Too Much Excitement

Picking up where I left off, the winter isn't getting better. I just want to get these few stories down so I can look back next year and marvel at how much better things are - ha ha!
Okay, story # 1:
A couple of weeks ago one of our three dogs, Max, ran away and our little dog Pepper went with him. Max and Pepper are both rescue dogs and Max has never learned to stay home (it may be because he was tied for three years before we got him). Anyway, he escaped wearing a leash, so we were doubly worried because if the leash got caught on anything he wouldn't be able to come home. It was 10:30 at night, and we looked for an hour, walking and driving up and down the road.
Finally, as we drove along, I pulled over and told Doug to walk in a driveway and look for tracks. Unbelievably, the tracks were there - it was like finding a needle in a haystack. Off we went, across a field and into a woods. I'll cut to the chase - I ended up falling through the ice into a brook we had to cross, and when Doug came back for me he fell in too. It was about -5, our flashlights were dying and we were a good distance from the road and our truck. We had to go back because we were both soaked - not only had I fallen through the ice, I fell down in the stream and then fell down over and over walking out. Gawd. We finally made it back to our cabin where we stay when at the arena site, and somehow Doug found the strength to get dry clothes on, fresh flashlight batteries and a charged phone, and he set out again. He wanted me to stay at the camp in case I needed to call for help, but I think he knew I couldn't go on. He called at midnight that he'd found them. Max's leash was tied round and round some trees and his back legs were tied together. Pepper was curled up at his side and they were both shaking like leaves.
Earlier that night Doug had asked me to put Nola in because the coyotes had been so close. The whole episode left us shaken. Here are some pictures of the dogs at the beach in front of our house.

 Max (Yellow Lab) and Nola (Chocolate Lab playing with jolie ball)


Adorable and insanely bad Pepper

Doug getting them ready to go home. He may divorce me for posting this picture of him in his pajama pants.

Story # 2:
A couple of days later, Doug fell off of a ladder while checking the barn roof for snow and ice load (we've had record snow fall). He broke a rib. I'm guessing most of you know how painful this is. Luckily I do, and knowing the pain he was in I decided not to kill him for going up the ladder when there was no one there.
All kidding aside, this was a real blow - our first winter in our facility and suddenly I was on my own as far as keeping things together in record cold and snow, at two places (home and arena site). There isn't much I can say about this. At one point my car battery was dead and I was stranded for days, I worked, I slept a few hours, I worked. 
At first I felt a little shaky, but then little by little something great happened. I had wonderful help (a horse crazy teen, Doug's brothers, a woman who boards there who's become a friend, our wonderful daughter and her equally wonderful fiance) and I started to get things organized as I'd wanted to do all along. 
Doug was out! I was in! Control was mine!!! :). I got chains on stall doors, set up a feed room, made the lounge loungable, etc. Each night I returned to a crackling fire in the camp and settled in with my dogs and kitten, a hot chocolate and Baileys, and a good book. Life was very good...

Story # 3
Until one of the boarders (another very nice woman - we are blessed) knocked on the cabin door one night to tell me Dan, my sweet Appaloosa, was cast (he's the cutie palomino with blanket in the sidebar).
I'd never had a cast horse before, but again we had a guardian angel. Our boarder knew exactly what to do (all the articles I'd read didn't help, go figure) and we got Dan up within a few minutes. He was a bit trembly at first so we made him comfortable in the arena for the night with hay and water. He came out of it unscathed but I found it very scary. Of course I lay awake most of the night convinced I heard horses kicking walls and at 3:00 am I had to go check everyone to make sure no one else was cast.They were all fine.
Finally, life could start to get back to normal...

Story # 4
Except that when I finally tacked Rogo up for our first good schooling ride in a couple of weeks he was lame! (It had been too cold to ask him to breath hard prior to this, so we just had walking rides.) By this point I'm shell shocked. I called the vet, who came out and did flexion tests and nerve blocks and couldn't diagnose anything. Luckily navicular was ruled out, but we don't know what it is. He appears sound at all times except when doing a very slow trot, when he's short strided in his left front. Ideas? Anyway, he has to go to the vet college in PEI, a 3.5 hour drive away in another province. His appointment is February 4. I could feel myself becoming fearful and very worried but it was also very removed, like I was watching from a distance. And then...

