This past weekend was one of THOSE weekends - there was nothing mediocre about it - it plunged from highs to lows, the rehab roller-coaster in full swing(!). One minute at the mercy of cyber-bitching and feeling as if I never wanted to take on another rehab horse and the next minute awed and overwhelmed by the incredible support from owners and the amazing performance of the Rockley "old boys".
This post is dedicated to 3 horses (and their owners!) who have confounded every attempt to write them off and who spent the weekend flying the flag in the best possible way, as I found out from updates which came in on Monday morning.
First up, Ginger, who came here in 2010 and is now aged 19. He not only had a navicular diagnosis but was also quite stiff and arthritic and his vet had been very gloomy about him ever competing again.
However, he went from strength to strength and I posted photos of him looking a million dollars and cleaning up when he went showing last summer, winning a double first prize. Of course, he is now doing it again - and still looking a fraction of his true age!
I had an email over the weekend from Danielle confirming that the old boy hasn't lost his touch - in these photos, he is winning both his show hunter and riding horse classes.
Danielle said he wiped the floor with the opposition and no horse or owner could be more deserving (plus, as you can see, he LOVES an audience!). Its very special when older horses get a chance to come back.
Like Ginger, since the conventional treatments had been tried and had failed, the expectation from his vets was that he could no longer work (even though he was only 8 years old at the time). Lainey bravely made the decision to send him to us and Bailey is a credit to all the hard work that Lainey (like Danielle) has put in - as you all know, its far from easy being the owner responsible for keeping a horse sound and working barefoot!
Bailey has spent the last 2 years hunting, competing in dressage and is putting in some XC training - preparation for next season's hunting, perhaps?
Kate has also worked incredibly hard to keep her veterinary practice updated on Storm's progress and its entirely to her credit that the same practice actually recommended rehab here for one of the scholarship applicants, purely on the basis of what she had reported back about Storm.
Every single rehab horse who leaves here depends absolutely on their owners to keep them sound and in work. When horses are as good as these three you can bet your bottom dollar that the owners have devoted blood, sweat and tears - not to mention hundreds of hours of work - getting them to this point.
There is nothing better than seeing these horses back doing the jobs they love but there was nothing smooth or easy in the journey these horse and their owners had to travel; we all had crashing ups and downs on the way, moments of jubilation and moments of despair.
But I hope this post is an encouragement to all the owners who aren't 2 years in and who have most of the roller-coaster ride still ahead of them. It doesn't always turn out like a Disney movie, but sometimes it does - and its without doubt an incredible journey.