You know that saying: God won’t give you more than you can handle. Really? Well, I guess it all depends on your definition of “God” as to whether or not you believe that. I would describe myself as a spiritual person but not a religious one. I also believe in free will. I believe we are responsible for the consequences of the choices we make in life. So…having got all that cleared up why am I asking what’s God got to do with it?
I am wondering why I seem to have a history of horses with unusual or interesting or rare health issues. It did not start that way. When I was young my horses were without problems. Then first horse I bought for my daughter was a 17 year old school master when we bought her. She developed respiratory problems and finally when she was retired and living out 24/7 and was having difficulty we had to let her go. This was an progression to old age and nothing rare or unusual there. Then came my daughter’s second horse. She outgrew her and then she became my horse. That is when the odd things started. After investigation and seeking help from the University of Guelph veterinary hospital we could find no answers. But it was clear she was in severe difficulty. The necropsy told us she had a very rare auto-immune disorder and we were told it was extremely rare in North America. “Rare.”
Moving on from that, I had a very nice gelding who injured his back in a paddock moment of frivolity. Nothing rare or unusual there. I later sold him as it was clear he was not cut out confirmation wise for the higher levels. That was when I got my Dutch gelding Tommie. I had him for six wonderful years and we went up from first level to the Prix St. George together. Along the way, he developed ulcers and had to remain on ulcer medication. Then came a thyroid problem that did not respond to the usual medication. Then resistance to the ulcer medication. We tried everything. Veterinary opinion was that this was “unusual” and “difficult”. Then he foundered. I would not put him through any more and had to say good bye to him. For the whole story on Tommie please see: “When is it time to say goodbye?”
Undaunted, I bought a lovely gelding that was already trained to fourth level. Not long after I got him he showed problems with his urinary system. He was seen by vets and specialists and went to the Florida State University and was seen by both Western and Eastern (Chinese traditional veterinary medicine) veterinary specialists. Test were done, body parts were scoped and ultrasounded. But no answers. Again, the phrases were: “unusual”, “puzzling”, “difficult”. In the end, I had to say goodbye to this horse as well. Another beautiful horse that I had to see, as beautiful in death ,as he had been in life. It broke my heart but I am adamant that I will not see a horse suffer if there is no medical answer to alleviate their suffering. The necropsy showed a “rare” neurological condition and he had not displayed all of the “usual” symptoms for this disease. Back in the same territory :“unusual” and “difficult” and “rare”.
Last week my Biasini had an odd turn. The local vets came out and did blood tests, nasal swabs, fecal testing and then an internal medicine specialist was called in. She did an abdominal ultra sound and when she said the word “unusual” I nearly shrieked! But not a cause for major alarm. Some medication was prescribed and he has responded well.
A humorous note came when the vet gave us the medication with the proviso that we wear gloves when handling the pills as the medication can cause spontaneous abortion. My friend Nancy Kleiner had been helping me with Biasini during the day and was there when we received these instructions. As we are both of a “certain age” we took this as a compliment that the vet thought this might be a consideration for us! Nancy helped me to give Biasini the medication. She held him as I squirted it into his mouth. A droplet flew into Nancy’s eye. “Oh, my God!” I squealed. “Does this mean your eye might abort?” We both fell about laughing. Well, you’ve got to laugh really. Her eye suffered no serious consequences.
But during the time we were looking for answers to Biasini’s problem I was thinking about God and the whole “not more than you can handle” thing. I don’t believe God sends me problems on purpose. I believe these things just happen. So far, although the horses I have lost may have broken my heart, it has not broken my spirit. There is much to be grateful for.
Biasini recovered and I am back riding him.
I am healthy and well and can ride and train and despite being in my senior years.
I am so fortunate to be able to live in Canada and during the winter in the USA.
I am so very lucky that I have never had to survive in a war zone; a Mosul, an Aleppo, a Cambodia under Pol Pot, the list could go on and on.
If the God of my understanding has inspired me to make good choices, then I give thanks.