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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The secrets that I keep – his pain, my pain

Fitz and I during part of my senior photoshoot.

I’ll never think of him the same way.

Unfortunate injuries or medical issues happen all of the time and are a normal part of our imperfect world. But I never thought that he could be in such horrible pain. He’ll never be the same ever again.

He’s been my best friend for over three years. We’ve put so much time, energy, and effort into helping us be the best we can be. We’ve trained each other, year-round, five days a week. He was the first horse to be mine and only mine, he still is, but things will never be the same again. 

When I first got him, we knew he had a medical issue, but we had been lied to and were told by the head trainer at the barn I was at at the time that it would be manageable and never affect him. But now, three years later, the vet said he needs to be on stall rest, where he stands in his stall all day and night. He cannot go outside to run, play, and do whatever he wants. What hurts me the most about stall rest is knowing both that it is for his own good, but also that he doesn’t understand why. 

He has navicular syndrome. A navicular disease that occurs just above his hoof affects not only that area but also the surrounding tissue and tendons. 

He also has a quarter crack, a large crack down the side of his hoof. It could have happened for any number of reasons. It’s a long recovery for the hoof to grow back, but in the end, it will heal nicely.

The time my main trainer and I first noticed the crack was one of the last times I got on. This was in August 2023. I had to leave in the middle of one of my classes during a competition. He started the day out fine, but then he could barely move and I had to head for the out-gate in the middle of the class. I love to show, but I love him more. 

I walked him out of that ring, hopped off, spotted the crack, and cried there and then. He can’t tell me what’s wrong, and being able to see what was causing him to be off that whole week shattered my heart.

I walked him out of that ring, hopped off, spotted the crack, and cried there and then. He can’t tell me what’s wrong, and being able to see what was causing him to be off that whole week shattered my heart.

The week before that was the last week of normal. 

As I write this, my eyes are blurred by pooling tears. I can’t think of him anymore without getting emotional. After everything we have accomplished together and all that we have learned, we need to take a pause. A very long pause. He’s on stall rest for at least six months with an additional minimum of six months of further recovery for a tendon in his leg that is so damaged by the navicular that it was nearly destroyed to the point of no repair.

By the time he is better, I won’t even be around. In his last months of recovery, I’ll be absent from his daily routine. I’ll be in college and my parents will have to tend to his needs. And that’s if he gets better. There is no guarantee that he will. The thought of potentially having to put my best friend into the forever sleep lingers in the back of my mind. 

The vet has warned me of this, that it is a possibility. His injuries are quite severe, and a horse that can’t walk, can’t live. That’s just the way it is.

Crying into his shoulder, I can’t help but think about everything he has done for me. Tolerating my mistakes. The many championships we have been awarded. All of the losses. Everything we have been taught and have taught each other. Now, new memories, even if good, will involve his pain. 

We took him to the vet to get an MRI after having to move barns because the trainer who told us he would never be affected by his diagnosis said she’d kick us out if we worked with this vet. I had to pack up all of our things and leave so many memories and people because of her selfishness. But we had to do what was best for him.

Even if he ends up making a recovery, it won’t be full. We decided to buy him because of his athletic ability, to compete, and most importantly, to jump. We picked him up after his MRI and my mom got a call later that day from the vet. She told me what he said. I had no words as the tears fell down my face and dripped onto my lap.

He’ll never be able to jump or compete again. If he recovers, he might be ridable and be able to do minimal flat work, which means just walking, trotting, and cantering, but nothing more. That is if he gets better. 

His physical pain and my emotional pain are things I have to shield from everyone. No one besides my parents or closest friends really care. If I tell people about this they might feel bad for me, but they wouldn’t truly understand. 

My heart hurts for him. It longs for him to get better. For him to be living comfortably as pain-free as possible.

When I talk about him with other people, there are only a few people, besides my horse people, who seem to care when I talk about how he’s doing. I don’t love announcing that I’m an equestrian. There are a lot of negative and bad stereotypes due to crazy “horse girls” surrounding what people think about those who are involved in the horse world. People can’t tell the difference between equestrian and horse girl.

Along with that, I can’t seem to bring myself to discuss how I genuinely feel about how my horse is doing due to others’ lack of knowledge about the terminology that I am using as well as them probably simply not caring. 

I bottle up my emotions having to do with him and his issues. I get emotional just thinking about it, but I have so few people who will listen to what little I do feel like sharing.

Fitz will forever be my best friend and the greatest thing to ever happen to me, whether he is here or in a happier, pain-free place. But I can’t stand looking at him when I can see the pain in his eyes.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Rainey
Olivia Rainey, Staff Writer
Olivia is a senior entering her first year on The Central Trend. She has always had a love for writing and is looking forward to ending high school on staff. Outside of writing, she loves spending time with her horse Fitz, hanging out with friends, and listening to music. Although she has no musical talent whatsoever, Olivia loves rock n' roll and punk rock and can always be found listening to music. She wishes she had joined the TCT staff earlier, but she's excited and glad that she decided to join for her senior year. Her favorite bands: blink-182 and The Offspring Her weirdest thing she's written: An essay about toasting bread in junior year Her Starbucks order: A venti Strawberry Crème Frappuccino with extra strawberry purée Her favorite TV show: South Park

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