Horses are so much more than a hobby or a sport. For some, they keep people alive.

 

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With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic making its way through the United States as well as the rest of the world, there is a lot of anxiety and fear about the unknown. We’ve been making drastic, but necessary lifestyle changes to reduce the spread of infection, and try not to flood our already overwhelmed hospitals. Yesterday, the governor of Massachusetts just issued a stay-at-home order and ordering non-essential businesses to close for the entire state. Animal care falls under essential businesses. I board Teddy at a barn roughly 20 mins from home with wonderful people who I trust wholeheartedly to care for him while we are quarantined for two weeks. 

For many equestrians, it’s hard for us to be away from our babies for two days let alone for two weeks. But what if I told you staying away from the barn could mean the difference between life or death? I know what you’re going to think and before you start calling me selfish and uncaring, put yourselves in the shoes of someone who has a serious medical condition and their only treatment was taken away from them. This is the reality of myself and many others with treatment-resistant PTSD. I can’t take any medication as they all make my symptoms worse. I spent over a decade in therapy and all it did was retraumatize me. I’ve been in and out of hospitals, each time fearing for my own safety and life more than the last. There’s a new treatment showing huge promise called MDMA assisted psychotherapy, but it’s extremely risky if you have an autoimmune disease or poor reactions to drugs. Riding and caring for my horse is the only thing that has helped manage my PTSD symptoms. 

Staying at home is absolutely necessary if we want to prevent people from contracting it and spreading it to those most vulnerable. It’s going to be very tough being away from Teddy. I’m not going to lie. For the next two weeks, it is going to be a struggle to take care of basic things like showering and eating while battling with destructive and possibly suicidal thoughts. Many of these symptoms are greatly reduced; some even eliminated. Horses (animals period) give people a sense of purpose, especially those with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. When you check on your friends and family affected by the coronavirus, also check on those battling with trauma. And please, please, please stay at home and only go out if it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. It’s not just those at high risk for getting pneumonia from COVID-19, it’s also those retraumatized by the pandemic itself. The sooner we can stop the virus, the sooner we can get people better. 

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2 thoughts on “Horses are so much more than a hobby or a sport. For some, they keep people alive.”

  1. Hi Sarah! This is Lucy from ascot. I’m so glad I came across your blog!

    I hope you’re doing well. I also hope this doesn’t come across as inappropriate or prying but I happen to also have had a long journey with treatment resistant PTSD. I know you mentioned MDMA therapy and I am wondering if you have heard of or looked into using ketamine? I went almost a decade trying all sorts of chemical and behavioral and therapeutic treatments but the only thing that ever got me “over the hump” to really engage with the world in a way that didn’t make me feel unsafe or overexposed was using intranasal ketamine. I only used it for about a year and a half and it made a huge difference in my life. I was able to go back to work after years of being unable to. If it’s something you’re interested I can recommend a doctor who can prescribe it as long as your primary psych doc thinks you are a good candidate. I don’t remember the drug being contraindicated for immune issues or anything like that. Let me know if you would like more info!

    So cool you have this blog! I hope you are staying safe in these scary times.

    1. Hi Lucy, thank you so much for reaching out. Yes, I have tried intranasal Ketamine. Unfortunately I did not have as much success with it. It helped with some symptoms but made others worse. With autoimmune diseases, it can often be a hit or miss with medications and supplements, as the body can often see the very thing that’s supposed to help as a threat. Are you still working at Ascot? I recently moved Teddy to Hi Rok Farm in Essex, MA. We’re very happy there! Although I miss the Ascot family so much! I often think about the fun times there.

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