic category (8-15) to the chronic category (20+).



Goodbye Hayley

It’s taken me a little bit to write this entry.

We said goodbye to our Hayley last Thursday morning (12/11). It was the hardest decision, but in the end, the only right decision to make. She went quickly. Really quickly. Her body was just ready to go. My husband, FIL, and 2 very good friends were there for it. So grateful for everyone.

We miss her like crazy but that’s why the decisions like this are so completely hard. Be free Hayley, be free.

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Fearing the end.

I think my Hayley Horse is reaching the end. I’ve thought it before, but she’s dogged too many bullets and I am pretty sure this is it. I’m holding back tears and I type this. I’m not ready, but at the same time, I can’t keep holding on. It hurts more than I can describe.

Nothing necessarily happened, but maybe that’s the issue? I pulled blankets today because it’s going to be warm and rainy for a couple of days and I’d rather everyone be in rain sheets than in medium/heavy weights. Unfortunately, in the last couple of weeks, Hayley has dropped weight. Semi significant weight. She’s fed like crazy and eats like crazy, but she can’t hold on to the weight any more. We’ve had some scares and she always pulls through, but she’s eating her weight gain regiment and she’s still loosing.

My Hayley has issues. Navicular, arthritis, and chronic diarrhea. She’s got horrible hooves and soundness issues, but she’s the world’s sweetest horse. She used to be an easy keeper but somewhere in the last few years, following a founder scare, life has just been hard. Her diarrhea has gotten worse and keeping weight on her has been hard. Now I fear it’s impossible. She looks bad. If she came out of winter looking like this, we’d have a chance. But going into winter? No way. Right now she gets almost 10lbs of triple crown senior, almost 10lbs of alfalfa cubes (pre-soaked weight), beet pulp, and about 1.5lbs of Buckeyes Ultimate Finish fat supplement. She also gets (mostly) free choice hay (free choice when a round bale is out, 20-30lbs of hay in between round bales). She’s the low end of the herd, but she’s locked up during meal times and she doesn’t leave the hay pretty much ever. There is only so much I can do.

Before I make any decisions, I’m going to give the vet a call in the morning and schedule an appointment to get blood pulled. Maybe she’s anemic. Maybe she has thyroid issues. But my gut says this is unlikely (though I can certainly hope). All I know is she can’t go into winter looking like this. But, I’m not ready to say goodbye. There’s only one Hayley Horse. I love my boys to death, but they don’t have the sweetness Hayley possesses.

Time to start blogging!

It’s time I started blogging. I’d say again, but I never really go started to begin with. But, I need a way to stay accountable with my riding/horses as well as a good forum for me to vent about my horse related frustrations! Current plan it to blog to myself, but if anyone out there ever starts reading this, that’s OK too.

Who I am:

I am an (almost) 30-something (eek! how did THAT happen) rider who has been involved with horses for more than half of my life now. I started riding weekly a hunter/jumper lesson barn through high school. After high school, my mom stopped paying for my lessons and I started working off my lessons and riding 2-4 times a week. I also showed IHSA and learned a lot doing that. Somewhere along the way, junior year of college maybe? I started teaching up/downers in lessons/camp. I love teaching, but hate the drama surrounding it! Anyway, I’ve always been better on the ground then on a horse, but that’s OK with me. I stayed with the same barn for years, first buying my first horse, then through first “real” jobs and grad school. I eventually moved my guy to a self care barn, bought a second, then a third, then moved a few more times before finally settling in with my ponies in the backyard of the house I now share with my husband. I stopped teaching in 2010 because real life (aka real job quite a distance from barn where I taught with terrible hours) and recently started teaching again last year (at a new, less drama filled place) and am enjoying it again. I also lead trail rides in the warmer (non winter) months which can be enjoyable as well.

Outside the horse-world, I am a librarian.

What I do:

As I mentioned, I began riding hunter/jumpers. When did equitation through IHSA in college and showed hunters (minimally) when I got my horse. I’m not necessarily a competitive person and I never had the money to show as much as I needed to (both for me and my horse). I stopped working with a trainer years ago (terrible, but that’s life) and am learning here and there from many people. Right now, I just like riding my horses and having fun. I do a little bit of everything, but at this point, just consider myself a pleasure rider.

Who I ride:

I have 3 horses: Subi, Hayley, and Batts. They’re all chestnuts and are all in there teens.



Subi is my now 17 year old thoroughbred. My original. He’s the love of my life even though we’ve had some rocky years lately. I don’t do that much with him anymore beyond light rides and stuff, but hopefully, we’ll do more in the coming years.

