Diary of a Working Student: Keep your head up

Amelia Bayer, a working student for top eventer Sinead Halpin, is fast learning (the hard way) that life with horses is a roller coaster ride of highest-highs and lowest-lows.

From Amelia:

This sport keeps everyone on their toes. We’ve all had to scratch because a horse lost a shoe or a sudden lameness has popped up.

If you have read my previous blogs, you know that I have struggled with keeping my horse sound for a little while now. And most recently, he has become lame again. I have not been able to get him sound enough to train at the Prelim level since the last Horse Park of New Jersey.

My farrier, Brice, is quite the magician, but even he started to become a little baffled. So my family and Sinead made the decision to bite the bullet and get his feet MRIed.

I dropped Oni off at Dr. Furlong’s at 8 a.m. sharp. They put him in his little stall and told me they would be in touch. That day was probably the longest day of my life. Finally, Sinead got a call from Furlong (while she was teaching me on another horse, how convenient!). Results were in. It seemed that Oni had navicular bursitis and fetlock inflammation. Furlong suggested treating it with injections and tildrin.

After a quick call to the insurance company to make sure it was covered, we gave Furlong the go ahead and Oni the pony stayed the night at Furlong’s.

The next afternoon, I took Kasey Callanan with me to pick him up. Kasey loves to spend time with Oni, spoiling him with treats and attention almost as much as me. Plus, I thought she would like to see the vet practice. Kasey started feeding Oni pretzel chips as soon as we got there while I was getting instructions for the Vet Tech.

kasey and oni

Kasey and Oni.

The RX: 30 days off and then we can slowly start to bring him back into work. Okay, I can do that.

However, as soon as you see the light at the end of the tunnel, it can go dark again. On my day off, Sarah saw Oni trotting around the field, head bobbing lame. Crap. She brought him in and took care of him and he was better that night, but not sound. Here we go again!

Panic hit. Hannah, another working student, decided we should go to Baskin Robbins that night. And that ice cream tasted delicious. While we ate, I tried to figure out if they would let me take the cardboard cut out of Eli Manning, who I am in love with, when their promotion was over. And I’m still trying to determine that….

I assumed that the best I could hope for was to bring him back to sell him as a BN/N horse to a kid who would love him or an adult amateur who could spoil him an who just wanted to have fun. He loves his job, and I want him to be happy. Brice was scheduled to come back out in a couple days to look at him again and give it one final shot.

Of course in my meltdown, I was texting my good friend, Emily Henderson, who has listened to me cry and complain the past few months about my struggle to keep Oni sound. Emily told me to keep my head up. And I knew that’s what I had to do.

Brice declared that Oni just had bruising on his heel and frog, since he is extremely flat footed. He put on “flip-flops”, a shoe that is designed to give extra support and give Oni time to grow a heel. He will be in these shoes and living in a field for the next 60 days, then we will see if our plan worked!

oni shoe 1

oni shoe 2

In the meantime, my friend Alex has been kind enough to let me ride his awesome new youngster, Roadie. While Alex is off getting settled at college, Roadie and I have been working together towards his first BN event at Flora Lea! Sure, its not the Plantation 1*, but not bad for a 4 year old OTTB! I’m super excited and have decided that our goal is to finish on our dressage score. Go baby Roadie! And Go Oni Pony!


MORE PLEASE! If you liked this post, check out…




LOVE HORSE NATION? “Like” us on Facebook for all the latest news, commentary and ridiculousness!


Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *