Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winter, Horses, Books, and Life

by Laura Crum

Its that time of year again. The days are short and chilly and we have rain (or snow) and the horse corrals are muddy (or frozen). Most of us aren’t riding as much as we were and its easy to feel guilty about that (see my previous post on “Taking a Break”). Its also easy to feel down this time of year and focus on problems, like my saintly kid’s horse who wasn’t a saint on his last few rides (see my previous post on “The Lazy Horse”). These last six months have brought me the loss of three friends—two to death and one to disagreement, and its easy to feel sad about that. My husband and son have colds…well, I could go on, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that the winter season can get you down.

But Monday night was the solstice. We lit candles together as a family and acknowledged that we’re turning the corner…now the days will begin getting longer. We’re headed toward spring. And I thought about all the things in my life that are beautiful and delightful, as the candles sparkled in the winter night.

My husband and son are happy and (besides the colds) healthy, as are my horses, dog and cats. Henry may be lazy, but he’s hale and hearty, after going through colic surgery at the age of twenty. How grateful I am for that. We built a little addition to our house this summer—a small separate house with two rooms and a bathroom—much needed, as we live in a 650 sq ft house. This new little house turned out great and we’re so happy with it. I’m grateful for that. We live in a beautiful place where I can keep my horses at home and go trail riding out my front gate. I’m really grateful about that. I have the use of a lovely pasture just ten minutes away to keep my five retired/rescued horses—I’m thrilled about that. I have good friends and family around me. My life is great—I’m very lucky. I try to say “thank you” every single day.

On the writing front, the eleventh book in my mystery series about equine veterinarian Gail McCarthy comes out this spring. Titled “Going, Gone”, it revolves around the murder of a livestock auctioneer, and includes kill buyers, rescue horses, and a heroic horse blogger. Not to mention, for those of you who are fans of mugwump chronicles, “Going, Gone” features illustrations by mugwump herself. I’m sure you will all agree that the book is worth its purchase price for Janet’s drawings alone.

I hope that those who have enjoyed my books in the past, or enjoyed my blog posts on EI, will read “Going, Gone”. Many of my horses are used as characters in the story, and my local trails provide much of the background. I think you will find lots to interest you, and I’d love to get your reviews. The book should be out in April—it can be ordered from the usual sources or directly from the publisher—ordering info is on my website.

Currently I’m hard at work on book number twelve. The publisher has agreed to buy this book and release it in Spring 2012. Since my goal has always been to write and publish a dozen books in this series, I’m pretty tickled to be working on number twelve, knowing it has a berth. I’ve been very fortunate in my writing career, and I’m grateful for that, too.

Finally, I’ve very much enjoyed writing blog posts for EI, and getting to know those of you who write back. Season’s greetings to all, and I hope many blessings come your way. The earth is now tilting back toward the sun, for us in the northern hemisphere; may the coming year be a good one. Cheers--Laura


lopinon4 said...

You are SO right about being thankful...I just finished ranting and complaining on my blog, and now I feel a little guilty. I have much to be appreciative about, and although life is full of ups and downs, "It's hard but it's fair" as my daddy would say. Merry Christmas, horse friends!!!

Laura Crum said...

lopinon4--I originally began a rant type post--more of a whiny post, actually, and then I just couldn't go there. Life is full of ups and downs, and I get bummed about the downs, like everybody else. But yeah, I have so much to be appreciative about, that I think I'll just try to focus on being thankful. Merry Christmas to you, too, and thanks for your comments, which I always enjoy.

Laura Crum said...

lopinon4, I had a minute so I went to your blog and read your "rant". My old computer takes forever to bring up other blogs and frequently balks at the comments page, so I didn't try to post a comment, but I did want to tell you that I have been through this navicular deal with several horses. I have no easy answers, and, of course, you already knew that. I know how frustrating it is. In my experience, these horses do sometimes get better. Barefoot and turned out on grass has helped many of them. I can't honestly say I ever got one back to being competitive sound sans meds--at least not consistently. But pasture sound, light riding sound, having a good life....yes. My thirty year old gelding, Gunner, was diagnosed with navicular in his teens, and trots across the pasture sound today. So, I hope that's a little bit encouraging.

