At FaultDeath BenefitsHorsesRiding Fear FreeSouthern Fraud SeriesWriting Fear Free

When Real Life Attacks

Lots of people have been emailing, Facebooking, and tweeting me about At Fault. Thank you for that! It’s so exciting to know that other people care about Julia, Vincent, and Tricia and want to know what happens next in Mercer, Georgia.

I know it seems like a long time since Death Benefits came out, and I really hate having made the wait so long. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be helped. In July, my friend Laura and I launched Riding Fear Free: Help for Fearful Riders and Their Teachers, and after that, I intended to go right into At Fault. However, that’s not quite how it happened.

Real life attacked.

Fatty patches over the ribs and tail head are signs of metabolic disorder. Lush pasture can be too much sugar for horses prone to EMS (equine metabolic syndrome).

In case you didn’t know already, I’m a horseperson, and I own a National Show Horse (that’s Arab x Saddlebred) mare named Darcy. This summer, she began getting fat, and then she quickly began showing signs of metabolic disorder: either insulin resistance (kind of like human diabetes, but not really) or Cushing’s disease (a tumor of the pituitary gland). These diseases can be scary, and a horse can quickly degenerate into a sick, foot-sore pathetic creature. Both can end up being fatal if left untreated. So this change in Darcy’s health basically turned my schedule upside down. (Translation: I freaked out.)

Darcy Lecter

In an effort to get her weight under control, I was at the barn daily to exercise her, and she was wearing her Hannibal Lecter-esque grazing muzzle to try to cut down on the her grass intake, which she hated. (It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes grass isn’t good for all horses. I learned that the hard way.) When I wasn’t with Darcy, I was doing research into the diagnosis and treatment of equine metabolic issues. And when I wasn’t doing that, I was worried that her feet would fall off. And in case you don’t know the old adage, “no hoof, no horse.” It’s true.

When it became clearer that Darcy’s issue wasn’t just too many calories, I called in a vet, which started another crazy chain of events that lasted two months before I ever got a real diagnosis. (Thank you, Dr. Storey!) Darcy has compensated insulin resistance, which means she was headed on the path to laminitis (bad hoof condition and lots of pain) but wasn’t sick enough yet.

Then, thanks to another wacky train of events, I sprained an ankle right on the heels of her diagnosis, and that meant I couldn’t continue exercising Darcy or overseeing her care and diet. I couldn’t even walk. Knowing how dangerously close she was to laminitis, I got desperate and begged to move her to a dry lot (no grass, which is the main cause of her condition) where she could be on a safe diet of hay and beet pulp and yet still live like a horse in a small herd.

Darcy (in pink) with a pasturemate on her new dry lot, where she gets safe hay, instead of dangerous, sugary grass.

I’m so grateful that she has now moved and is already showing signs of improvement. And that means I can finally return to my normal schedule (well, except for the walking thing. My ankle is still really slowing me down). So after a crazy three months of stress, I can finally focus on At Fault, and though it won’t be out by Christmas as I’d hoped, it is actually progressing nicely.

As a thank-you for your patience, I’ve decided to write book 4 in Southern Fraud next (instead of my usual genre hopping), shooting for a summer release date of the yet-to-be named title.

If you haven’t already signed up for my email list, do so now, and you’ll be the first to know the moment books 3 and 4 come out!

3 thoughts on “When Real Life Attacks

  1. I’ve wondered where you got off to — sorry to hear about Darcy and you [I winged my left wrist in July — but I could still walk]. Glad to hear the horse is better — as a lover of animals myself, I get the worry and the insistence on doing all you can.

    Darcy looks good.

  2. Thanks for sharing the whole story. I knew part of it but wasn’t aware of the seriousness of your Darcy’s condition. It sounds horrific, and I’m so glad you found a way to help her. Take care of yourself and write away! I’ll be waiting eagerly whenever At Fault is ready. (:

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