Friday, June 21, 2013

Ulcers, Fire Ants, and Gender Panic

Well, if it ain't one thing, it's another. That's horses.

I got on Lex again on Wednesday and she was like, "Walking is fun! BUT TROTTING IS MAKING ME ANGRY AND YOU WOULDN'T LIKE ME WHEN I'M ANGRY!"

And I was like, well, fuck.

So I called Trainer Chris and he came out the next morning to take a look. Lex lunged fine - to the left, and pretended she had never been lunged to the right, which earned me a reprimand I totally did not deserve - and neither Chris, his excellent wife, nor I could see anything at all wrong with her movement. Chris had me hop on, and she walked well, but then Hulked out at the trot again. I'm glad she did, because if she'd trotted around like a little lamb, I'd have probably really gotten an earful.

Note: I love my trainer. He is a fantastic horseman and a good, kind person, but the sarcasm force is strong in this one.

Anyway, we're thinking there are two things going on: 1. She has ulcers (probably, she's certainly a good candidate, considering all the Bute/Banamine she was on, and not being able to eat the coastal hay while on the Atropin, being stressed, being a thoroughbred mare); 2. Her back is sore from not being in work, and from whatever hurt her back before, where she still has a very slight swelling.

To deal with ulcers, I'm giving her a third of a tube of UlcerGard before our rides for the next six days to see if that helps. I'm also putting her back on the hay cubes in addition to the coastal hay. For the back, well, Chris thinks I just need to keep her in light, consistent work and get her to build her strength up again. He thinks she'll be feeling better after a couple weeks. I really hope he's right. It's hard for me to keep trotting when she's like "RAWR," not because she scares me - she doesn't, at all - but because I know I'm asking her to do something she doesn't like. I talk very soothingly to her and pat her on the neck and try to be as quiet and light as possible. Chris said I'm the most sensitive rider he's ever seen in his life, which is some comfort right now, but only a little bit. If I'm the problem, I can fix it. But it's not like I can even find her a different rider, because there isn't anyone who will do this any better than I'm doing it. Argh.

We did the first UlcerGard ride today, and it was no different, really. She stretches occasionally, which is a good sign, I think. My friend E was riding her wonderful gelding at the same time, and she was like, WOW, because Lex is the quietest horse to lead in and out of the field in the whole barn. She falls asleep on the crossties. She is not the horse you'd think would come out and be all HulkSmash, but here we are. The thing is, I know she's not like this. She's hurty, and we're gonna figure out what to do to help her. If this UlcerGard and training regimen thing doesn't work, I'm having the vet out again. We could still try Robaxin.

BUT ALSO, it wasn't just the ulcers and sore muscles! The silly horse rolled in fire ants and is covered in ant bites. COVERED. I should have taken pictures. Fortunately, the welts are not actually where any of the tack goes. Maybe that should be "unfortunately" because that would be an easy answer to the "why is she being a dragon" question.

Sigh. I love this horse. She is going to be great. I don't think I've ever believed in anything as much as I believe in this mare. We ARE going to get through all of this.

In other news, we have a new instructor at the lesson barn, and he seems like a cool dude. I haven't had much of a chance to talk to him yet. However, he nabbed one of my students. I don't think it's really his fault, but I'm bummed about it nonetheless. The barn owner went out of her way to say that the kid really loved taking lessons with me but he wants to ride with a guy. That shot me right in my little trans-masculine genderqueer heart. I'd rather have heard I wasn't any good. I can get better but I can't ever have my gender read accurately or not have whatever people think my gender is be seen as a deficit. I'm never enough of something, whether it's masculine or feminine. The "don't let it get to you" advice doesn't work in cases like this. I know that my gender is illegible to people, and most of the time that's awesome and something I really like, but hearing "He wanted someone more convincingly butch than you" is owie. Because that's the only real difference between me and the other instructor. Gender is a made-up thing, and it only has meaning because we give it meaning. My genderweirdness is one of my favorite things about myself, but I can't pretend it isn't hard sometimes. To be clear, I don't think the student switched because I'm kind of weird looking; I think he switched because I wasn't sufficiently male, and that... it bums me out.

Anyhizzle, Lex is my darling love, and I can't wait to see her tomorrow. Horses are my peaceful place, even when they're the primary source of stress. To close, here are some pictures of Rocket the Giant Filly. She's apparently excellent, curious, brave, and loves to be curried. Sounds like my dream horse!
I feel like Lex makes this face a lot too.

I'm insane about her ears.

That's a 4' fence she's standing next to.

She's even cute when she poops!



  1. *Hug* don't let it get you down. It's just a kid after all.

  2. Like L. said, don't let it get you down. Really. It's just a kid, and a boy at that. Who knows what his motives are. Maybe his parents are divorced and he's looking for a father figure. Kids can be fickle and weird.

    I'm new to your blog and have been catching up. :) Love your views on everything equine and on gender! Lex is gorgeous, and Rocket is a cutie!

    You mention in a couple of posts that you are looking for other gay equestrians...have you checked out Andrea's blogs? She is an AMAZING horsewoman, and she writes about being gay in the equine world in a couple of her posts, mostly in her old blog Eventing A GoGo. ( Her current blog is Project Runaway: The Uncatchable Number 257 ( She currently owns 3 mares. And don't let her current Future Hubs references fool you-Future Hubs, her SO, is transexual.

    Looking forward to continuing to read about your adventures with your girls!

    1. Hi!!! Thanks for reading, and I will definitely check out your blog and Andrea's. I'm dying to find other gay riders. :)

  3. I am sorry for this painful experience. :( Like Saiph said, who knows what all was in the mix, though I know that doesn't make it any less disappointing. There is another kid out there who will need exactly the instructor and person that you are.