Saturday, June 30, 2012

13 Weeks

It's so hard to tell if he loves me. He was kissing my face with his upper lip. Almost a french kiss. Slobbery. How fun! Ashke is such a sweet horse and does a pretty good job of letting me know.

We were waiting for Nicole and Callie to finish working in the round pen and I was standing in the shade of the grandstand. Ashke was bored. His upper lip is very flexible. Ashke and I walked around the outside of the arena four times as our warm up before working in the round pen.

Ashke kept stretching out his nose and nudging me in the back of my left shoulder. He would jerk back and throw his head up in the air. I didn't react, just kept walking. He would do it again.

He is such a curious soul, always looking around.

We moved into the round pen and went to work.

Seven Things

We are well into our rehab of Ashke's hip. He was worked in the round pen for fifteen minutes or so last night, washed off and let loose in the pasture, then saddled and walked a mile up and down the road. Seven things going on right now:

1. Ashke moves easier and better when he is not under saddle. In the round pen he propels himself with his haunches and moves easily in both directions. Under saddle he is less comfortable in his front feet. I am hoping lunging under saddle will help him find his point of balance and stride more comfortably while carrying weight on his back.

2. He has walked out really well the past two nights. However, he is still having issues with his break-over (where the toe of the front foot strikes the ground instead of the heel of the hoof) and forging (where the hind feet strike the front feet when he moves - also a hoof problem). His feet are slightly flared and still long in the toe, both of which are contributing factors in his breakover issue. The farrier comes out in two and a half weeks and I am hoping we can make some progress on correction. I think once he is breaking over correctly the issue with forging will resolve itself. He tends to stub his toes and stumble more when he is tired.

3. Ashke seems to get the whole backing thing now. We are still working from the ground, but I can stand on either side of him, tighten the reins and ask him to back and he does. Last night, he dropped his head and backed easily for me. This is a great thing and I hope that by the time I am on him again, it will be second nature.

4. Lunging after the tie-up, which after all the reading I have done and discussions with people at the stable, was not severe at all (Abbi tied-up last year and was trembling and twitching for hours afterwards) is going well. I know I am being cautious and hesitant, but I figure that keeps me from wanting to push him. (I start thinking I can ride him again and then I tell myself to slow down). We worked 10 or 15 minutes last night. I am thinking I will try working him for 20 to 30 today.

5. The footing in the round pen is much better, now that they added the sand. However, Ashke really wants to spend his time rolling in it, not trotting over it. Working him yesterday was pretty interesting, since he was untacked and kept trotting with his head down and his nose shoved in the sand.

6. Today marks 13 weeks since I brought my boy home.

7. We changed his feed again, dropping a flake of grass morning and night. Estimated that he is getting 18 to 20 lbs of forage a day, which is plenty for a 900 lb horse. Still supplementing with the Amplify.

Friday, June 29, 2012


I have been struggling with the idea of doing endurance since I first laid eyes on Ashke. He was so emaciated and sick that I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of him getting strong enough to ride for hours at a time. I thought that his demise was imminent if he wasn't given food immediately. It still surprises me that he is as healthy and filled out as he is at this point.

Why do I want to do Endurance? In part, I guess, because I felt like I needed a reason to get a horse. I mean it sounds so selfish to say, "I just want a horse" and put my family through the cost and effort of maintaining an animal that, let's be realistic, is nothing more than another expensive pet. Right? Regardless of the emotional satisfaction to be had in relationship with a horse, I really felt like I needed a job to go with it in order to justify my desire to be owned by a horse again.

That's why I focused on Endurance and this particular race:

I set goals: I'm going to ride the Tevis in 2015.

That statement right there became the reason for having a horse. My original plan was to get a horse in the fall and train it and begin riding distance immediately. HA! So, the horse came several months earlier than expected, and in much worse shape than I had planned on. My mind has been circling the concept that if I don't meet my goal, than how do I justify having a horse. My mind has also been struggling with the idea of not being able to do those kind of rides on a horse that has been almost completely destroyed. How long, in realistic terms, does it take to rehab a horse that was once in the shape Ashke was in? Google isn't really very helpful in answering that question. That question, in turn, led me to questioning why I was keeping a horse that might not be physically able to meet my above stated goal. What to do then? The goal was everything and I was aiming for it like an arrow shot into the sun. I've been driving myself crazy with this issue for three months now. (Short drive, I know.)

