Quizz is an amazing horse and we bought her sound, of that I am certain, from a wonderful woman who loves her deeply. But somehow, things fell apart as they sometimes do. Whether it was shoeing mistakes, maintenance that just needed to be done or a sudden and random change, she was unable to work at the beginning of the winter.
I don't have any answers regarding a silver bullet or magic formula we followed that could help others. But as I reflect on the past 6 months certain things stand out as contributing factors as to why we came out the other side ready for show season.
The most important factor in helping my daughter's horse get back on track was our trainer. We listened to her every step of the way. We did everything she told us to do, even when it went somewhat against our usual process. We changed farriers. We involved an additional vet. We were very aggressive with injections. It was not easy to go along with all of this but I knew that if we really wanted Quizz to recover we couldn't listen only to the things we wanted to hear. We either had to go along with the plan or not go along with it. Half a plan would not help.
There were dark days. I never doubted our trainer, her knowledge or her intentions. I did doubt the horse's ability to bounce back. I doubted whether we had identified the issue. I doubted the miracle farrier. Shoeing changes take time and my patience was thin. I seriously doubted the ability of my daughter to rise to the occasion and do all that needed to be done to help her horse recover.
At one point, not all that long ago, I thought the best thing for the horse might be to find a more advanced rider that could give her what she needed. Even mentioning this brought tears to my daughter's eyes.
Again, our trainer gets all the credit for salvaging the situation. She did more training rides. She gave my daughter more lessons. She sped up Elizabeth's education. Elizabeth learned so very much in such a short time. But even more importantly, our trainer kept her cool while I rode the emotional roller coaster. She was there for us everyday. She knew how hard it was for us to go through this and she cared. She didn't make any promises but she encouraged us to have faith.
We did everything we could think of to try. We lunged with a Pessoa, rode with German reins. We used Back on Track pads. We did a course of Adequan. We even engaged a PhD Equine Nutritionist who I think is fantastic. We only made minor adjustments to her diet but I think it helped. And I should admit I hired an animal communicator. That was a bit disappointing, really, and brought me down way more than it propped me up.
In the end we will never know what one thing made the biggest difference. But the part that will always stand out to me is the support and encouragement we received. From the lameness vet to the miracle farrier, from our super supportive Pony Club friends to our trainer, we were so fortunate to have had this experience. As painful as it was, I am glad we ran the gauntlet and came out the other side.
So tomorrow Elizabeth and Quizz will do a schooling horse trial in preparation for their first big recognized show together. Two months ago we weren't sure if Quizz would jump again and now we have an incredible season planned for this fantastic team. Last week they galloped - a real gallop! I am so incredibly grateful. And I am humbled by my daughter and her amazing and trusty steed.