Four Years of May as Well

Last Friday marked 4 YEARS with Ms. May. This mare has redefined my relationship with horses. She helped me become an eventer. And, honestly, she owes me nothing. And Yet, she comes out almost every day and does better, just because I ask. It hasn’t always been fun and easy, but it has been so incredibly rewarding to be this mare’s partner.

If you’ve never considered yourself a mare person, May might just change your mind.

A couple of days later, I got a memory of what, at the time, we considered our fancy prancing haha. I had to compare it to our last show.

The last four years might not be filled with ribbons and trophies (although… this mare has never left an event WITHOUT a ribbon), but it is filled with a lot of laughter:

img_1331About a week after I first got May, she SAT DOWN on the crossties, snapping both of them. Not because she was scared. Not because she didn’t know how to tie. She sat down because she heard that dinner was being served, and she was NOT to be forgotten.

My barn in NJ used to offer two types of hay: a super rich, nutritional hay and a decent hay that was fed in bulk since there was no grass. At the last night check, my trainer was throwing the good hay, but not the great hay. May was nickering at her and making the “feed me” puppy dog eyes. Trainer threw her the good hay. May sniffed it and started nickering again. It was her way of saying, “Excuse me, but this is not what I ordered.”

When my sister came to visit last year, we arrived to the barn to find no people there, but May hanging out in another stall that she had deemed to be “better” than her actual stall. I think both of us ended up near tears with laughter

I guess I could go on and on, but I am just so thankful for all the joy this little mare has brought me. For a horse I bought on a drunken whim, with full intentions of likely flipping her in a few months for something “better” to the pony of a lifetime.


The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster. For personal reasons, my part leaser has decided to end her lease after her show this weekend. I am sad about it, but I think we can all say that we have been where she is. She and May made a ton of progress together, and I am super thankful to have had her as part of the team for the last several months.

Tav Images Photography |
Tav Images Photography |

Then last week, my dog started acting a bit funny. In case any of you didn’t know, Hannah is truly the child in our family. She comes on family vacations, she gets special treatment… I mean, we basically bought a house with a great yard because I had promised her that when we lived in the apartment.

Over the weekend, she had started acting just… not herself. She had energy. She had her appetite. But something was just off. Then on Tuesday, she had an accident in the house, her second time in a week. The first one we had chalked up to stress after the groomers, but prior to that week, the dog had two accidents in the entire time I had known her.

By Wednesday morning, her belly was distinctly distended. Her energy and appetite were still fine, but we took her to the vet. As usual, every disaster scenario possible was flowing through my head. I am somewhat shocked that I had the wherewithal to get a urine sample and actually drive the dog to the vet.

They did a urine test, x-rays, bloodwork… and it was all pretty inconclusive. They referred us to a larger clinic for an abdominal ultrasound… which we couldn’t get until Thursday morning. My husband took that day off of work. The ultrasound came up clean, so we tested for cushings.

We had our diagnosis. Cushings. Did you know that cushings is more prevalent in dogs than horses? It’s just that most people attribute cushing symptoms in dogs to just getting older, so don’t get them tested as often. Go figure. It will probably take multiple, repeat tests and some playing around the dosage levels of the medication, but the vets were fairly confident that we could manage her symptoms.

So What Now?

Well… obviously, both of these events mean a pretty significant hit to the bank account. I debated half leasing May out again, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s fair to ask the mare to switch to another new rider in the middle of show season, especially with me planning on some pretty significant achievements. As a result, I am just excited to spend more time in the saddle again, but I think I have to rethink my show schedule. It would still be great to go Novice, but I am going to leave some rated shows on the sidelines for the next couple of months.

I am trying to sell my Dressage saddle. If I can sell it for a decent price, maybe I can swing getting a new jump saddle that fits both of us better. Then, I’ll sell off my Stubben jump saddle. However, this has fallen down near the bottom of the priority list for now.

As always, I will keep you all posted!

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  1. AMC

    Iโ€™m sorry to hear about your dog! I hope you get to a point where sheโ€™s feeling much better soon.

    1. Emily

      Thank you! It was very scary, but we’re very thankful that it wasn’t something more serious. And, other than the cushings, she is apparently in GREAT health hahaha

  2. martidoll123

    So cute I can’t wait to meet May (and you too I guess LOL). And to meet Hannah (oh and Matt ha)! Having a cushings dog as I told you it takes a bit to get it straight but once it is straight they do well on the meds. Alfie was 12 or 13 when he was diagnosed so not as young as Hannah is she will do great. But ugh it sucks when they aren’t feeling well. And the potbellied is normal for cushings! Just keep an eye on her levels so she doesn’t get diabetes too (ask me how i know)..sigh

    As to how plans change, you will just roll with it and still have lots of opps to show. Just do what feels good. Maybe you can step up in the Fall??

    And I swear May and Remus might be related with their opinions on FEED ME NOW! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Emily

      Thank you! I appreciate you talking me off the cliff a few times over the last couple of weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh no! Poor puppy! I’m so sorry <3 at least they think her symptoms are manageable. I really hope she's feeling better soon <3 I'm also sorry about May's leaser as well. I think in your area there's still lots of options, so that's good for you still wanting to step up to Novice by the end of the season. But uh….yay life? lololol

    1. Emily

      Thank you <3

      Being an adult is the WORST hahaha. There are PLENTY of schooling shows around that only cost a couple hundred dollars a show. I am sure we will get to a recognized show at BN, but it might just have to be in the fall.

  4. Liz

    Happy 4 years and I am SO sorry to hear about the Cushings diagnosis but happy that you caught it early. I’ve learned so much more about Cushings in dogs recently and applaud your forethought to get your girl tested and resolve things as quickly as possible. You’re a really awesome dog momma <3 I've tested Kenai twice now with two of the simpler tests because I feel like it may be the underlying thing for a lot of his issues but he's been negative twice.

    1. Emily

      Thank you! Getting the diagnosis was really tough. We basically had to rule everything else out before testing for the cushings. As an FYI – nothing really came up on blood work or urine tests to really show anything. I can only imagine how much more stressful it must be to have no diagnosis but to feel like something is “off” <3

  5. roamingridersite

    Happy 4 years! You two make such a lovely partnership. Here is to many, many more.

    Sorry about your pup. If itโ€™s any consolation the Hubby is a vet and treats Cushings a lot. Most dogs go on to live full and happy lives once you get the meds figured out.

    1. Emily

      Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚ it always helps to hear that

  6. Stacie Seidman

    So sorry to hear about your pup, but I’m glad it’s something treatable, and I hope she’s feeling better very soon! Also tough about the half leaser. I’m sure you’ll still get to have plenty of fun with May this year though!
    Happy horsiversary!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! I appreciate the support on all the many things going on <3

  7. emma

    happy 4 years! bummer about the hit to the budget tho, i hate it when stuff like that gets in the way of my plans!

    1. Emily

      Adulting is the worst! I just want to play with ponies.

  8. Cathryn Kozak

    Happy 4 Years with May!!

    Also sorry to hear about the sick puppy – fingers crossed things get back to normal soon <3 Cushings is manageable, so hoping things get better fast!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! We’re really hopeful that we caught it early, so hoping that the process of getting her all set up with proper medication will be quick and easy!

  9. L. Williams

    Happy Horseiversary and I’m glad that your dog was diagnosable and will get better!

  10. rooth

    Sorry to hear about the pup but I hope y’all end up finding some treatment that works for her. Love May and her wandering ways. Mares got opinions, that’s for damn sure

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