Last night, I had an epiphany. I needed to either make having a horse about the race mentioned above, or I needed to make having a horse about having Ashke. J said to me when I was struggling to put into words my messed up, twisted thoughts, that as long as I could ride him, could do something other than feed and pet him, that she was okay with us not doing a "job". She just didn't want him turning into the world's most expensive pet. I get that. Having a horse you don't ride kind of defeats the purpose (although that sentiment doesn't apply to a trusted companion that is no longer able to perform - end of life issue suck for all creatures). If having a horse is about the race, then I really should sell Ashke and start looking for an animal that can do what I want them to be able to do. One without the baggage, both physical and emotional, that this little grey horse brings with him.

The epiphany part of this diatribe came on my drive home, when I realized I don't have to have a goal or job set out for Ashke, other than he be sound and trained. I've been rushing, thinking I wasn't going to meet my goal, that we weren't going to be ready by 2015 to race the Tevis. I realized last night that I have something very special and I would rather keep Ashke, then run the race. It felt like a burden lifted and I was able to breathe deep and relax. I decided it had to be about the horse, not about the race.

That feeling was intensified after talking to J. She doesn't care what we do as long as I can ride him. No expensive pets for us. But also, maybe, no Tevis.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Monday night was so hot that we trekked out to see Ashke after T's trombone lesson. I pulled him out of the stall and rinsed him off (it was still in the 90's as the sun went down). We walked around the stable and around the outside of the outdoor arena. Then I took him into the indoor arena, where new sand was laid down. He thought we had brought the sand just for him. Ashke shoved his face into the loose sand, pushing it with his nose and pawing at it. I unhooked the lead rope and allowed him to select the perfect spot to roll. He did one side, then stood up and did the other. Then we went back to the stall. The hard lump in his right haunch was slightly tender and about the size of  my finger.

Tuesday night he was groomed, rinsed with cool water and then led around again. We turned him loose in the indoor arena and T ran up and down the arena for fun. Ashke chased him at a trot. That was great, because it meant Ashke was willing to move without encouragement = no pain. He was showing no tenderness in his haunch when we put him back in his stall.

Last night we finally got a break in the weather and it was in the 70's when we reached the stable. Because of the cooler temps J and I decided to take Ashke for a walk. He was relaxed and there was no sign of a knot in his right haunch. In fact, he was being a bit of a pill. I think he thinks he needs more treats, which we are cutting down on, because he nips when he doesn't get treats. It is a vicious cycle, because I cut down on the treats due to his nipping, the little booger. We saddled him, because I don't want to take steps backwards, and he opened his mouth for the bit. He walked out eagerly, snorting and looking at everything. Our boy is curious, that's for sure. We had to stop in a neighbor's yard so he could sniff the flowers and check out the lawn edging. We walked a mile (we knew how long the walk was, because it is the route T runs sometimes) and he came back loose and warm and sound. (Yeah!!!) We turned him out into the field and let him graze for a while. He didn't go far because there was a small ditch filled with water, which is extremely dangerous, you know. After I caught him to take him in, we went over the ditch twice. He did exactly what I asked without balking and jumped over it in each direction. Then he went back to his stall and his mix of carrots and apples. Hopefully, tonight he will still be sound and ready to walk.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Twelve Weeks

It's been 12 weeks since we brought our boy home. So many steps forward and so many roadblocks. At least he looks really good. We changed up his feed today, cutting the grain entirely and changing from 3 flakes of alfalfa mix twice a day to 2 flakes of alfalfa mix and 2 flakes of grass. Plus the Amplify, at a pound per feeding, twice a day. Hopefully that will make a difference and correct the conditions that caused the ER to begin with. There was still a bit of a knot in his right haunch, but he was able to walk without a limp.

So, it was over 100 again today but we still made it out to the stable. Ashke was covered with yellow urine and poo. It was time for a bath.

He is beginning to really enjoy his bath. Doesn't hesitate to walk into the station. 

Doesn't even have to be tied tight any more.

I even managed to wash his face.

He tried to bite me, nibbling really. J missed the shot where his teeth were showing.

Did his tail.

What is it with chewing on stuff that isn't food?

All slicked up and soapy.

Cleaning between his ears.

Seems to love me.

