Friday, November 13, 2009

When Navicular is the Best News I've Heard All Day...

Normally, I save this blog as an outlet for journalistic expression. I usually write articles about top barrel racers, arena conditions and new products. But, today, I'm reflecting. I'm thinking about where barrel racing fits into the grand scheme of life, and I wanted to share a story with you all.

While I was at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress a few weeks ago, I received a phone call from my mother, letting me know that my aunt had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. I come from a very close family - 'very close' doesn't even begin to touch upon how much love my family has for one another. When I heard about my aunt, I was standing in the middle of Lagrange, looking at gator boots. I stopped, cried and hugged my dearest friends. It was a gut-wrenching moment for me.

Over the last few weeks, we've heard nothing but good news from the doctors. They removed part of her stomach, and the surgery went great. She was told she'd have to be in the hospital for 10 days, since the surgery we got great report after great report. She began eating again, first soup then Jello. And then, just yesterday morning, the bomb went off. My uncle sent me a text message - my aunt's biopsies came back, and the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.

I got this text message just as I was throwing on my boots to head to the vet's with my 16-year-old barrel horse. I had been worried about her all week - worried that she had something seriously wrong with her that would make it impossible for her to ever ride again.

Instantly, though, this message changed my outlook on things. Any news I received about my horse that meant I could keep her happy and healthy for years to come would be good news.

My amazing best friend picked my horse and I up to go to the vets with two of her own horses. She and I agreed that drinks just might be necessary after taking three horses to the vet, and we both expected the worst.

After lots of examining, nerve blocks and x-rays, the doctor had a diagnosis. I discovered she has the very early stages of navicular syndrome, and all she'll need to be sound is proper shoeing to be able to be ridden and loved for years to come. She won't run again - she's earned her retirement 10 times over. My friends horses will be OK in the long-run, too. So, we breathed a sigh of relief.

So, yes, navicular was the best thing I'd heard all day. Sometimes, every once and awhile, something happens that puts the rest of life into perspective. This week was one of those weeks, where all I can do is throw my hands up and go along for the ride. If praying is something you do, I'd appreciate a few prayers for my family. If it's not, please keep my family in mind as we go through this difficult time.


  1. I am so sorry to hear about your Aunt. In the past year my bf's family has had to deal with losses. He lost his older sister at age 43 to a four wheeler accident and then almost a year later his 10yo nephew hung himself. I completely understand your outlook and close, doesn't begin to describe this family either.

    As for your horse, I enver thought I'd say this, but I have started keeping my horses barefoot and doing the barefoot trim. I no longer have unsound horses, and I even have one with navicular and very little joint fluid in his coffin joint. I was always a shoe girl myself, and kept my navicular, or poor footed horses in NB shoes.

    But since moving to the ranch, and learning more about their feet, I'll probably never shoe a horse again. When barefooting is done correctly it is the best thing for them. Just some food for thought.

    I'll keep your family in my prayers.

  2. Best wishes and prayers for your aunt and the whole family.

    And here's to hoping for many more happy and painfree years for your mare.

  3. Thanks so much to both of you. Very interesting about the barefooting, I've heard of a lot more people doing it around here too. I will definitely have to look into that.

  4. I am thinking about you Chelsea. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

    I hope that your mare has many pain free years while she enjoys her retirement!