A lot has changed in the two months since I have last written a post, and yet nothing has. I finished my internship, yet still working at the same fast food job. I started applying for career jobs and still have not had an interview. I keep pushing for something to change. Get a real job, save up some money, move out of my parents house, and start my new life. But there was one change I was definitely not ready for and I thank God that I still don’t have to be.
The weekend of the 20th and 21st was the Van Raalte reenactment. I noticed during the morning drill that Diamond felt off. He was not moving with his typical smoothness while at the trot. Something was wrong but I could not figure out what. Through all of drill I obsessed over the possibility that he might be limping, which made it so I couldn’t tell if he had actually gotten worse or if I had just thought he had gotten worse. After morning drill I felt his legs for heat or swelling but did not find anything. So I told myself I was creating a problem where there wasn’t one (although I did not believe it). I decided to reassess this “off” feeling when I went out for the battle.
As soon as we started moving for the battle, he felt off again. I could feel a hard shift whenever his right front struck the ground and I could see his head bobbing every time he took a step. I could tell it was a painful movement for him. I got off and checked for rocks, but found none. I stretched him, and then felt for heat but still found no major problems. I tried my hardest to take it easy on him throughout the battle, but he kept telling me he wanted to go. Upon starting scenario two the limping got significantly worse. I stopped letting him pretend he was okay and held him back. I walked him back to camp as slow as he would allow. I knew I wasn’t crazy, I had felt something. But when I checked his legs for heat after the battle I still did not find anything.
Two of my reenacting moms helped me locate the potential problem. We suspected that he had a swollen ligament in his right front. None of us were 100% sure that was the actual problem but it was our best educated guess. So we wrapped his leg after rubbing him down with some liniment. For the next week I had him on pain meds, and rubbed liniment on his right front everyday. For some reason I felt like I was not doing enough. I had not ridden him yet to determine he was still limping, but I felt something was still very wrong. It tortured me for days. After a full week of rest I rode him. I was struck with the realization that the limp was still there. It tore me apart.
A million questions went though my head. What is wrong with him? Was it something I did? Will he get better? Is the damage permanent? Did I just loose my horse and best friend? What do I do now? I was not ready to loose him and this became unmistakably clear when I thought there was even a possibility that that could happen. The vet came out the next day to examine him. After she examined his legs and watched me ride him, she simply stated he did have swollen ligaments in both legs, but more so in the left leg rather than the right. I apparently still looked worried because she stopped what she was doing and said “He does not have a career ending injury. Give him two weeks to heal and he should be a lot better.” With that news I could breath again.
It is amazing to me that something like loosing my horse would change so much about my life. I know one day it will happen, but I am nowhere near ready for it. I am very relieved and excited that he and I still have years together. Our reenacting story is not over, and even though he was in pain, missing the battle was not something he wanted to do. Diamond has a huge heart, and he is truly an amazing horse. He has made me a better person and I owe him more than I could ever give him.