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Archive for June, 2010
Riley died peacefully this morning after eight days in the ICU at the Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center.
Riley’s strong will and indomitable spirit amazed everyone as she went through a battery of tests, scans, and medications, and then through several surgeries to drain the infection in her hind leg. But it became clear that the antibiotics were not working and her pain became progressively worse; she stopped passing manure and her other hind leg began to fail as it bore all of her weight.
We then discovered that the infection was so aggressive that it had invaded the coffin joint. In her condition, this was not treatable. We all talked it over and decided that the best thing for Riley was to put her to sleep.
We are so grateful to the staff at Loomis. They did everything they could to keep Riley comfortable during her stay and in her passing, as well as allowing us to be with her during odd hours.
We will always love Riley. She was a horse that comes along once in a lifetime.
Riley Memorial Fundraiser
We will be having a memorial fundraiser at the ranch on June 26 to help cover Riley’s medical bills. Erin will be teaching lessons and giving consultations on student-requested topics such as trailer loading, equine first aid, ground skills, and riding. All proceeds will go directly to medical costs.
Email Erin (email@example.com) with your desired time slot and let her know what you would like to cover in the lesson.
9am to 11am
11am to 1pm
1pm to 3pm
(If you can’t make it on Saturday but want to make a donation to the Riley Memorial Fund, you can send a check made out to Erin Murphy at Equine Partners, Inc., 11009 Spenceville Rd, Penn Valley, 95946.)
We know these are tough times for everyone and appreciate any and all contributions.
Again, thank you for all of your love and support,
Erin & Kim
We had about a month to pull it all together, so the first thing we did was meet a few times without our horses, to map out what we wanted to show people and how we could choreograph it to keep things interesting and progressive.
We chose games and tasks that our horses felt confident with. A performance or competition is not the time to teach oneself or one’s horse new tasks, but rather to show what the partnership can already do.
Then we did simulations, again without our horses. We practiced this at home and at the event venue until we were confident with our parts. This allowed us to get comfortable with our timing and pacing (not to mention ensuring that by the end of the month we were fit enough to jog along with our horses for the duration of the event).
We set up our “stage” at home, with the various obstacles and toys we would play with at the demo. We also took the horses to the event venue at least twice a week, allowing them plenty of time to gallop around and roll and explore and graze at the grass along the fence. This made the arena a fun playground rather than a dull office. It also allowed the horses to get used to the sound of the music and any random commotion like work trucks or people climbing up and down the stands.
Meanwhile, we continued playing with our horses in other ways, doing things like a short trail ride around the ranch to deliver the mail as well as our normal routines. It was important not to practice the demo patterns too many times, so they did not get bored with it.
I was reminded of one important point that I’ve told many students over the years: “Don’t change anything the day of the performance.” Not realizing that I wasn’t taking my own advice, I decide to paint the pedestals the day before the demo. When my horse Dave smelled the unfamiliar pedestal and realized it was quite slippery he did a double-take. I thought to myself, “Of course, I changed something!” But after a couple of tries Dave hopped up on the pedestal, and I was overwhelmed with his trust.
On the morning of the demo, we gave each horse some grazing time, and we started the same way we started every practice session, allowing them to run free in the arena before we called them to us. Our horses caught our sense of purpose and truly showed what you can achieve when you approach things naturally.