Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Horse Stuff--The Rest of Them
Okay, so real quick, right around the time my mother died I found myself with too many horses on my hands and I was overwhelmed. (Everything that happens is measured in time against its relation to my mother’s leukemia and death—before my mother got sick, right before she died, around the time she died, after she died, like B.D. and A.D., as if she were Jesus.)
So I leased Doc and Steel out to a therapeutic riding place called Unbridled Change. Doc, who is twenty-seven-years old, works one day a week for a couple of hours giving rides to children with special needs. He works another day a week with the kids on the ground. He looks even better than when I had him. His top-line filled out and he gained a little weight. Michelle, the owner of Unbridled Change, started feeding him three times a day; plus she has plenty of grass. And a little exercise probably helps. When we pulled into the driveway to visit him, he came cheerfully over to the fence nickering hello. He’s happy. I hope she is able to use him for a long time—at least through the winter—because I’m really enjoying the break. Whenever she feels he’s too old and needs to be retired completely, I’ll go and get him. He’ll be taken care of until he dies because that horse deserves it. He’s one of the good ones.
Steel, the little grulla, it turned out has a sore back. That is why he was crow-hopping when transitioning to the lope; not because he was being stubborn. I feel really bad that I was unaware of it and I made him lope. (Perhaps this is one of the reasons I’m getting Lowdown checked out even though there’s probably nothing wrong with him—I’m paranoid now.) But with these quiet ones it’s sometimes hard to tell because they tend to be lazy and stubborn and since they don’t speak English they can’t say it when they don’t want to do something because it hurts. I thought I ruled out pain when I Buted him up for a few days and he still acted exactly the same. There were no other symptoms. No lumps, bumps, swellings, or heat. Nothing. He had some issues transitioning to natural barefoot trimming but once his feet grew out, he was fine. When I consulted the vet about the crow-hopping, he thought, like with “the good old country pony” I had a few years ago, I was worrying over nothing. And the farrier didn’t seem to think it was anything physical either.
So I felt really bad when Michelle reported that Steel’s back was sore. There were a couple of vertebrae out in his spine and her chiropractor has been working on him and feels with a little rest, he’ll be fine. I hope so otherwise I am stuck feeding an unsound horse for another twenty years. He’s only six. I couldn’t sell him. I couldn’t euthanize a horse that’s not all broken-down lame or sick. I wouldn’t be able to ride him if he’s unsound. It’s bad enough when you’ve had a horse for a few years and had some good times on him and then he founders or something and you have to take care of this huge animal who eats you out of house and home and who you can’t do anything with. That’s bad enough. But when it happens to a horse that’s not part of what I call my “core herd”—I’ve only had him for a short period of time and the jury was out on whether or not he was a keeper—that’s really bad. But it’s still an animal with feelings and I’m responsible for him. So I hope everything turns out okay and she is able to use him for a long time too.
Minnie. There is nothing going on with Minnie. There never is. She’s just out there looking cute and waiting for grandkids.