Mango Verde

 

Self protection. Knowledge. Self confidence. Courage. Safety. Freedom. Satisfaction. Serendipity. Turning crises & bad experiences into something positive. Inner strength. Overcoming fears.

 

If you really want something – go for it!

Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. Don’t be afraid of human beings, cultures, decisions. Of making mistakes or following your heart. Of showing emotions, being yourself, doing what you want to do. Of life. Of nothing. You cannot loose, you either win or learn.

 

The story

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Mango Verde.

A small and cosy bar in West End, Roatan, Honduras, where I spent a lot of quality time and after what my foal was named.

 

Mango Verde R 2

Diagnosis “Spinal Ataxy” – the death sentence

As a yearling, Mango had an accident with the diagnosis “spinal ataxy” and I had to decide whether to put him down or try everything possible despite of the bad prognosis. Ataxy is a damage of the central nervous system, in this case of the spinal cord, caused by a shifted cervical that pushed on the nerve fibres in the spinal cord. Stimuli coming from the brain could not be transferred correctly to the muscles anymore, causing dysfunctions in the movements. In general the prognosis depends on the gravity of the ataxy but the “normal therapy” for an atactic horse is the trip to the slaughterhouse because you cannot say to what extent the nerves are damaged and it is too dangerous to ride such a horse. I have to say the younger the horse the bigger the chance for rehabilitation of the nerves. Vetenerians in general keep a low profile regarding a prognosis. My vet estimated a chance for rehabilitation of about 40-50% – with a lot of work, time and patience.

I was struggling with a decision, read everything I could find, talked to several vets and horse experts but in the end I listened to my gut feeling that told me he will recover – against all odds and with total lack of comprehension amongst other riders.

Two steps forward and one step back

It was a long and winding road, two steps forward and one step back. In summary the whole recovery took four years and every single day I worked with him, build-up of muscles, coordination training, rehab and aqua training. Many times I was close to giving up. Except for my vet there was nobody who believed that Mango would recover. All those years I heard comments like “What do you want with such a nodding dog? Buy a proper horse!” or “Take him to the slaughterhouse, you’re wasting your time”, often I was too impatient and unsatisfied with the slow improvements he made and the perseverative setbacks in his recovery.
But slowly or not, the improvements were there and the daily work supported our relationship and built up a lot of trust. Today Mango is a healthy and lively cross country horse . My goal was to ride a dressage competition without any comments from the judges that the horse is lame. This goal we achieved in 2014.

2014-03-26 06.50.08Screenshot_2013-10-01-11-06-13Over the years I met a lot horses with ataxy and unfortunately I have to say that almost all of them were given up too early. Sure, it is difficult and time consuming but eventually it’s worth it. Mango is not a sports equipment but a family member and my best friend. I don’t regret a single second that I’ve spent outside in the arena in wind and rain, often frustrated, sad and disenchanted.

But when we are on the racetrack today, go on the cross country course, get closer to the perfect canter pirouette or practice Polo, all the work, time and nerves that I invested without any guarantee for a happy ending, pay off.