Loves the water and the cool and hanging out with us.

12 weeks since we brought him home. I think he looks awesome.

And from the other side. We french braided his mane to keep him cool. Can't see his ribs any more.

Elegant head and such a sweet eye. I was asked today if I was going to show him. I would probably look at doing western reining if we were going to do something other than endurance. He turns on a dime.

Close up of his shoulder and hip. Based on the chart I posted a long time ago, he is probably between a 7 and an 8. You can just see a hint of his ribs, although I still think he is a little small in the haunches.

His back is filling in. Nice line between withers and tail dock. His dock has a lot more meat on it than it used to.

It's pretty easy to see how much growth Ashke has had in his hooves since we brought him home. He gets trimmed again on the 17th.

Not quite as obvious on his back feet. At least not in a picture.

I like big butts and I can not lie. Looks pretty thick from this viewpoint, doesn't it?

Yes, he was setting up to pee.

This was actually a good thing, since it gave me the opportunity to observe his urine. One of the indicators of the severity of ER is dark urine, since the dying muscle is processed through the kidneys. He had a very strong, bright stream of urine, with just a hint of brown toward the end. Not much at all, which gives me hope that it wasn't severe and it wasn't chronic. Chronic or reoccuring ER would pretty much end our hopes of competing in endurance.

He also moved around the pasture of his own free will, without pain. He didn't trot or canter, like he has done in the past, but the temp was over 100 at the time and I would have been worried if he had wanted to. All the signs point to his recovery without any issue. I hope that by Tuesday the hint of a cramp in his haunch will be gone.

Equine Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

Or tying up, as it is most commonly referred to. "The most common cause of ER is an imbalance between the animal's diet and his workload, especially when he has a high-grain diet." I think you all know that I have been worried about his feet and wondering if he had the precondition for laminitis, but now I wonder if his right haunch has been the issue the entire time. 

Friday night was not such a good night. Since Wednesday of last week, when I was thrown, I have been working Ashke in the round pen. I haven't worked him hard, but I have worked him until he was warm. It has been walk, trot and canter in both directions, walked down and rinsed off to cool him, then let him graze or wander around until time to go back to his stall. It has gotten really hot here and often Ashke is warm, but not sweaty, when he is in his stall. I have been grooming him regularly, and he has been shedding violently, and we can tell he is itchy. He rubs his chest on his feed bin (leaves nice parallel lines of black on his chest and neck), his neck and shoulders on the ball we have in his stall (especially where his mane lays - leaving huge patches of black skin where he has rubbed off the hair) and his tail dock (leaving a bird's nest of broken hair standing up on the top edge of his tail).

He nickers at me and leans into the brush when I am scrubbing him down. His neck and shoulders have developed some nice muscle.

I also braided his mane with a "french" braid. He has rubbed and pulled it some (it looked so good right after I finished it) but it has served the purpose of getting it off his neck and helping keep him cooler.

He really likes it when his sides and haunches are scratched. We've definitely moved from "I don't really want to be groomed" to "Oh, please, don't stop!"

So, our time line since I was thrown was to groom, saddle and work in the round pen. Friday it was over 90 during our work out, Saturday it was over 90 and Sunday it was over 90. Monday, Ashke was turned out into the pasture since I wasn't able to get to the barn (T has trombone lessons that take priority). He was worked on Tuesday night and the temp was in the mid-80's. Ashke was turned out on Wednesday and then not worked at all on Thursday. During that time he was still being fed the same amount of food as he has been since he moved into the barn. Friday, I groomed (pics above), tacked him up and took him to the round pen.

He started at the walk and then moved to the trot. There didn't seem to be any issues and he seemed to be favoring his front feet less than in the past.

I asked him to move into a canter, which he did willingly, and moved easily around the pen in the clockwise direction. I was pleased, since this is the direction he usually fights me.

Ashke was attentive and responsive, but not shaking his head or arguing with me. He slowed when asked and worked well at the gait I requested. He only did three or so circuits before I asked him to stop. I didn't want to overwork him, since it was so hot and he had had the past couple of days off.

Here you can see he is relaxed and responsive.

Getting him adjusted to turn in the opposite direction.

