Health Insurance and Horse Dreams

WMNameyeFoot surgery this Friday–it’s like preparing for a trip that I don’t get to take. All the stress of canceling work, stocking up on feed and supplements, prepping the barn for winter, as well as all the indoor work, so that I can keep my post-surgery foot higher than my heart for stall rest detention. I plan on following the doctor’s directions because I don’t want to have this forced couch-vacation one day longer than necessary, but I’m fraught, frustrated, and fearful. All F-words, I notice.

And if horses have taught me one thing, it’s that ruminating on problems only makes things worse. (But there is going to be something wicked-sharp cutting into my skinny, bony foot!) And aren’t I the one always insipidly chirping about breath and focus? (But…but it hurts.)  Is it too soon to breathe my way into a horse dream instead of having an angst runaway?

There’s a particular dream that’s always just on the backside of my eyelids. It’s the first dream I remember having as a kid and it recurred with alarming frequency for years; one of those dreams that was so very real that each of my senses remembered it long after I woke.

Here’s a surprise: In the dream I’m on a horse.  First I notice a breeze on my face; just enough to move the hair on my shoulders. It’s because I’m moving. When I open my eyes the rest the way and look down, a thigh, much more muscular and tan than mime, rests on the shoulder of a bay and white pinto. It was like I was wearing another body. Do you ever have dreams where it’s you but you don’t recognize yourself?

Then the breeze picks up, the rhythm get smoother, and I feel the one-two-three waltz of the canter begin. And my pelvic bone begins the wave motion and the rest of my spine follows, one vertebrae at a time. I’m barefoot; no boot or stirrup. There’s no holding on or letting go, we just cover ground. My hands play in his mane.

The land is not a place I know. There are low, gradual hills and huge open valleys with tall yellow grass and patches of random shrubs. The sun is always at our backs.

On we go, through and over and around, but the landscape doesn’t alter our balance. Sometimes his hooves smash sage plants and the air filled with the rich aroma, and I felt his ribs take a deep inhale that I matched.

So that’s the dream. We aren’t on a journey. No one chases us. There are no weather disasters. We never get tired. There’s never a lather, or even a sweat, but there’s a warmth feels like the glow of embers buried deep between us.

The dream started before I began to ride. I had already broken my little-girl-nose on a Suffolk ram named Grandpa, and I had very little sense of smell. I was shy and awkward; my pasty white bird legs were never that supple. The dream wasn’t based in anything I knew in my waking life, but the ride was offered whenever I closed my eyes.

When I was nine, we packed up the station wagon and moved to Washington State. I recognized land from my dream–it was in Montana. The dream followed me though high school, and when I left home and came to Colorado. Years passed and it came less frequently.

When my Grandfather Horse was young, he got pretty tense on one of our early trail rides. While my friend waited, I trotted him in circles to help him relax. We eased into a canter, still on that huge circle in a meadow. My friend and I had joked about never raising our eyes above our horse’s ears because it was wild flower season and the ground was as ornate as a Persian carpet.

As Spirit and I cantered on, we crossed a patch of frosty-green sage and his hooves made a slightly different sound as they crushed it, and the herbal aroma from the dream seasoned the real Colorado prairie. My legs felt his inhale as deep as my own. Every second was hours long and my senses expanded. I don’t know if I was ever more sensually aware of a physical moment.

Eventually my horse and I dropped down to a walk and we rejoined my friend, who said we both looked a little weird. The dream never came again at night, but it somehow transmuted to the conscious world. The dream travels with me now. Has your horse given you peace of mind?

It’s before dawn. Surgery is scheduled for about three hours from now. At the last minute, we found out there’s some huge insurance snafu; a problem that we couldn’t resolve on the phone after closing hours. I don’t know if the surgery is a go or not, and I’m still fraught, frustrated, and fearful.

At the same time, horses are a parable for everything we know in life. A few circles, some deep breathing, and we’ll get on with the ride.

Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.

49 thoughts on “Health Insurance and Horse Dreams

  1. Love the dream, Anna. I guess it’s one most horsey girls have had, even if we’re not all lucky enough to have made it a reality. Hope your dream accompanies you through your surgery and that you heal quickly. Thinking of you this Friday.

  2. Kate

    Anna, sending you heartfelt hugs and appreciation for your beautiful storytelling voice. Keep breathing!!!

  3. Leslie

    Praying for a smooth ride for you through the coming days! Confident that you’ll be fine! I had collarbone surgery last year and shared a few “F words” myself! 😉 Kick on! Leslie

  4. Helen Jones

    Beautiful coming to fruition of your dream. May you ride smoothly through your surgery and healing.

  5. Dottie L

    Beautiful! Your dream is wonderful to visualize. So relaxing. Well wishes on your surgery. I would like to follow you surgery with pictures, before and the healing process too. Prayers are with you.

  6. thanks for sharing this all, I remember the feeling before my ankle / foot surgery to put it all back together, and the recovery time drove me nuts, I went to the horses every day against my doctors orders, I wore out the bionic walking boot, I took it off to drive (also against orders) but in the end my orthopedic surgeon said “if you would have followed doctor’s orders you would not have healed as quickly or have been walking as well!” — I had dislocated my foot and fractured my ankle when I stepped on a pallet with hay! Take care of yourself!

  7. Sharon

    Beautiful dream, beautiful reality, thank you for sharing. Here’s hoping the surgery goes well and the insurance snafu does not prevent the needed surgery to get you back on your feet again soon!

  8. Joan Spence

    I love that horse dream, it’s similar to one I’ve had but never enough. That dream sounds healing and calming to me so please allow yourself to embrace all wonderful things. And for what it’s worth I started a new PERMANENT job (after years of term posts) in Montana!

  9. Thinking of you this morning and hoping the surgery is a snap. It’s the recovery time that is a pain in the booty. Time will pass though and you’ll be living the dream again, soon enough. Hugs!

  10. good luck with the surgery. Its a very strange thing to do to one’s body – the cutting and the trauma is a second injury that you will recover from, but its a lot. make sure you take a stool softener daily or you will really complicate the healing process by getting stopped up! Sorry to be so graphic but my first couple of surgeries, i ignored a lot of the pre and post surgical instructions i received from the docs, thinking I was too pure to put all those chemicals in my body but on the whole, they do know what they are doing! Pain is a great barrier to the body healing itself so I do take as many pain pills as I need to get thru it. Modern surgery could not proceed without the use of major conscious-altering medications – its just a fact of life and I fought it because I have an addictive gene and I was afraid of them but i have found a balance of using the pain medications and being able to stop them when its appropriate. Thinking of you and hoping for as smooth a process as can be hoped for.

  11. lsterling56

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers today, Anna. Sweet dreams…and may today’s trials be just a dim memory as you get on with your business of healing.

  12. Suzanne

    If they give you a bionic boot – word of advice – take the black one if you have a color choice! Manure stains and dirt don’t show up near as much! Best wishes for successful surgery and quick recovery. Here’s hoping you get “back to the horses” in record time!!! Suzanne

  13. Teresa Sepulveda

    Wishing you good luck and a successful, peaceful recovery. Having had foot surgery X 2, I cannot overly emphasize the importance of keeping your foot elevated. You seem pretty tough. Hopefully, the pain will be more manageable than you are expecting. Will be thinking of you.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  14. Maggie Frazier

    I sure do hope the insurance mess got straightened out & you now have the surgery over with. Lots of us waiting in “breathless anticipation” for results!!

  15. I hope everything works out for you surgery wise. I know that its scary. I have had so many over the last few years. And am now putting a major one off, although not really due to fear, but due to my need for control. But yes, horses often bring me peace. In fact over the last three years now, since I became disabled. Horses and the barn have become my “peace” more than ever.
    Wishing you the best and a quick recovery.

