Monday, May 19, 2008

Grace is back!

Well, it has been a very emotional and exhausting seven months, but we have finally come to the end of it!

On Tuesday morning, Grace and I went up to Hird’s for our 11am appointment. My very good friend Sue came with me for moral support (and to be a shoulder to cry on should the worst scenario become a reality), and for once in my life I actually set off on time!

I had been dreading the appointment all week, which culminated in me throwing my guts up on Tuesday morning through nerves, fear, dread and whatever else I was feeling. After everything I have been through with Grace, I think I expect the worst rather than hope for the best.

Grace loaded quietly as always and travelled perfectly. It still amazes me how well she travels after all the journeys she has made in pain or following surgery. I guess it shows what a genuine girl she really is!

The journey went well with only a small amount of traffic on the M62 following an accident and we got to Hird’s in perfect timing at 10.55am... again, another first, I was actually early!!!

As we arrived, one of the staff came out to tell us that there was a bit of a delay because a horse was having an emergency colic operation. Having been there myself, my thoughts went out to its owners, and we waited patiently while Peter performed the surgery. The staff plied us with cups of tea leaving Sue and I to devour the last of the new Digestive biscuits in the lorry (the ones with yoghurt on top... they are highly recommended).

Finally, after an hour and a half wait, it was Grace’s turn. I think the nerves by this point had hit screaming pitch. My hands were shaking as I undid her headcollar and put the bridle on, and Sue had to take her travel boots off because I had turned to jelly. Thankfully, one of the staff trotted her up for me on the flat because I do not think my legs would have carried me at this point.

Grace trotted up completely sound on the straight, but I did not take any comfort from this as she has always been sound in this situation. The moment of truth was yet to come; she would be put on the lunge and trotted in a circle. However, due to her ‘antics’ when being trotted up in hand, Peter decided to give her a small injection of ACP to take the edge off her.

The ACP worked pretty instantly and Grace seems to go under quite heavily with just a small amount. However, the member of staff put her out onto the lunge and no matter how hard I looked for it, both hocks were moving evenly! I still did not allow myself to breathe, as Peter had not said a word other than instructing the member of staff to change reins.

He put her on the left rein twice which set off alarm bells in my head... what was he seeing that I was not??? However, he turned around to me smiling said she was absolutely fine, looked great in fact, and that she no longer needed to come back to the practise!!!

Peter explained that she did look a bit stiff, but nothing else could be expected after seven months of box rest. I said I could see that and asked whether it was anything to be concerned about, to which he replied that it was not.

So, she is now walking for 45 minutes and having 12 long sides of trot incorporated into this for two weeks. After this, she is allowed to be turned out in a normal sized paddock which is fantastic news! However, the piece of news which just brought tears to my eyes is that once she starts the turnout, I have to let her go easy for a few days and then she is to be brought back into work over a 6 weeks period just like any other horse!!! He even encouraged me to work with a trainer towards the end of this period to make sure I am not backing off her, as I have to be very firm and make sure she engages her hind legs to ensure maximum healing. The scar tissue will still be tight at the moment, and we will hit some sticky bits, but he has assured me that there is no stopping her now!

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