Monday, February 08, 2010

The Bad and the Good

As everyone who has, or has been around horses, knows, the good and the bad often go hand-in-hand. For me, the bad is more typically “not enough time” because I work away from home full-time. Coupled with winter weather it isn’t often conducive to getting out there and working when you do have the time.

A huge problem for me during this past year was that in August I broke one ankle and had a class 3 sprain of the other (I *am* talented!). It was really mid-November before I felt steady enough to spend more than just feed time with a horse, and then in mid-January I developed something called “Synovitis” in my left knee. All it is, is an inflammation of the Synovial fluid sack, but it is excruciatingly painful and requires time OFF your feet to get better. We suspect that it happened because I was still favoring one ankle over the other, and the brunt of slipping and sliding was taken by the other knee. So, I am just now beginning to get out and about with the horses. Of course, I am still time crunched, but I do what I can.

However, sometimes something comes along that MAKES you spend a bit more time than just “upkeep”. Tonight was one of them. Our normal duty-roster for evening chores is: Chuck hays, I mix grain and chop ice/water, we both feed. Tonight, Chuck got done the hay before I was done the watering so he began feeding the boys. Once I was done, we gathered the buckets for the ladies. I had just set the buckets down for *Babe and *Glory when Chuck said, “Hon, would you come over here?”

You know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when someone uses that tone of voice? The one that says: there’s trouble a brewin’? That was his tone; that was my stomach. As *Love was standing in front of him, I was very concerned. As I got closer he said, “She doesn’t want to eat.” I took one look at her and knew there was a problem. At one week shy of a year old, *Love is never quiet. She is full of energy, spunk, curiosity….just a vivacious filly; but not tonight. Tonight she stood in front of Chuck dead quiet, with her nose in his hand. I immediately headed for the stethoscope. On the way back, I was pulling back my head-covering (we had a breeze and about 10 degrees, so I knew I’d get cold, but that didn’t matter). Once there I listened in all 4 quadrants: Silence…no burbles, no bubbles….dead silence. This was NOT good.

I stood there with her and Chuck went to grab a halter, I popped it on and she never once tried to put her mouth onto it, definitely not a good sign. It had been some time since we had worked with her on leading, and it showed. She didn’t want to come out of the gate, so Chuck ‘encouraged’ her from behind a bit, and out she went. As we got further from the others and the paddock she did become more animated, but still she was off. She willingly followed me into the arena where I turned on all the lights. By the time the lights had charged all the way up, she was spronging around a bit, and whinnying to everyone who would call to her.

We decided that since we needed her to move, to help her intestines to begin working again, the spronging was a good thing! She has not been out of sight of other horses in a long time, if ever, so it was a real learning experience in many ways for her tonight. We took the opportunity that we were presented, and while encouraging her to move, we also encouraged her to explore.

*Love walked on tarp, not just once but many times; she walked on plywood, and stood on it to have a measuring stick brought to her whithers; she followed a rolling ball and even offered a “kick” with her front hoof. All new experiences, all good experiences for her. She calmed down, stopped calling, passed gas and (drum roll) pooped! When she was ready to be still, I listened to her gut again and was rewarded with burbles and bubbles…music to every horseperson’s ears!

As we walked her back to the paddock, she was leading like a good ole Dobbin, loose lead and all. She’s a quick study, that one.

The bad and the good; we learn to take them together, and make the best of each circumstance presented to us.

p.s. I checked her tonight before heading to bed myself and she's perky and full of herself again. We're very glad.