The longest year

This year is half over, and we’re well into summer weather here in Oklahoma. I genuinely like summer- the long days feel luxurious and the sweltering heat is a welcome change from the bitter cold of winter. It’s a relief to enter my favorite season, as it’s been a long 2021 for me so far.

I finished my finance degree in December and began searching for a new job. While I still (mostly) enjoyed my work at the tack shop, I was desperate to stop commuting 1.5 hours a day for a job that hadn’t given me a raise in 3 years and had only increased my workload. On a whim, I applied for a (paid) internship with The Jockey Club, figuring it might be an opportunity to gain exposure to a different side of the equestrian industry and do something new. Two Zoom interviews later, TJC offered to hire me as an independent contractor. I accepted, and am now working as a UX/UI designer in a fully remote position that pays twice what the tack shop did. The work is interesting, the people are nice, and I really enjoy the schedule flexibility it offers.

Candy died in March, just a few days before her 13th birthday. I woke up to my neighbor frantically pounding on my front door at 5:45 AM. I stood in the dark on my porch, shivering in my pajamas as she informed me that Candy’s front leg was badly broken. She’d already called the vet; he was on the way to euthanize Candy. I stood with Candy for what seemed like an eternity before he arrived, trying in vain to comfort her. She is buried in the paddock behind the barn. I am profoundly grateful to my friend next door for calling the vet, calling the backhoe guy, and handling her burial while I laid in bed all day and cried.

A couple of weeks later, my elderly cat Woody was euthanized. Woody was the last vestige of my young adult life. I got him as a kitten when I was in college, and he’d moved with me to Kansas, then to Oklahoma. He was a cheerful, talkative cat who loved to travel with us after his diabetes diagnosis a few years ago. He walked on a leash, had an excellent grasp of English, and an unhealthy love for pizza. One morning he was unable to stand up, and I knew it was time to let him go. I laid in bed and cried after I got home from the vet.

Last month, I came in from taking Madigan to baby school and found my sweet tuxedo cat Marvin uncomfortably crouched in a pool of bloody urine. I rushed him to the vet, where he was diagnosed with a urethral blockage.  He was hospitalized and catheterized. He came home a few days later and blocked again. My vet recommended he have perineal urethrostomy surgery; every veterinary surgeon in Tulsa was booked for weeks, so I drove Marvin to OSU’s teaching hospital 1.5 hours away to have surgery. Then I laid in bed and cried. Marvin is home and fully healed, for which I am very grateful.

I threw my back out over Memorial Day weekend, which was a terrible and painful experience. For the better part of a week, I could not even roll over on my side without excruciating muscle spasms. When that finally seemed to resolve itself, I began having shooting pain deep in my right glute. Johnny drove me to Tulsa Bone & Joint, where I was diagnosed with a pinched nerve and sent home with a prescription for steroids and muscle relaxers. I feel much better than I did, and hope I’ll be back to normal soon.

with assistant trainer aboard

Madigan is the brightest part of 2021. He turned 3 on June 8 and sticks at 16.2 hands- a far cry from the petite yearling I brought home two years ago! He’s been attending baby school weekly for over a year and I couldn’t be happier with how he’s progressed. Madigan ties, cross-ties, trailers (although he still wants to turn around to unload rather than back out), is good about being saddled and bridled, stands quietly at the mounting block, and has a basic understanding of the aids for stop, go, and turn. He has a happy, curious, laid-back personality and seems to genuinely enjoy learning all these new skills.

Moe and Gina are just fine, too. They came through the winter well and have been out on the front pasture since mid-April. Moe and Madigan spend the hottest part of the day splashing each other in the pond. Gina is too dignified for that and opts to stand in the shade instead. I haven’t been riding much- first I was busy, then I was very depressed, and now I’m injured. But perhaps some trail rides are on the horizon in the latter half of what has already been a very long year.


Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

11 thoughts on “The longest year”

  1. Good to see an update from you! Very sorry about the crappy beginning to the year but I hope things are looking up now. Madigan is looking great!

  2. Ugh, what a turbulent beginning to the year. I am so very sorry for your losses. Madigan looks amazing and I’m glad he is a bright light for you amidst other hardships.

  3. Wow, what a year! I’m so sorry about Candy and Woody, but what a COOL new job you landed! I hope you can get back to riding, comfortably, soon.

  4. I’ve missed your posts! I’m so, SO sorry about all you have been through this year. Madigan is looking like a proper grown up horse these days, and I really hope you’re feeling better soon so you can sit on him too! Congrats on the new job! Sounds like a good one!

  5. I’m so sorry about Candy and Woody 🙁 Congrats on the sweet new job and I hope you can get on one of your horses soon. Sitting on a familiar friend always helps to lift spirits.

  6. I’m so glad to see you blogging again, but so sorry that you’ve had such a rough year. My BFF Mary and JenJ both work in UI/UX also if you need some industry contacts for the future!

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