Hayley was horse number 2. I love her to death though she does little more than eat. She’s about 14 now, but soundness is just not there (navicular plus some arthritis). She’s got major hind gut issues that no vets can figure out but right now she’s happy and comfortable so… I did hop on her for the first time in about 2 years last month and she was pretty sound. But, the next time I worked her, less comfortable. Hayley lives to eat and is the first to vocalize when breakfast should be served!



Batts was the 3rd edition (and final edition while everyone else is still alive) to the crew. I wanted desperately for him to by horse number 2, but my trainer/boss at the time wasn’t willing to part with him at that point. Of course, 1 year later she was… Batt was formally known as Batman and is now formally known as Batiste, but in reality, he’s just Batts of the Batthorse. He does need a Batman saddle pad though… Anyway, he’s as quiet as can be and safe, safe, safe. I think everyone needs a safe, reliable horse. I love him to death though the other 2 are way more cuddly and affectionate. Batt just likes food, galloping up hills, and walking down random driveways when we ride around through developments. He like motorized equipment like tractors, lawnmowers, and snow plows, and generally doesn’t make sense. He’s a strange guy buy he’s Batts.



Goals/plans for the future:

With the horses at home and finances an issue, goals are limited. I recently bought a trailer and hopefully in the future (when I’m comfortable driving), I can start taking the guys out for trail rides and the occasional lesson, and maybe even a schooling show or 2. More than that? Not in the cards, but as long as I can continue to have fun and enjoy my kids, it’s all good.

More blogs to come, 1 in honor of 2pointober!


Riding this afternoon with my friend Sandra. Having someone to ride with DEFINITELY makes riding at home easier. I’m so happy she’s been able to follow me and the kids wherever we end up. Yes, she gets a good deal to pretty much ride Batts whenever she wants (though it usually only ends up being 1x/week) for virtually nothing, but still, it’s excellent for me too. It’s freezing and frozen out, but the scary winds of yesterday are gone! We usually ride in the mornings, but when it’s so cold, afternoon should be better. Plus, Erik’ll be home from work and can babysit the needy dogs. They (read: Hermione) can’t stand that I’m home and they’re inside and they insist on crying (well, howling) the entire time I’m riding. They could be outside but they feel the need to start playing underneath the horses’ feet while I’m riding. They only do that when I ride… Thanks guys.

Sometimes the having the horses at home is a pain. Sometimes I don’t want to deal with mud (don’t get me started), frozen hoses, poop (Hayley’s endless diarrhea is another days post), and not being able to walk outside with the OMG FEED US WE’RE STARVING reaction from the herd (they’re waiting a the fence line by 7am each morning… probably earlier but it’s dark out so I can’t see…). But having them outside my bedroom window does have some good points.

Batts and Hayley attacking their morning hay.

Batts and Hayley attacking their morning hay.

Excuse the crappy cell phone picture. I was leaning out my window and trying to keep the screen from falling to the ground… Batts is on the left (ignoring me as usual) and Hayley is on the right.

So the plan for this morning is to go out and pick sticks so that the woods are cleaner for riding today. Hopefully we can have out trot track now.  Then I need to make a trip out to Walmart (my least favorite store, but convenience of location wins) to get a different sized picture frame so I can wrap holiday gifts. For some reason I can’t count…

Goals for the ride? To stay on. Seriously.

All kidding aside (maybe.), today’s main goal is to get Subi’s butt working. We’re going to work on a nice FORWARD walk. Then add in head carriage. Then if that goes well and he’s not dying (he’s super out of shape and we haven’t worked on this hard stuff for way too long), CIRCLES, still working his butt and moving forward.

I’d also like to get on Batts so hopefully Sandra will be willing to pony swap so I can work my leg some more. I’d love nothing more than even 10 minutes of no stirrups (well, love is an overstatement, but I need it!). Plus, even if she just walks on Subi, it does make me feel better so watch someone else on my horse.

If all else fails? Back up plan is a “trail” ride, or rather, a ride through suburbia. Then Batts can be disappointed that he doesn’t get to go down every driveway. I’m convinced that horse is looking for a new home. He loves nothing more than to walk down driveways. Streets aren’t necessarily exciting, but driveways? OMG. But really, the goal is work.

And if I survive all that, dinner at the in-laws tonight (it still feels so strange to have in-laws). My mom, her husband, and my aunt will be there too, but… Raclette! Nothing better than raclette!

As an act of accountability. I’d better be back tonight/tomorrow to report on today’s ride.


