So, in November, I moved Tucker.
You see, while I was happy to be back in Chuluota, he was not. The turnout schedule of the barn was not a good match for Tucker and he was back on night turnout. Not good for a horse who suffers from sweet itch.
Within days of going back out at night, he was itchy and miserable. His hair was falling out, his coat raw and crusty with sores. He was a mess.
I knew within a few weeks of moving back to Chuluota, that it wasn't going to work, and began the task of finding a new facility.
I don't know about the rest of the country, but around here, Craigslist has the most current boarding offerings.
It went something like this:
Barn # 1: Great amenities. XC jumps, good location. Everything sounded perfect. Except that they would not reply to my emails. Hmmmm.....is my name on some list of potential boarders to ignore? A list of boarders from hell? Or am I paranoid?
Barn #2. Barn full of eventers. They can accommodate Tucker's turnout schedule. Take care of him when I travel. Except that the barn manager lit up a cigarette in the middle of the barn as we were talking. And the barn was in a flood zone and I could not bring my barn cat.
Barn # 3. Everything was wonderful. I know the owners. Barn is immaculate. But, turnout schedule is not what will work for us. Horses out all day long, even in the summer heat and storms. And I can't bring Hobbs, the best barn cat in the world.
And so it went.
I was obsessed with Craigslist and other sites, but nothing was popping up that would work.
I was on a mission.
In October, I realized that the answer was right in front of me all along. I just had to take the long path to get there. The answer was to move him back to Apopka, where I had leased a barn a few years earlier. Except that I would return as a boarder, in the main barn (well, I refer to it as the main barn. A former standardbred training facility, this is the largest barn of the 6 on the property.)
As several friends reminded me, Apopka was the one place that Tucker was not plagued with his allergies. And, he could be on a day time schedule, and come summer, he will be brought in at noon...after being rinsed off (you have no idea what a foreign concept it is for many barn managers, to rinse off a hot and sweaty horse!)
I could partial board him, which with his EPSM, it is important that I maintain control of his diet. And Hobbs was welcome, too.
So in November, we bid farewell, loaded the truck and trailer, and with Hobbs on my lap, we headed west, for Apopka.
Tucker went back into the same paddock he had before, only this time, with a buckskin pony for a companion. He settled right into his large, roomy stall in the main barn.
Within a week, of no more night turnout, his coat was healing. The scabs were gone, the hair growing in, and the itching was noticeably less.
He was happy.
And something was happening to me, too.
This has been the first time in years, that I have not had a barn of boarders to take care, or take care of my daughter's horses, or work in exchange for board.
I only have Tucker to tend to.
And I realized, that for the first time, I was not rushing to get from one task to another.
You see, as the mother of 3, all I have done for the last 20 plus years, was rush from soccer practice to riding lessons to the car pool line, and so on and so on. I have never been one to enjoy the journey, rather, getting to the destination was the goal.
The story of any stay at home mother's life.
But now, with 2 kids out of college and gainfully employed, as my husband likes to point out, and the 3rd child in her junior year of college, away from home, I finally have time to stop and smell the roses.
Or rather, spend more time grooming Tucker. Taking longer warm ups and cool downs with leisurely walks around the farm. Or taking silly videos of him smacking his lips as he realizes there is another carrot for him. Spending more time grooming him after our daily rides.
I am enjoying the journey, for once in my life!
His relapse of EPSM has been frustrating as hell, as I try and figure out what will work for him and keep him healthy and sound.
This has meant longer warm ups at the walk and longer cool downs. I find myself, as we walk around the farm, not wanting to hurry and get off so I can get to the next task, but rather, wishing that the walks didn't have to end. Content to just walk and take in the scenery.
Yesterday, with the temps falling 50 degrees in just a few hours, I was able to enjoy the different birds as they prepared themselves for the cold weather, darting here and there, gathering every morsel of food they could. I have always enjoyed, always noticed nature, but it was sweet to take it all in and not be in a rush.