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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dark and Sad Suprise- The vet's verdict and the hard weeks that followed Part 1

One day, we found that Sharlie's eye was very swollen and watery. The vet was called. This was the first time this vet would meet Sharlie. His visit was for the other horses as well, but Sharlie got to go first. I was so nervous, I asked Susan to hold her as I went to stand by the bathrooms. When I came back, the vet was explaining something to my dad. Uh-oh. When I walked up, my dad and the vet started to fill me in. I don't remember much of it because I was in frozen shock. After words like "Going blind", "remove eye", "can spread to both eyes", etc... I was just scared. I played the poker face.
For next few weeks, Sharlie was in no shape to do much exercise. Imagine having a constant migraine in the back of your eye. Those weeks were just spent getting her out of the field, grooming her, letting her graze, cuddling her and making her as comfy as possible.
I thought I saw the end of the darkness at the beginning of April. I could ride her now in lessons (but they were not at all pleasent for me and avoided as much as possible) but we did a lot of work in the round pen at liberty. Sharlie's eye didn't swell up as much anymore even though she was being stuffed with medicines.
Sharlie was supposed to get a catheter in around the beginning of April so she wouldn't have to have the creams and liquids applied directly to her eye. The vet was supposed to come one Friday to do so. My mom and I get there and *Poof!* "Oh, we are taking her up to the clinic". At first, I could only feel anger! They were going to take her to the clinic without even asking the owner??!! And plus I was just able to get her to stand within a yard of the trailer, and there goes all that hard work!!!!! We had to load up her field buddy and "boyfriend" Red. On the way to pick up my brother and rush to the clinic, I was a mess. I was texting one of my best friends for consolation while I was mixed with anger, anxiety and I was crying. It had all happened in such a rush and I could see Sharlie trembling in fear as they took the highway to the clinic (half an hour away by the highway!)
So Sharlie got the catheter put in and got her cornea scratched. (With a needle!!*Shivers*) She was supposed to stay therefor only a few days. Ended up being 3 weeks in a stall!!! She hates stalls. She was tranquilized all the time.
It hurt me everytime to go see her, but I knew that she felt safe when I was around in the stall with her. Near the end of her stay, she got company. A mother and foal moved in next door.

The next few weeks

It is all a bit of a blur. I remember starting the 7 games. I didn't start the last 2 or 3 games until May. I do remember that I did have a few lessons. I remember waiting for my instructor to come back to me and Sharlie or to arrive for a lesson. And while I waited with Sharlie, I would be really nervous and so Sharlie was very skittish. I didn't want to lead her like a leader should. I didn't want to risk it. I think it was after one really great liberty session in the round pen (I did round pen work with her because she was a mess lunging. And she just wouldn't do anything for the circling game) I decided that I should just try to do the 7 games again, go as far as we could go. And we managed to do a circle or two of the circling game! Managed to do the driving game! And the squeeze game. Unfortunatly, the sideways game is still our biggest problem. Well, that's where our relationship took off. And it happened just intime for the dark times ahead...

Photos coming soon!

I know that the blog is looking a little plain. It is because I am not on the computer that has the photos on it. I can't get to the computer with all the photos on it, but I will be putting in the photos once I have access to the computer!

Thank you!

Week 2- Franklin Celebration!!!

Well, I had been looking forward to this before we even started considering buying a horse! I couldn't wait!And when I did get Sharlie, I thought it would be very cool if I could tell Pat or Linda "I just got my horse a week ago!"
My mom and I went to Nashville on a Thursday night (Got to skip school on Friday) and stayed the night at a hotel. We woke up early to eat and get down to the Arena as soon as possible. The first day was long. They had a lot of Spotlighters. It didn't help that many people were repeating with their horses in different savvy's. But it was just amazing to watch all of them! Especially the young girls and their horses. Really got me motivated. At the end, we got Beau. A very pretty pony, but unfortuanly, very troubled when he entered that ring. In 3 days, Pat Parelli changed Beau from a terrified and troubled horse, to a horse who could communicate and was more trusting!