It’s crazy windy out today. I thought I was going to blow away when I went out to feed this morning. It was scary windy. The dogs kept freaking out because the front storm kept blowing open. Evidently a self opening door is really scary to the dogs. Anyway, we all fought the wind and fed the horses then headed back inside for cover. It’s really that windy. We’ve all eaten now and are hanging out on the couch. The puppies think it’s nap time and I guess nap time requires that we all curl up against/on top of me. I love you guys but it’s a big sofa…

Hermione and Marble: Best Buddies

Hermione and Marble: Best Buddies

Anyway, it goes without saying. I love the crazy girls, but sometimes it would be nice to have a little space on the sofa…

Back to the wind. It’s not looking promising for a ride today. At this point, it would be downright dangerous. But, if it improves, I’ll go ahead and hop on  Batts. But, with the trees flying sideways it’s not looking too promising.

On Wednesday, not wanting to work before the department holiday party, I hopped onto Chronicle of the Horse and saw that Horze was having a blanket sale. Now, I have millions of blankets, well, at least I have enough that they don’t all fit into this trunk (I’m thinking about purchasing a second this spring when it’s time to put blankets away). That said, right now, the majority of my blankets are Subi’s… He’s got his to Rider’s that he wears regularly (med. and heavy), 2 old Statelines (light and med.), and a sheet. That said, I can’t remember if I ever fixed his light stateline as he busted the front last winter. Regardless, the statelines are going into their 7th winter and really just serve as backups at this point. His medium Rider is also 7 years old and the other Rider is 2. Batts has a Rhino that I bought used to Hayley the first year I had her so it’s going on winter number 4 with me. It’s several years older I’m sure. Batts also has a rain sheet that he ripped before moving home so I’ll need to repair that eventually. Then Hayley has a sheet, a stable blanket (I combine the 2 or throw the stable under her TO if it’s freezing), and a SmartPak pink blanket that fit her wonderfully, but now, not so much. She’s just lost weight the last year with all her issues, diarrhea, “founder” that turned out to be 5 abscesses between her 2 hind feet, etc. Ahh. She’s a walking medical bill.

Anyway. Horze. I’ve never ordered from them but buy 2, get 1 free was a deal I couldn’t resist. Plus, someone also posted a code for 50% off. I was able to get 3 blankets for the price of 1. With free 2 day shipping. Hayley and Batts used to have a spare blanket the shared, but it was on Hayley a week ago (it fit better than her pink one) and it died. It’s been repaired to death and just wasn’t great anyway, so I can’t complain. But with all my long lasting blankets, this one was anything but. Anyway, I ended up with 3 of these blankets for $150 (1 spare for each kid though if it hold up, it might be Hayley’s main blanket). The price of one. 2 in black, 1 in teal. Evidently later in the day the company changed it so that the code and the sale couldn’t work together but they worked together when I ordered. Awesome. Best yet, the blankets showed up Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after I placed my order.  Anyway, I threw one on Hayley this morning and it’s a pretty decent blanket. First pretty well too. We’ll see how it holds up, but it looks decent. She was a jerk while I was trying to put the blanket on (Subi was still eating so she kept trying to help him along… oy.) but it’s on and seems to sort of fit. The high neck is a bit odd (I never get high neck blankets), but other than that…

On a non horse/dog related topic, my new ice skates FINALLY arrived. It’s only been 2 weeks, but I’ve been inpatient and my feet hurt too much to skate in my old ones. Anyway, I called the pro shop yesterday and got word that they had just arrived so I went over at lunch (having the ice arena on campus is super helpful). The fit so much better than my old pair. 1/2 size smaller and a wide width seemed to have a huge difference. Anyway, they’re heat moldable so they baked for 10 minutes then I got to stand in them for another 10 minutes after they came out of the oven. But, as I said, they were so comfortable. I can’t wait to try them on the ice. They’re stiffer than the old skates, but they fit! My feet have been in so much pain lately that I haven’t wanted to skate (so I haven’t since my lesson last week). I have a couple weeks to get used to them before the next LTS session starts in January. I’m not bothering with privates until group class starts again either. Best yet? Pro shop took back my old skates (since he fit me incorrectly) and charged me the difference between the 2 pairs. Since new skates weren’t in the budget (not that blankets were either…), $68 for skates was much better than the $230 that the pair would have been.

new skates!

new skates!

In other purchases, I also got a food processor this week. I. Need. To. Stop. Spending. Money. But, I did need the food processor and it was on sale and it’s pretty so…

Anyway, hopefully the weather will improve and I can at least hop on Batts…