Once I realized I couldn't trust anything Crystal Baker had said, I still didn't know what to think about the condition of my horses. Those seeds of self doubt were still firmly planted so I just couldn't trust myself to have an accurate view of my herd. Now I could add doubt about being able to determine who was trustworthy to evaluate them. I needed answers but was no longer going to risk any so called friends to give them to me.
With those past choices being so destructive, I tried to come up with another way to get the answers I sought. Obviously I needed something reliable. Something indisputable was necessary too. What was going to fill this criteria?
I did send pictures of one of the horses I thought was typical of how my hard keepers to fernvalley. Her input was helpful in measuring my perception but I still found myself doubting about the rest. There was no way I had the strength or stamina to get current pictures of them all. It was obvious I needed something I couldn't dispute. I was determined my decisions about my herd be based on something tangible.
I thought about it....and I thought about it some more. At first I drew nothing but blanks. Staring at those stall sheets with Crystal's input I realized I wanted more records but this time I wanted appropriate information, not someone's opinion. Real numbers would work and from there my solution was easy.
The very next day after Baker's visit, I went out with my clipboard, my paperwork and a weight tape. I have a half dozen of those things so finding one was easy. Using it was equally as easy since I tend to use them for worming and treating with medications. Wanting to be as accurate as possible in determining dosages gave me lots of experience with this tool which held some comfort now, not to mention the horses were used to it so wouldn't be spooking at it. That would have been bad in my condition.
You would think this would be enough for me to put this issue to bed but self doubt is a b*tch. I just couldn't, wouldn't risk any of my horses to denial. I wanted assurances those numbers could be trusted so I could know beyond a doubt that my horses were fine.
With that intent I began searching on the internet for anything that suggested the use of a weight tape on starving horses would have distorted values. I used all sorts of combinations of keywords wanting to be sure I didn't miss something. Still nothing was found that recounted anymore deviation than that already present between scale weight and tape weight.
The only thing that would have made me more comfortable at this point would have been physical evidence from my previous uses of the weight tape. Instead I had to rely on my memory for comparison. These new numbers were well within normal weight parameters and that is what mattered. No one could intimidate or trick me again into giving up one of my horses.
Once a week, from this day through my next hospitalization, I measured each and every horse. My body quaked at the exertion and my doctor probably would have croaked if he knew but this was my insurance policy. The horses were gaining back those few pounds they had lost because of elevated lignin content in the hay that growing season.
This all being accomplished by a woman so sick I still held onto the walls to get to bed at the end of the day. Those who justified their actions claiming I had too many horses so couldn't possibly see they got proper care with me sick were wrong. I met this challenge from my sick bed. I found and fixed the hay problem and whatever other problems necessary to keep my horses safe. My animals always were fine.
Now, I didn't have to rely on my opinion or anyone else's. I was finally safe from having my concern for my Arabian horses used as a weapon against me.
I wish I could say this put my concerns to rest but by this time, and even now, I feel a little paranoid. Between the things these two women said and did and those who followed, my trust in people has been pretty damaged. I did, however, finally get that my horses were fine.
What remained was the reality that some would say and/or do anything to exploit my condition for their personal gain. My skills to avoid such abuse were critically flawed so it would be many more months before I even had a realistic view of what was behind their behaviors.
Getting an understanding of the motives of these two women, and those that followed, would be a huge learning curve. As I have said before the devil is in the details. It may seem like a long story but I definitely learned the hard way. All those little details are what caught me in the first place. Since life is not done with me yet, I am convinced knowing and understanding those details will save me future heartache.
To be continued......
NOTE: These are the pictures I referred to in this post. They were taken approximately two weeks after Kelly conned me out of Doc. This horse is Suede. He is one of my more difficult keepers. The only horse carrying less weight on my farm during this time was Bey Aana. I have actually posted a picture of her a few days ago where she is actually thinner than she was during this time. Looking at these pictures now, makes me very sad because it is so obvious to me how badly I was duped by both Kelly Panowicz and Crystal Baker. What kind of person does this to anyone.........let alone a person as sick as I was?
To be continued..........
If you are wondering about the sadness it is for the human race. If we are only as strong as our weakest link, where does that leave us with so many people out there looking to exploit someone weaker than themselves?