There didn't seem to be any issues when we started. Ashke was listening well and moving easily. I had him work a couple of rounds at the jog and then asked for the canter. On his first circuit around the ring, he suddenly threw up his head and it seemed like his haunches went out from under him. He was limping heavily immediately after. I had been watching his feet. I thought maybe he had hurt a tendon or overflexed his pasturn. He stopped moving immediately.

I checked all of his legs. There didn't seem to be any swelling or heat in the tendons or joints.

I couldn't find any nicks from where he might have over reached with his hind feet. I couldn't see anything that told me what had happened. I, (stupid me) asked him to move forward. In retrospect, and after doing a bunch of research, it was the worst thing I could have done.

He moved a little stiff at the walk, but was stiffer at the trot. He stopped moving after half a circuit. I was still trying to figure out what was wrong and asked him to move forward again (at this point I was still thinking hock, tendon, pasturn, fetlock).

He did, sweet boy, because I asked, but it was almost immediately obvious that something was really wrong. He was moving in a rocking horse movement and not using his right hind leg. He stopped immediately when I asked.

This time I was able to decipher the problem. Ashke had a charley horse (what I would call it if it happened to me) in his right haunch. It was about the size of my fist. I checked his left haunch to make sure it wasn't "normal", which it wasn't. I tried rubbing it, but it was really tight.

Ashke has gotten so good at backing that when I went to untie the reins he felt the pressure on his bit and immediately backed up.

We walked back to the stable and untacked. I walked him out to the wash area and rinsed him off (it was still in the nineties). Then I walked him back to the grooming area and rubbed the knot (which had gone down) with liniment until it was just a slight ridge in his muscle. Ashke went from acting a little uncomfortable when I started, to leaning into the massage before I was finished.

After he was put away, I went home and did some research.

This condition is known as Equine Exertional Rhabdomyolysis and is both hereditary and behavior based. It occurs most frequently in Thoroughbreds, Saddlebreds and Arabians. It is caused by feeding a high grain diet with inconsistent workouts. Basically, because I had been working Ashke regularly and then he had three out of four days off without adjusting his grain ration, and I worked him again, he tied up. The most significant part about this is that in horses the "Charley horse" causes the muscle to die. If the condition worsens the horse can go into renal failure and die because their kidneys can't handle processing the dead muscle.

Talk about complete mental freak out.

According to the University of Minnesota Equine Center:
Sporadic exertional rhabdomyolysis occurs most commonly in horses that are exercised in excess of their level of conditioning. This happens frequently when a training program is accelerated too abruptly, particularly after an idle period of a few days, weeks, or months. Endurance competitions held on hot, humid days may elicit sporadic exertional rhabdomyolysis in susceptible horses because of high body temperatures, loss of fluid and electrolytes in sweat, and depletion of muscle energy stores.

So, in other words, working Ashke after the days off, without reducing his grain ration, in the heat, caused him to tie up. And I am pushing him too fast. J thinks my being thrown was a blessing in disguise, because it has had the effect of making me slow down and reevaluate what I am asking Ashke to do.

The best way to combat the condition is to decrease the amount of carbohydrates the horse gets (cut the grain) and increase the amount of fat and forage in their diet. The diet should also include selenium, potassium and vitamin E. Ashke should be getting the vitamin E from his hay, and we rushed out to buy Amplify (by Purina) for him. The Amplify pushes his fat content up (30%) and decreases the carbohydrates. I talked to the barn manager (actually the owner) about cutting the grain ration to .5 lb per feeding and supplementing with .5 lb of Amplify. After three days, I will have Grace cut the grain out completely and increase the Amplify to #1 per feeding. I also want to talk to her about increasing his forage with additional grass hay instead of the grain. By increasing the forage and fat and decreasing the carbs and sugars and adding the mineral supplements, it should help reduce the conditions that cause sporadic ER. If the option of increasing the forage with the feeding of grass hay isn't available, then I will have them use the beet pulp, since it will increase is forage without increasing sugars.

 Additionally, I am going rest the horse until there is no sign of soreness, and then start the exercise program slowly and consistently. Hand walking is a good start. Going to plan it out over several weeks until we are back where we were two weeks ago. Going to continue grooming and handling and working from the ground. Walk him around the area. Condition slowly. Hope this is a one time occurance and doesn't happen again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


This past week has been very difficult on so many levels. I have been experiencing a great deal of pain and discomfort in my rump, the small of my back and along the sciatic nerves. When the doctor said it would hurt more the next day, he wasn't kidding. Of course, I probably would have felt better had I allowed myself to stop and recuperate with ice and pain meds, but no, I don't really know how to slow down, even when in pain. It's been interesting to try and wear pants because the swelling was so severe that all of my pants refused to button and even the really baggy ones were tight, which I might point out, puts a lot of pressure on the already abused body parts.

