A Coupla old Mares on a Spa Day…

*This story was originally posted on 2/13/2011.  I had just injured myself in a freak accident with a bullsnap on the end of a lead rope.

Also, what I find really, very interesting are the photos of Mama Tess.  Clearly, now, I can see that she was Cushings.  But then, since I saw her daily, it never occurred to me.  If I had only realized then… perhaps she and I wouldn’t be in the position we are today.

And, honestly, MT looks in much better health (except for her feet) today than she did over 4 years ago – so that makes me feel better.  But, gulp, I wish I would have noticed…

Anyway, here we go!  Enjoy!

A Coupla old Mares on a Spa Day…

Nothing makes me feel more like an old gray mare than a head wound…

All I wanted to do today was curl up on the couch and watch the Love Hurts Movie Marathon on FX.   But, alas, I have responsibilities (or, more truthfully – I would be embarrassed to sit in a lump on the couch in front of my family) so, I had to come up with something a bit more productive.

And then a great idea hit me!  (Yikes, I really shouldn’t use that expression anymore…)  A Spa day with Tess, the other old mare around here.

Me Day 5 of the injury… Yikes.


The idea came to me when I was rolling around the house trying to look like I was straightening up.  Amid my shuffling, I happened upon a box of wonderful goodies I have from Equi-Spa that I needed to test.  (You’ve heard me rave about their The Balm and Peppermint Summer Protection – fly spray.) Anyway, I had this entire box of fun stuff that was all brand new – just waiting for the right Spring Day!

And today was that day!  What could be better than Spa products on a day where all I want to do was lull myself with “ahhhhhhh”.  So, I decided to spoil myself with the box of Spa products.  Except, there was one problem… most of the products in my box were for equines, not humans.  Hmmmmm.  I guess I’d better invite one of my horse friends to my ‘head wound pity party’…  I decided to invite Tess, my 21 year-old ex-show mare who is arthritic, has a constantly weepy eye and could use some love and fawning over.

My box of goodies!


So, I gathered my miserable self with my box of special products and headed to the barn.

Once in the barn, I put down the yummy stuff and set about figuring out how to capture just Tess.

Do you have that issue?  The horse you want is in a herd.  But, unfortunately, something keeps you from going out there and nabbing just her – mud, weather, distance… or in my cases, a head wound.

I decided to lock Norma into her stall and then open the barn gate for Tess to enter.  But, I neglected to fend off Gwen who was barreling behind Tess, making sure I didn’t lock her out – which was exactly my intention.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough in my one-eyed slumber so I ended up with both mares running around me in the barn and Norma braying in her stall.  Great.  Another accident waiting to happen.

I let Gwen out into the front yard so she could eat all the newly flowered daffodils while I wrestled with Tess and tried to explain to her why she wasn’t also outside eating daffodils…

Tess waiting at the gate with Gwen right behind her…

Me:  We’re going to have a Spa Day!  Just you and me!

Tess:  I want to be OUTSIDE eating green grass and daffodils.

Me:  But we’ll have fun!

Tess:   I want to be OUTSIDE easting green grass and daffodils!  I don’t want any stoopid Spa party.  What is the matter with you?!

Me:  Awww, C’mon.  Humor me.  Let me Spa with you.

Tess:  (stamping her feet) WHY?  I  don’t care about how I look!  I only want to eat daffodils and whatever SHE’S eating!

Me:  NO.  I demand that you sit here and Spa with me, dammit!

Tess:  (ears pinned) I hate you.  HATE YOU.  Let me out or I’ll throw a fit!

Me:  (realizing that letting Gwen out into the yard was a horrible idea and perhaps I shouldn’t even have horses anymore since I’ve made so many bad decisions lately…).

Y’know Tess, You are right.  I shouldn’t have let Gwen outside.  (I sit down on a bag of shavings and begin to cry…)

Tess:  Oh now don’t go blubbering… OKOK, I’ll make a deal with you.  If you give me a bucket of grain while I’m in here with you, I’ll let you Spa me.

Me:  (snorfulling a bit)  You … will?!

Tess:  Yea, OK.  Just hurry up about it.  And, get me the good grain, not the organic stuff.  I want the yummy grain and lots of it.  Oh, and make sure you don’t pull my hair – use only the good stuff on my mane and tail and DON’T touch my udder unless you have warm hands.