Story # 5
Both the teen and the boarder who help us, who have both become good friends, ended up in emergency this week, both for different reasons unrelated to the barn, but what a worry! Then our daughter had to go to emergency yesterday too. OMG, WTF??? They're all going to be okay, so that's the main thing. Meanwhile, I finally sort of had a melt down and had a great big cry, with my poor mother who is 90 and a rock holding me. That made me realize how unbelievably lucky I am and ashamed for losing it in front of her.
So currently we're in the middle of another blizzard, I'm home in Noel Shore and Doug is at Five Fires. We are very lucky to have such amazing family and friends.

And, I hope my next post will be somewhat dressage training related :).


Darlene Miller said…
OMG, Carol! I thought bad things only came in threes! No wonder you had a meltdown, I would have long before that! So glad that for the most part, everyone is okay. Surely, things are going to look up from here. Hugs to all of you, and kisses to all critters, even the bad ones. ;)
Michelle said…
Definitely too much excitement! SO glad your wonderfully persistent and loving husband found them, or they would have been goners for sure.

I ran Rogo's mystery lameness by my husband, who is an equine vet who specializes in lameness. He said it could be a suspensory, but he would be suspicious of a neck problem. Very common in dressage horses, and often shows up as front-end lameness…. I hope you can get whatever it is diagnosed and treated!
Anonymous said…
Entirely too much of lots of things - hope you get the good sort of things in large quantities soon!
TeresaA said…
well now that's a lot of excitement for one winter! I hope that Rogo ends up with being fine.
Unknown said…
Carol, If you ask me you deserved that cry and probably felt a hell of a lot better afterward. And, what a blessing to share that with your Mom and it must have made her feel wonderful to be able to be there for you even now....lucky you. I have had a similar winter...dogs in snares, dogs falling down banks and me falling down getting them, losing fingernails because of splinters, etc, not to mention the STUPID weather!!! But, I am not looking after a new facility but if anyone I know can handle it , you can with Doug and your wonderful new friends by your side. So glad you found your dogs...I know how precious they are to you. As far as Rogo goes, don't panic until you know you have something to panic about...these warmbloods seem to have more problems than other horses...we had the most amazing osteopath come see Elvis...can't wait to tell you about it. He had just spent over 10 days in PEI...we have to get together!!! Take care my friend! xo
T Myers said…
Boy do I know what its like running a farm alone (my husband is military and away right now). Especially in this deep has been rough for sure.

Glad you found your dogs - be careful on the ice!

Also, if your horse is prone to cast, deep bed your stalls. I always deep bed, cast can lead to colic...and no one likes that.

Here's hoping things get better!
Frances Holder said…
BAPTISM BY FIRE...the universe is testing your worthiness and you all passed with flying colours! After this winter you will be hard pressed to get too worked up over anything, no matter how tough it is. My hat is off to you Carol, well done. Your first season in the new digs and I bet it won't get worse than this one, its smooth sailing from here on in:)
Well I'd say that was enough for a while! Glad the dogs were found. We had a cast horse once and it's very scary but I'm happy it ended well. Hope Doug heals quickly and Rogo's lameness turns out to be nothing. A good cry in Mom's arms sounds like it did the trick to get you feeling a little better about everything. Don't be embarrassed, no matter how old you get you're still her little girl and I'm sure she didn't mind comforting you a bit.

We've had an awful winter too but nothing so bad as you. I look at it this way...January is almost over so there's only February ( a short month) and a few weeks in March so we're almost to Spring! Hang in there.
Lori Skoog said…
Good grief Carol! That's a little more than excitement. First of all, I'm glad you and your husband survived swimming in a creek in this ridiculous weather! What a relief that you and the dogs are ok. And all that activity at the barn...keep us posted please. Sounds like you got some good things accomplished while you were "in charge." Hope things are improving with Rogo.
OMG, Carol. This is nuts! Stay out of the frozen creek. I'm glad Doug only broke a rib -- falling from a ladder is really dangerous. Keep us posted on Rogo.
juliette said…
Oh, my, I just don't know what to say. Cry, cry, cry - get it all out. You deserve a medal and I think crying is really good for the soul. It doesn't make you ungrateful - you still can be grateful for the friends and support but this is all too much!

Sooo happy you have your pups back. What a terrible scare. Love and healing to you all - dogs, Doug, Rogo, Dan, Daughter, friends.

This winter - ugh!
Stay warm and safe. Try to relax and stay calm in the midst of this storm and the next one. You are strong beyond words!

Good thoughts from here - you will survive!