OneDandyHorse said...

lopinon4 - I would suggest you de shoe your horse, have a good barefoot performance trimmer take on his hooves and give him a bit of rest.

Navicular is often caused by the toes being long... it looks a bit like the whole hoof is being pulled forward of where it should be. A good toe rocker and performance trim should get him back to being in shape in about 3 to 6 months (depending on how fast your horse's hooves grow). If you are at the end of your leash, give it a try, it might be the best decision you've ever made.

My horses are all barefoot. I have rehabilitated my first mare and she can perform on any terrain. You can see pictures of her hooves on some of my latest blog posts.

Laura Crum said...

OneDandyHorse--it sounds like you have had very good luck with this method. I think lopinon4 has already done much of what you suggest, if I read her blog right. Here's hoping that it works well for you, also, lopinon4. I, too, have experienced the frustration of losing the use of a great horse because of lameness (this was ringbone, not navicular) and though we did manage to give this horse ten years of happy retirement in the pasture, it was frustrating not to be able to use him, as he was such a great performer. So, I hear you about the frustration factor.

lopinon4 said...

Thanks so much, my equine cyber-pals. I can't help but be discouraged when I can see that he is in pain, and he so desperately still wants to do his job. Everyone who meets him (he's my lesson horse) falls in love with him, and he's one of those clever lesson mounts that adjusts his behavior according to who is riding and what their skill level is. He goes sound at w/t/c for months at a time, and then he's sore again. I know that I won't allow him to be shod again, as I feel that much more damage was probably done by following that traditional "prescription". His feet have shrunk and are the structures are weak now, but I am trying to maintain a glimmer of hope that he will get through this period and be as sound as possible. It does seem as if the work he does keeps him more sound than if he was just outside to meander, though.
Laura, I sure didn't mean to hijack your thread! And, to be more upbeat and seasonal, let me just say that I do feel some hope for my guy if your Gunner is sound. I may try to get a canter through the snow this weekend! Merry Christmas and my apologies for being a downer!

Laura Crum said...

Lora--No worries--I'm sure that everyone can relate to your story. I sure can. Its one of the most frustrating parts of owning horses--to have a horse you really love and enjoy and who is a great performer and be unable to keep him sound. I've been there with a few of them--different causes--and I totally relate to both your frustration and the up and down nature of the whole thing. I hope the coming year brings you lots of "sound" days.

Joy said...

Every day I go through my litany of gratitude. THAT is "the secret". Gratefulness. There is so much to be thankful for.

I'm so sorry about the loss of your friends Laura. I've experienced similar. One friend died 14 years ago on the 31st and it still feels like yesterday. And the friend I lost who walked away is back again.

life is a series of cycles. We just have to sit back and let it flow sometimes.

Lopin, my horse broke his leg 3 1/2 years ago. Today when I turned him out he ran a bucked like a colt. Navicular is a bitch, no doubt. Hang in there. Life will flow like it should and look for what it is teaching you while it flows.

Happy holidays to you all.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

In spite of a very rough last few years, widowed, unemployed, pets deaths, etc. etc. I can only say that I have hope for the future. I helped foal my Arabian's filly this past summer and I look forward to the years ahead with my children and horses and a new job.

I love your book series. I'm looking forward to Going, gone.

Merry Christmas to all of you.

Nan said...

It's good to hear others feel the same. With so much snow and ice, I've given up trying to ride for fear of injury. Actually the trailer is buried at present. But Merry Christmas to all and may we be back in the saddle come the new year.

Laura Crum said...

Nan, Voyager and Joy--thanks for the comments. I so agree about being thankful. its nice to hear your friend came back, Joy, though it doesn't seem likely to happen here. But, as you say, life flows the way its supposed to, and I can already see that the loss is bringing me something.

Voyager, I hope there are many good things ahead for you--sounds like you've been through a lot. Thank you for the nice comment about my books--I hope you like the new one.

stilllearning said...

There's always plenty for me to be thankful for. Thanks for the reminder...

Merry Christmas!

Laura Crum said...

stillearning--Merry Christmas to you and to all who read this blog. Its fun to realize that there are lot of us rather similar horse gals scattered around--what a neat connection.

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