Me: (Jumping off of the shavings and heading for the feed room with glee!…)

OK!  Let’s do this!

Tess:  (giving me her best ‘Lurch from the Addams Family’ look)


Miss Pinny Ears making sure I was getting the right grain for her


First, I started to brush her and then realized my little Spring hairball is here…  I pulled off enough winter coat to weave an Eskimo village.  Ugh.  I ended up using my steel brush (very small teeth – like a dog brush) to remove all the loose hair.  Rabbits and birds were lining up to haul away all the nesting materials.

Tess is the mare who suffered from Canker (the disease that inspired this blog) so I needed to check her feet.  No worries.  All good.  Then we moved onto the goopy eyes.  This old gal is so familiar with eye ointment, she actually lifted her head out of the grain bucket and sighed, “Oh fine, just do it anyway and get it over with…”.  Which I did.  I think it makes her feel better so she lets me apply it without fussing.

At this point, I realized that I hadn’t even used any of the Spa products.  So, I went to my box and pulled out the Udder cleaner.   Mmmmm, smelled so good she wanted to eat it.  But, I put it on a warm cloth and reached downunder.  I never know if she is going to raise her leg in warning or give me that “oooohhhhhh ya” face.  She gave the face!

Then we decided that since the Udder Cleaner was so fragrant, we would look inside the box and see what else we could try today.  Tess pointed to the Lavender Cleansing Spray and the Grapefruit Coat Refresh.  Hmmmm.  OK.  So, I figured after an entire winter, the coat refresh would make sense…  I ended up using it in her mane as well.  It was really, really nice, fragrant and easy to use.  She looked purty!  It smelled so much better than all the other dry coat cleaners that I have used… natural.  I wanted to get her outside to see how her coat looked in the sunshine.

Now for the Lavender Cleansing Spray…   I decided I would use that on her face after I had cleaned up her goopy eyes.  I know Lavender is supposed to be very soothing so I wanted it to be on her face and forehead.  I sprayed it on my hands first and then rubbed it into her cheeks and forehead.

She actually stopped eating for a few seconds.  I think she kinda got lost in the fragrance for a tiny moment because he eyes rolled slightly back…  Then, back to the grain.

Voila!  She was done.  My grand dam was Spa’d up at exactly the time she ran out of grain.  So, I held up my end of the bargain and let her outside to eat daffodils and green grass.

Tess’ “before” photo… She’s resigned to Spa day.


I noticed the new tub of THE BALM in my box of goodies.  Hmmmmm.  I’ve been a little upset by the lack of beauty in my eye stitching.  In fact, I’m kinda bummed that the eyebrow seems to be sewed back together a bit askew – alright, more than a bit askew.  It actually looks like there’s a jog in the river, if you know what I mean…

I slathered The Balm all over my eyebrow

I thought that maybe if I softened it up with healthy balm, I might be able to help the wound heal less angrily.

I opened The Balm and slathered it all over my eyebrow.  It felt really cooling.  Since the jar was new, I brought it into the house and it is now in my bathroom.  I’m going to use it everyday and see if it does for me what it did for BG this past summer.  (She had huge bug bites and this stuff kept the bugs away and helped her heal without any marks.)  We’ll see.  I’m crossing my fingers.

It worked wonders for BG so I’m trying it on myself!


I took this photo of Tess after her Spa treatment…

Tess… She probably looks like an old mare to you but I still see her as she was…

You know what is interesting to me?  I never look at her and see a 21 year old mare – like you do when you look at her photo.

I see her as she was.  I mean, I know that she is an older horse and that she needs more attention.  But, she still feels like the young Tess.  She still glows and has that inner fire that is only Tess.    I realized that I will probably never see her as anything other than who she is down deep.  A regal, hot and fussy Champion in an older mare’s body.

This is what I see when I look at her…


To be honest, I’ve felt a bit saddened by my probable new scars.  I’m a bit bothered that Hubby will have to look at me and wonder if I have a question or if my eyebrow is just stuck like that…  I’m upset with myself that I ruined what little I had left in the ‘pretty’ department.

And then I thought about it.  I figured that Hubby probably sees me like I see Tess.  Sure, she’s older and a bit beat up.  But there is no part of me that doesn’t feel how she truly is.  She is the exact same girl she has always been.