Ashke, however, has not had a break, except for Monday. I have been at the barn, brushing him out and working him in the round pen, even if I haven't been on his back. J is making me wait until I can walk without pain before getting on him, which has forced me to slow down and work him in the round pen.

We start the process with grooming and hoof care. Ashke is shedding his second coat since we moved him in. He now looks dark grey on the neck and shoulders. As you can see from the video, the boy has a major itch he needs scratched. He loves being groomed now, probably because it doesn't hurt to have the brushes run over his skin.

After the grooming, Ashke is tacked up and led to the round pen, sans stirrups. I am using the reins through his martingale, to help teach him to keep his head down, and for the most part that has worked really well. We have had some moments where he protests quite a bit, bucking and kicking and carrying on. But, as the days progress, he fights less and listens better. He gets worked at the walk, trot, canter and backing up. In both directions. We've really struggled (by which I mean Ashke has fought and protested a lot) with the slow, easy canter clockwise in the round pen for more than one circuit. He knows exactly how long the carriage whip is and manages to stay just ahead of me at a fast trot. I stumble and run around the arena after him (which might be part of the reason the bruising is taking so long to heal) while he does a hard extended trot instead of the easy canter. Finally, last night, I got him to canter, head down and relaxed, without breaking the gait, for five or six turns around the round pen. He will slow to a jog on voice command and then to a walk. We work at it until he has achieved what I am asking for without protest. He decided last night that he was done with the canter and just stopped. I requested he go forward and he did, but bucking and kicking out at me. For that he got to canter an extra four circuits of the arena until I decided he was done with fighting me.

We went through an interesting issue with him nickering and reacting to me like a stallion does to a mare, with all of the physiological reactions that go with that. I have decided that when he begins to act that way, he needs more work. After running him around the ring a few more times, he's not nearly so amorous. I've seen young colts and stallions act this way, but never a gelding that's been gelded for six years. Anyone?

After the work in the round pen we untack and head for the wash station. Ashke no longer hesitates to step onto the concrete block and doesn't protest much when he is sprayed. In fact, he sighs with relief when the water hits his neck. Have I mentioned that its been hot here? I rinse him down, squeegee him off and then lead him back to his stall.

Despite the injury, or maybe because of the injury, we are still making progress.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pride Goeth Before a Fall

I have spent several hours thinking about what went wrong yesterday, trying to find some perspective on the issue that Ashke and I seem to have revisited yesterday, and the only conclusion I could come to was that I got cocky. I was so pleased with our progress and being able to ride outside the arena that I completely overlooked the fundamental understanding of my plan. Remember my plan? That and the success we both had at the gymkhana the stable held on the first of June. He did so well that I lost sight of what I was dealing with and what has worked for the two of us, over and over.


I need to remember there is a reason you work the horse consistently in the arena until there are no hiccups. You school and school and school until execution is flawless. Even if it means riding in circles over and over again. In both directions. At the gait the rider chooses. Until the rider decides to stop.

I should have known, because he was nippy yesterday. I should have worked him in the arena. I will, going forward, work him in the arena until there is no issue with a walk, slow jog, extended trot and canter. We will work on transitions and deliberate gaits. We will continue at this until it is engrained and I no longer need to worry. Over and over again. Because that is what works. Ashke responds best to routine. He enjoys new things, but he learns and retains best what is done the same way, every day. We will work the arena until there is no head flipping, no tail wringing, no nipping and no protest.

I had forgotten how much time I spent riding Queenie in circles my first year with her. How consistently I schooled her because I was planning on showing her in 4H and wanted to do well. My first year we won four blue ribbons and two rosettes, and tied for best in class in the Trail Ride event. It took hours of schooling to achieve that success. That is what I need to apply to Ashke's training now. We can ride for four miles every day, we'll just be doing it in the arena, until it becomes second nature for the boy.

So, about yesterday . . .

Here is Ashke tacked up and ready to go.

