A Stalker, Attempted Murder, and Why Guilt is Bad

This episode of TLH is accompanied (in your head) by the following sound track: “Feeeeelings….nothing more than feeeeelings…..trying to forget myyy…..feeeelings of luuuuuuv…”

I continued to stalk Hudson, trying for a nice photo.  I had three problems.

  1. Hudson has no interest in being photographed.
  2. Hudson has been miffed with Jane ever since she tried to kill him.
  3. No photography assistants.  Jane has turned into one of those horse owners.

She’s working with a 2×4 to try to find her normal self again. Existential question: when one flagellates, is it considered cheating to wear a helmet, or proper martyrdom, since a helmet clearly prolongs the flagellation process?

Back to the important stuff: getting a photo of Hudson that doesn’t make him look like he’d been imprisoned in Guantanamo for “questioning”.

This does not look like a loved horse.  This looks like a horse handcuffed in a cell with the woman who attempted to kill him.

He’s telling the truth.  I did try to kill him.

I almost killed Hudson over my feelings.  Now there’s a wake up call.

I felt inadequate.  I felt I wasn’t covering my responsibilities; a number of huge holes opened up in my life, and I wasn’t shoveling fast enough, or competently.  I felt like I was flitting instead of focusing: not enough support for Shaun, the kids, the dog, the house, not enough riding/care for Hudson, not enough support for Lily and Tiny, and not present enough for Daisy, to whom I committed to fix some new-house issues.

(I need to keep up my Dyke membership card. Helping Daisy would have totally brought me up to date.  Quick, hand me a hammer and that laser level.)

I felt guilty. I lost the first commandment of horse ownership: Never Act When Feeling Guilt.

Jane guilt = Food.  Big surprise.  More supplements!  His coat will shine even more! I bought flax-seed, and eased him into a quarter cup a day, along with his other supplements.

Jane thinking = Flax seed is benign, I won’t bother Bella yet again with (good) questions. (Is he allergic?  Has he had them before?  How did  he react?)  Nope, that would be (responsible) annoying.  Besides, I’d always fed it to my other horses…20 years ago.

Bing bing bing bing bing!  10 days later, allll that flax-seed built up in his now highly irritated intestines, and he got colicky.  Bella was worried.  (I hadn’t told her I’d added flax-seed.) He’d never colicked.  He was pooping normally, if a bit runny.  Thank god she knows him so well.  He never got past the “not quite right, wonder what’s up?” stage.  She saddled up Dinero, threw a halter on Hudson, and phoned me from the saddle.  She ponied him for nearly an hour until I could get there.

It didn’t dawn on me that the flax could be causing the colic.  (Non-horsey: don’t read this part.) I found his poop on the ground and kicked it apart.  Undigested, pointy little seeds. I know, I know: there’s a number of studies showing most horses have no problem with whole flax-seed.  Key word: most.

Older horse with allergies, emotionally reactive, with a known touchy stomach.  I might as well have thrown gravel in his feed.  Of course he reacted to the flax.

Owner guilt is probably the cause of more horse-related problems than anything besides the philosophy “It’s Just An Animal”.

Bella was so kind to me.  I immediately confessed to owner guilt and my brilliant solution: fling flax at the guilt.

Brown Flax Seeds.
Image via Wikipedia

I was mortified.  Of course she’d want me to ask about him.  What was I thinking?

Once the cause was known, the cure was easy, and we could both relax.  He was over it within a few more hours.

Thanks to K is for Kiki’s suggestions, I did manage to get a better-ish photo:

Next project: find Jane.

I actually asked Bella how she had kept Hudson’s fitness level up.  You remember Hudson, the horse I’ve been riding for a couple of years as part of his conditioning plan? If she has any desire to throw things, she hides it marvelously.

9 thoughts on “A Stalker, Attempted Murder, and Why Guilt is Bad

  1. Glad things worked out with the flax.

    Now I have an assignment for you if you choose to accept it:
    Be a catch rider for an owner on an extended vacation (uh, that’s you).

    Feel better? It’s all in how we look at things, er, think about things. You need to think “catch rider”. Oh, and pay the bills.

    1. This cracked me up. You hit the nail on the head, it’s exactly what I had decided to do. Reframe the riding sessions to “catch rider”, with new instructions: help him make the transition into lower level dressage, while adding new exercises (to me) to keep his overall super conditioning. Poor guy is gonna have to tolerate a lightly draped leg without shooting off like a rocket. 😉

      But he gets to shoot off like a rocket (keep his butt in shape, give him joy) on cue! Plus I need the face lift.

  2. Oh, head’s up fellow horse people. While plenty of literature says flax is good, horseman’s word-of-mouth reports too many horses can’t tolerate the whole flax seed. Also, ground or whole, for some horses even as little as 4 pounds a year can be toxic. True or not, I can’t say. I can only comment that one horse I know absolutely can’t tolerate it. 😉

  3. Oh dear. I’m familiar with this syndrome. Long walks through the woods on horseback help. Hand grazing, while staring at animal in zombie-like state, also good. Cuddling with small, curly-haired dogs, so I hear, is not a bad remedy either.

    1. My dream came TRUE. This is good!
      Yet somehow I went from a competent (enough), casual, confident horse person to a dithering mess, asking idiotic questions that I, uh, know the answers to, and making a completely rookie mistake with the flax.

      I’m scratching my head asking myself the same question I know my friends are asking each other in secret: What the HECK happened with Jane??

      I’ve decided it’s the psychological equivalent of a virus. I have to let it run it’s course, then I can just relax and feel good again. *checks watch* Okay, all done!

    1. I know I would LOVE endurance riding. There is only one teeny thing holding me back. I’d probably get off, and start carrying the horse.

      (Unless it was an old-fashioned Arabian, then I wouldn’t worry. They’re like roses, tough as nails.)

  4. Ouch. It’s no fun when you nearly kill your horse.

    Well, that’s stating the obvious.

    Glad he’s recovered. Perhaps it would be good to write up the 78 questions about Hudson.

    Or you could just RIDE HIM.


    1. You made me laugh. That is, finally, what I got to do. I was able to finagle the time, get on to ride, and immediately started the whole weird dither thing. Should my hands be here? Or here? How should I ride him?

      Then I had a flashback to one of the best instructions I ever received during a lesson: shut up, and RIDE the dang horse. No, don’t ask! RIDE THE HORSE.

      I did. It was great! We were both so relieved.

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