So, for me… if I don’t cave into the depression of having messed up my face, I doubt Hubby will see me any differently.  When you love and admire a person (or a horse), they will always be that soul to admire and love – unless they themselves forget who they are.

Thanks, my mare, for sharing my Spa day.  You and your incredible confidence and self identity have been an eye-opener for me- even if that eye is a bit puffy and yellow…

Our wedding day… .

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7 comments have been posted...

  1. Tracie

    Well, doggone it, you had to go and make me cry at work. And I just put on mascara! :-) Okay, I’m trying to stop but I have a huge lump in my throat.

    I never really thought about aging that way… but you are absolutely right. We see our loved ones, animal and human, through a prism of memories and feelings. We just measured my son again last night and he’s officially one inch taller than his mommy, but guess what? He’ll ALWAYS be my baby. Always. I touch my 17-year-old daughter’s hair and I feel the springy curls on her little toddler head, and her little hand holding mine so carefully when we walked into the nursery school. I “see” the white hairs growing on my doggie’s beloved face but she’s still my perfect stripey-face puppy. My husband’s hair is far more salt than pepper than it used to be, and his waist a lot bigger, but his dear brown eyes are the same, still full of love for stupid old me, and his hands still have his gentle touch. How blessed I am. And how smart you are to have stumbled across this wisdom, with the help of Tess! I hope you have her for many, many more years.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’m still trying not to cry, and all these people who just paraded past my Reception desk are probably wondering what my company did to me today.

  2. Anne

    whoops; I said Equi-sap treatments and not Equi Spa treatmenst;
    however; Sap from trees are medicines such as gums and resins!

  3. Anne

    Hi Dawn: stay well…my comment: The 21 year old Mare sure looks great…imagine 21 years old and you wouldn’t know becuz she looks so young; i bet she enjoyed the Equi-Sap treatments !

  4. Sharon

    A couple of things…excited to read what’s happening in your world, I barely get started reading and after a few sentences, I had to stop & hold my head in my hands, afraid to read more which might say that you had another accident since I only read to the point where now you have two mares running around you & Norma braying. Your style of writing just “takes me there”, with a front row seat. I want to yell, “Are you crazy??? Get back in the house, to the couch!” but you won’t hear. When I see your eye, I want to shake a finger and say, “Do you know how close your eyeball is to those stitches?!!!” I am swept along with you when I read about the mini-meltdown, yup….makes me feel so normal.

    The thoughts & conversations with Tess…yup, I have those too with my horse. Tess is beautiful and 21 is not old! THEN I see the grass…I am so jealous being on the east coast where we have snow & ice….a fly mask too? I so wanna see a fly, flowers, anything green, I’m almost drooling.

    The musings about hubby…and how you look….sprinkled with your usual outrageous humor…I’m sure he loves you very much, and if people ask him to describe you, he likely says…”Life is always interesting, never a dull moment, my wife is the best thing that ever happened to me, she keeps me on my toes!”

    Isn’t that what it’s really about? To remain interesting & predictable & not predictable? Yes, getting older we all are a little faded & nicked up on the outside, but it’s our spirit & thoughts & attitudes that measure how old we are. Like Tess, my 21 yr old horse runs out into the pasture with his head held up high & his spirit bright, just embracing the gloriousness of the day itself. Whether you realize it or not, that is exactly how you are. And that’s good stuff!!!!

  5. Jody Brittain

    I have been quite emotional lately and this sent me over the edge. What a wonderful insight into how one sees themselves. I love the picture of your wedding day. You are a very beautiful person. Hubby and I have been together since 1973 and he has aged very gracefully and I am always in awe when I look at him. He is the love of my life, and will always be handsome! Thank you for this post….

  6. Kitty Bo

    This actually made me kinda teary eyed. I think you crossed a bridge here back into your life, but you crossed it back with a new perspective, and your horses are your mentors. I understand your nervousness around your horses when you are still healing. I think we all go through some PTSD after such events, but that this experience took you to a new level is so touching. I have had bilateral, simple mastectomies and am boobless. My husband has always said that it’s not about body parts, and that my chest is still sacred territory, no matter what it looks like. He is 73, still very handsome in my eyes. I still see him for who he is, not what his body is. That is why your writing made me teary eyed. What you say is so true. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Maggie

    Loved this! After being in love for 52 years, hubby and I still see each other the way we were. The younger self never goes away, it’s the body that gets old. Horses and humans alike. :-)

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