I've been off work this week, so I have spent a bunch of time riding. Yesterday was no different. I ran errands early and then tacked up. Our workout in the round pen was minimal. I headed to the big arena.

Ashke in the big arena watching the manure spreader empty into the manure bin.

Ashke was very hyper yesterday. He was nippy and not interested in working in the arena. I disregarded my plan. I should have worked him longer, but I was drunk on our success. I was excited about trying a new trail. I felt invincible. HA!

Sorry about the finger. Taking pics on horseback is challenging. This is the real start to the trail.

It was a really beautiful ride. Although Ashke was a lot more assertive than when we rode out the day before.

Nice big shoulder along 144th headed for McKay Lake Open Space.

It really was a beautiful trail!

Lot's of willow.

And a lake.

Which he wanted nothing to do with.

The trees were something to snort at . . . maybe because they don't have many in Texas?

Quiet and peaceful. No dogs. No strollers. Lulled me into a false relaxation.

It's kind of hard to see, but there is a monster storm drain hidden under that tree. Ashke spooked pretty good when we walked around that corner. He wasn't real excited about standing within attack range (500 hundred feet for storm drains) while I took the picture.

The whole loop was gorgeous. And very nice to ride. Still need to get used to whipping brances.

The last obstacle of the day. I hand walked him across it with no problems. When I remounted he knew where he was and was fighting me to go home. We trotted up to the pedestrian crosswalk, where we had crossed before and I hand walked him back across the street.

When I got back on, we were on the verge along 144th and he began fighting me for real. It took a great deal of work to keep him at a walk, since he was dancing sideways with his head toward the fence. He kept rearing up and curvetting, trying to take off for home. I finally got him settled, but we were walking faster than normal to get us back to the barn. Every time the footing changed, Ashke tried to move back into a trot. I didn't feel like I couldn't handle it and with a little work he would settle back down. When we reached the end of the path there was a nice, wide patch of grass along the road. We had cantered along it on the way out, so I decided to let him out a little to canter again. Two steps and he threw me.

The toss happened right before the left turn onto 149th.

Why the hell can't I stay on any longer? I know, age and time and distance. That would have been nothing as a kid. More of a joke than anything else. Maybe that is where the cockiness is coming from - my mind is still eighteen and hasn't recognized my body is almost 50. Damn body. It wasn't even a real hard buck, but it still threw me over his head and onto the ground. I landed flat on my back. Head hit the ground. Thank god for helmet's! Never ride without one. Most of the impact, however, was across the back of my pelvic girdle. I felt like I had been drop kicked.

Ashke jerked away from me and started to trot away. I pushed myself up through the pain and called to him. He stopped and turned around, kind of like he was wondering why I was down there. I called him again and he came right over to me. I finally stood up, released his reins and started home. He seemed sober enough now that we were both walking.

I can't describe how much pain I was in. I kept telling myself it was just pain and to keep moving through it. I was terrified I had wrecked something in my back again. Although, the pain was across the back of my pelvis and not really in my spine. I walked Ashke back to the round pen and made him canter around in both directions for several times. I then untacked him, led him to the wash area and rinsed him off. He was very docile and in retrospect, probably wondering why I was acting funny. He didn't even fight the bath. (This is how I know that my new plan will bring success. Consistency has produced results in working with him.)

By the time I got him put away and my tack stored, I was in tears. I got in the car, busted open a gatorade and called J. I sobbed on the phone. She was concerned and reassuring. I drove home and called J to come get me and take me to the ER. I was stupid the last time I was thrown from a horse and this time I wanted to be smart. Not to mention, I do have health insurance, so I should use it.

T was a bit freaked out and worried, but he pushed the wheelchair like a trooper. Here I am, waiting in one of the rooms in the ER at Saint Anthony's North.

They did a CT scan to check for fractures in my pelvis and for internal bleeding. The IV was inserted so they could shoot iodine into my bloodstream. I guess it rushes through the body pretty fast and allows contrasting pictures of the abdomen.

 And this is the CT scanner, which showed bad bruising but no broken bones. Or internal bleeding.

Me, after a shot for pain. I was out of it.

Finally leaving the hospital,

Things to Remember about today:

1. When that little voice in your head tells you to get off and walk, do so.

2. Cantering toward home is never a good idea.

3. Schooling, schooling, schooling.

4. Sometimes bruises hurt worse than broke things.

5. Slow Down!