Here is a video. It is really amazing. Link:
Linda's words of advice that got Sharlie and me to where we are now! : Don't worry about messing up the 7 games, just don't make them the 7 jobs!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Week 1-Week 2- Bonding Time

During the whole week once I got Sharlie, I was very hesitant. I was going to the Franklin Celebration that weekend and I wanted to ask Pat and Linda for any advice. Plus, Sharlie was still adapting to her surrounding. She was scared of the pigs, the geldings were always trying to impress her and threatening to kick each other's guts out. But Mom offered to take me down every day after school that week to spent about half an hour down to just hang out in her field and bond. And that probably made all the difference
I was able to clean out her field and feed her. At first, she openly showed how she didn't appreciate my company. Purposely showing me her rear everytime I tried to approach her, stepping on my foot once when I got into her "bubble". It slowly got better during the week. By the end of the week she would answer to her name when I called her.
I was nervous to leave Sharlie for the weekend, but she reassureared me with a little suprise. Just before I left that thursday, she came up to the fence, near where the car was parked and gave me a little nicker!

I was on a cloud all the way to Nashville!

Week 1- Picking up the princess-harder then one thinks!

January 24th 2009

So here we are, trying to get to the barn where my new horse, Sharlie, is waiting. The vet checked her over and said everything was good (Remember this, it becomes a problem later) So Tom and Susan, the owners of the barn that we will be boarding at, are coming with us to pick her up (Well...they sort of had to come because we were using their trailer, a little rickity, I think.) We had ended up so that we had gone down a narrow road with this huge truck and trailer.
Well, anyway, we pulled up, I had to put away my ipod, and then joined the others in the barn (why does it seem like I am the last one in all the time!!!???) I walk up to her stall and just admire her for 30 seconds. Then we get to load her up. The previous owner drags her down the aisle while grabbing all the things in the deal (Halter, leadrope and blanket. And the horse of course!) Sharlie walks up to the trailer and freezes. They start to whip and smack her until she has no choice but to go in. Once in, the sound of bumping into metal does not help at all. We had to hurry to leave before she got hurt. And so we are off! 2 hours of driving before we reach home.
We arrive. We unload her and put her in the small pen just by the big field that has all the horses in it. Ironicly, they are all boys and Sharlie is probably the first mare they have seen in months! We put her in the pen(shared by goats) and in a record time of less then 1 minute, all the boys are up by the fence sniffing as far as their necks can reach. Sharlie is being the snotty princess, trotting up and down the corral, all 5 boys trailing behind. It was amazing to watch her trot. She would lift up her tail and her ears would be forward. She looked like a princess!

Week 0- Buying Sharlie (my miracle)

January 18th 2009

I walked as casually as possible down the barn aisle to the end stall and peeked over the stable door. Inside was the chestnut mare I had seen in the photos. She had a long white balde going from her forehead to her nose. On her nose and above her left eye the hair was balding. But to me, that was not important. What was important, to me, was that when I looked over the door, she raised her head and took one nervous step to sniff me. (I know now that that nervous step was because she is terrified of stalls.)
The owner got her out and dragged, yes dragged, her to the crossties, groomed and saddled her up. I wasn't allowed to groom her. Th en the group of people escorted Firefly (a.k.a Sharlie) down to the ring, who was doing her best not to trip and run over the humans that were crowding her down the very steep and slippery hill.
The owner rode and then my riding instructor (who was quite pregnant at the time) and then it was my turn! I was exited and nervous, but amazingly, Firefly stayed as calm as she had been with her 2 previous riders.
After unsaddling her and grooming her, my dad negotiated the price (from 1500 to 1250) and then they all proceeded to the office to discuss the vet check. I stayed behind and took photos and thought up the new name Charlotte's Firefly (Sharlie for short).

And thats where my journey began

From the Beginning

It is only fair for everyone to know our journey from the beginning. I only remember certain parts and times, but that is enough to fill everyone in

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sharing the journey

I have had dreams for a week straight of a blog where I share my journey with my first horse that is an adventure and an opportunity that does not happen to everyone. So here I am, sharing my journey so that people may look and take intrest at the challenges that life have given me.

Love is blind-This is my journey

What kind of horse would you get your daughter as a first horse? Maybe a nice gentle old pony. Or maybe a spunky but friendly small horse. You might even make the mistake of buying a Registered Pinto who is actually an Arab. But I bet you wouldn't get a horse that would become blind in one eye in a matter of weeks. Would you? See. Well, that's what happened to me. My first horse bcame blind in her left eye because of moon blindness.
You might think that this might not be a good idea for a first horse. But Sharlie, in a matter of months, has changed me. I have learned not to be so self-centered. I have learned to be caring and take interest to other people's problems and knowing how they feel. I am now less selfish, more responisible and the list goes on and on.
Sharlie is still my first horse and this is my natural journey with Parelli. Follow us through it.