    M

  16. Judy

    Hope this finds you with your surgery behind you and praying for a speedy recovery! Thanks for your wonderful and thought provoking blogs. They are a blessing.

  17. Okay – so with something as major as surgery – if the universe postpones it, there must be a good reason. Who knows why, but maybe you weren’t meant to be sliced up today.

    Also – anesthesia is delightful. I dreamed I was galloping my guy bareback while the plate and screws were installed in my arm. When the docs wakened me I remember being pissed. They had interrupted the deepest, most restful sleep and the very best dream.

    Thinking of you 😀

  18. Daisy

    Hi anna, good luck when your surgery happens; what is your projected rehab time ? not that projected really counts as we all rehab at our pace ! take care, whisper sends a whinny!!!!!!!!! daisy

  19. Anticipation is the worst!!! I remember, the day before having a screw removed from my soldier, reorganizing the supply closet at work (because of nervous energy), singing parts of the Ramone’s song: “Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated. Nothin’ to do and no where to go-o-oh I wanna be sedated.” Go back into the warm, soft protection of denial. It’s much nicer.

    Love your writing!!! Have a speedy recovery after all is done.

    kk

  20. Anna, I found your blog quite by accident. Over 25 years ago I read a story about a man who trained horses in a “new” way with positive training, not the “I am the master and I must break you to my will” kind of training. It resonated for a lot of reasons, and I have used that philosophy during much of my life since. I was recently looking for something about that when your blog came into the search engine, and an older post about training horses. I read a few, including the latest when you posted about the Grandfather Horse’s shadow.

    I have never had my own horse, but one of my joys now is caring for my 90 year old father’s horse when I go home–because he no longer can. Rio has been with us a long time now. Two years almost since hip replacement, and mucking out Rio’s stall and barn no longer sends me to bed for a day. Once, before surgery, I came limping in for a break, and Dad said, “you don’t have to do that.” I said it made me happy. Dad laughed and said, “then it does not take much to make you happy if shoveling horse *manure* will do it.” I agreed–it did not, nor does it now. The ability to care for his horse, to walk without pain, without a cane, or at the end prior to surgery, two canes, makes me very happy. To me, it was worth the risk. And to me, reading about Infinity Farm makes me happy. I hope and trust that you will soon be back on both feet, carrying out dreams and taking care of all your animals and Grandfather. You inspire me.

    1. Thank you. Welcome to the joys of mucking; I’m with you on that entirely. Maybe a muck fork could double as a cane? Thanks for you kind wishes, thanks for reading.

  21. Anna, through your written words flows an energy that is alive and as healing and inspiring as the crushed sage. I read your words as a fellow traveler and try to exhale with intention more inspiration and expanding of consciousness out through the airwaves. I pray you feel this gratitude from so many of us now as you allow the healing flow that comes through you, through your body and expresses itself so generously through the written word- as you allow this to heal your body /mind/spirit post surgery. We are with you as One Herd, with love and healing wafting all around (and inside.)

    love and blessings from a herdmate in Northern California,
    Sabina

  22. So sorry to hear you’re about to be on stall rest. 13 weeks after my fractured fib, I’m still in my decidedly-unwestern aircast boot, better suited to a pro football player than a hiking kayaking cyclist and wannabe horseback rider.

    All I can say about enforced confinement is that it’s confining. There are only so many books to read and movies to watch. Thinking back to your book, where animals are allowed inside, I suggest you bring them all onto the porch to keep you company. Since crutches sink in horse muck.

    I’ll say all of the dumb things people told me, trying to cheer me up: This, too, will pass . . . This will be just a blip on your longterm horizon . . . okay, never mind. Please get better soon. Sending you good wishes.

    1. Agreed. Laying around gets old fast, especially lacking our usual company. Are you moving well now? I hope to get promoted to my stupid walking boot later today. It’s all about perspective. Like usual.

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