A few months ago, T squared and I had a freak accident. We have been showing all year at 1.45m jumpers and while at home jumping a 3’6 oxer the unthinkable happened. We were preparing for the 7-year-old Midwest finals at Kentucky and when she went to take off she tripped and we flipped through the jump. It occurred so fast I did not even know what had happened, only that I knew in midair it was not going to be good. I whacked my head and the whole left side of my body but my adrenaline was running so high I did not even feel any pain until later. I later found out I had a concussion, had separated my shoulder, and cracked my wrist. She had cuts and scrapes but seemed to be ok when we trotted her. We later found out differently.
I had an eerie bad feeling after a few days when I could not get the swelling in her knee to go down even though she was walking okay. I knew we needed to do x-rays, if for nothing else to make sure that everything was okay. In my gut though, I knew it was not okay; I thought she had broken her knee. The x-rays came back to show that she had chipped off at least 6 pieces of bone fragment from her accessory carpal bone or the back of her knee. When I first saw the x-rays I balled like a baby and it was not just because I would not have my top horse, but because I did not want my horse to suffer. She is like my child and if I could have taken the pain away I would have. We talked to 3 different well known vets who had never seen anything like and who told us she was finished because the location would be too hard to do surgery. They believed that surgery would do more damage to the ligaments and cartilage there, than it would do help. These vets told us that she would never show again, but that she could be a broodmare.
Taylor is my best friend though and I would never want her to be in pain. More than any other horse I know, she loves what she does (showing) and hates to do nothing. She has never given up on me and I, nor my mother, would give up on her when she needed us. I owe it to my mother who told me that nothing is impossible and we would find someone who could help fix her. If nothing else we could help ensure that she would not be in pain. I called a good friend of mine who has some of the top horses in the country and asked him who the best surgeon in the country was. He told me that Dr. Michael Ross at New Bolton would fix her and thank god, he was right.
We quickly sent over the x-rays and pictures of the knee to Dr. Ross who told us he believed surgery was worth it as he thought these fragments could be removed. In mid October, Dr. Ross performed the surgery and successfully removed all of the fragments without causing any damage to the knee. He gave T Squared a good prognosis and told us that he thinks there is a good chance she will come back to show at the same level she was showing. Of course, one never knows and a lot of that will be up to Taylor. I know that if it is up to her though we will be back in the show ring in no time.
She is one of the toughest horses and fighters I have ever been lucky enough to know. Once before in her life a vet has said she needed to be put down and that she would never show. She has since won more classes than I can count, and been horse of the year twice. At the end of last year, I wrote her a letter to tell her how I felt about her.
I could not ask for a better best friend. This year you have stood by me through everything. I know it has not been easy because I have had a rough year with being sick and so many things happening. When other friends have let me down, I have always known I can count of you. I have let you down a few times but you never hold a grudge. When I make mistakes, you try and do cover them up for me. You are always there proving to me that things are okay and you still love me. You have made the impossible possible and made so many of my dreams come true. You have believed in me and trusted me and I am so lucky to have you in my life. I can never tell you how grateful I am to have you in my life and on my team. I could not ask for a better partner.
How many other horses could go down to Wellington and win the first 6 classes they go in, in the 6 yr. old jumpers. She has given me the confidence to believe I can do anything in life and she will always be my horse of a lifetime whether she returns or not. She currently has to be on 2 months of stall rest and even though I take her out for grass, I know she is already thinking she is ready to go back to work.
It is easy to take things for granted when you have them in your life and I will be honest, this happened to me with Taylor. I got so used to having such an amazing young horse. Even when she was 5, she was ready to win, she knew her job. About a month ago I went to my first show in 3 years without Taylor; it was very eye opening and difficult, I miss her so much. After coming out of the welcome with my other young mare I said to my mother, “now I know why Taylor was worth a million dollars.” You could always count on Taylor, I knew every time I walked in the ring I was sitting on a winner and I was so so lucky to have been able to ride her. She was the first young horse I truly brought along and she made it so easy and taught me a lot along the way. She was the first partner I had that I knew I could count on to be there for me.
My surgeries taught me that life is short and we never know what can happen. This reinforced that for me. Every day we are able to ride our horses is a wonderful day and while I am beyond disappointed that I will not have Taylor as my partner for the next few months, I am just so glad we have had the last few years together. I know that she will be back though because she is a fighter, the same as me. We are two peas in a pod and even when we are mad at each other, we still love each other unconditionally. No matter what happens I will always owe so much to this horse who has given me her all.