Fabulous Florida Fungus and Overcoming Obstacles
Apparently, ick lives in the sand in Florida and causes all kinds of skin issues for some horses. DJ spent many years living in Florida before we bought him, so this trip has not caused any problems for him. His handsome self remains unaffected by fungus. I am sure you can see where this is headed if you know that Grail is a Thoroughbred, born and bred in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and living in Illinois since his 3rd birthday.
Icky bumps, oozing patches, hair loss, and stocked up legs. Fabulous. I consider myself lucky in two regards. First, Jenn has seen it all, so I have great advice on dealing with it, and second, so far, it has not caused him to miss a day of work. I know, shush!
It started with an oozing patch under his armpit, but not under the girth. Then his hair fell out in clumps behind the saddle, but not under the saddle. He also had big bumps and little bumps in large swaths across his body, changing size and location every day. Last week he had stocked up hind legs every morning. No temp and not super stocked up. So off to work we went.
I bought all the gels and shampoos, and sprays and have been using them diligently. I have no idea if they are helping or if Grail’s immune system has adapted, but the horses have been here over three weeks, and his skin seems to be quieting down.
There is a reason Grail is 10 years old and still green, and that reason is that over the days, months and years, I always let something get in the way of his training and my riding. He is such a good sport and does not need to be ridden every day to be happy and safe, so if one of the horses had to be skipped, it would be Grail. This fungus is just a reminder that it is easy to be thrown off the program. Horses are always looking to add a plot twist to the straightforward narrative that is their training program.
Just days after I started making arrangements for boot camp in Florida, Grail tore up his hind foot. I was not yet fully dedicated to the plan of packing up two horses, my child and my little fledgling business and going to Florida for 3 months. The initial vet assessment was that Grail might be on stall rest until January 1. The Universe had just served up the perfect reason to say, “Maybe next year.”
The mind-numbing process of Epsom salt foot soaks lead to the realization that I had to make a decision. Did I want to take back my riding life and live more authentically or accept another year of the same old song and dance? I was given the gift of understanding the question, but I still had to decide on my answer.
Credit for that goes to my community. Jenn was steadfast in her belief that the foot would heal quickly and completely, and I would get to ride. Vanessa was equally steadfast in her dedication to managing the injury aggressively. Charlotte had a townhouse we could share. They created just enough momentum, and from there, friends continued to help me overcome the obstacles as they appeared. I am confident my wonderful circle of friends wanted this for me before I was even sure I wanted it for myself.