Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Of Horses, Spines and Triple Crowns

This morning, as happens most mornings, I received a call from my daughter who's studying at UConn. Today was a little more special because I'm going in to have 16 nerves in my neck and lower back burned off.  If I'm going to have any chance at mobility, this has to happen.
This was presaged by the day 10 years ago in which our thoroughbred-warmblood horse kicked me square in the middle of my back. It wasn't the Kick that was the problem, but the fact the doctor at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute discovered the arthritis in my hips. All of a sudden my dreams of riding in retirement were shattered and I quickly realized why riding had become more and more painful. The horse, named Ashkenzi, was sold.
Up until December my daughter had been working at a stable and doing a practicum in psychology so she could qualify to do equine therapy with autistic children. We then discovered she had Spondylolisthesis. This happens sometimes in childhood when the disc at L5-S1 slips off the spine. It isn't discovered until the 20s when the pain begins. It was a blow.
Right after she called me, I emailed her a New York Times article on California Chrome, the horse who has a potential to be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in the 70s. My father, who died when I was seven, had been a ringmaster at horse shows. His death and the move off the farm didn't end my love of horses. The vagaries of life haven't affected my daughter's love and ability to connect with our equine friends. She knows you just move into loving them a different way.

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