Besides, I want to tell you how I spent my lunch break.
WARNING: if you are squeamish, you'd better stop here.
If you read my post about "Some People" then you know the story of the gal with the mare and the torn ligament.
Rose, is a very pretty mare.
With a "I am the boss" attitude. You would think a horse in this much pain, with only three legs would have a hard time asserting her position as boss. If you thought that, you thought wrong...as did I.
"Poor thing" probably hasn't really slept in a week. She has been standing on three legs for a week. She can't lie down, if she tried I doubt she could get back up.
Her leg was wrapped tightly to limit mobility. Bruce, my vet who x-rayed her, is scheduled to come back this Thursday. Today the mutual friend, Cheryl, texted me and said Rose's leg had burst open.
We pulled the bandage off and cleaned it up.
The hole in the back is where it is oozing from. I got the syringe ready, and had Cheryl try to hold her, while Michelle the owner stood outside. Cheryl was not strong enough, and the bossy mare basically just ran my butt over. Never even got the needle in.
We opted to try for the butt, figuring that being on 3 legs kicking was unlikely. We figured wrong. I saw the warning tail flick, and the leg start to come up and I backed off. All I needed was an angry, hurt horse to fall on top of me while I have a 16G needle in my hand.
We tried the neck again, with Cheryl giving her treats to keep her distracted, same thing, dang near pinned me against the wall.
Sorry folks, I'm not getting myself hurt because of your unruly horse.
Most horses try to move away when you give a shot, but she was headed straight for me. It could be the confined area, it could be that she wanted to head toward the gate. I don't know for sure, but I wasn't about to let myself end up with a broken foot, or worse.
We tried a couple of the local vets, to see if anyone would come out, the refuse to work on her unless they can shute her, which requires getting her into a trailer. A three legged horse in a trailer is going to have issue, but one vet was close and a slant load with panels might have done the trick BUT, she hasn't been trailered since the day she brought her home. Heck if we could get her in the trailer we could give her the shot there. Finally one vet agreed to come and try a shot of Bantamine to maybe calm her down some. Then Cheryl will try the shot of Penicillin again.
Meanwhile I gave Michelle a task to do while she waited till three for the vet.
Grab the halter and hold on. The minute she stops fighting, let her go and give her a treat. Keep doing this until you can hold her without her fighting you.
I doubt she will do it, but it was the best advice I have for her.
I had sent one of these pictures to Bruce who called me shortly after I got back to work. He is worried. Worried because the horse is so hard to treat due to her lack of discipline. Worried because she should not have this much pus pouring out of her leg over a torn ligament. Worried that there is more going on here than what he originally thought.
So what is our lesson from the story of Michelle and Rose?
An undisciplined horse is a dangerous horse.
Even pet horses need rules.
A person may think they are being nice to their horse by never subjecting them to something they don't like, but the reality is that someday, that lack of training is going to come back to haunt them.
Boundaries are vital when dealing with an animal that outweighs you by more than a thousand pounds.
Our horses are not our babies, but they need the same leadership and stability that our children need in order to keep them safe and to help them function in our human society.
I watched the pain in Michelle's eyes as she realized that the reason her horse is suffering so badly is because she never took the time to teach her anything. She is helpless right now to help this mare that she loves so much. Her mistakes were not out of neglect but out of ignorance. Her heart is breaking, she is learning the lesson in one of the hardest ways I can imagine.
I remember a time when I was very much like her. I was lucky and found a friend who taught me the proper way to own a horse, and I listened.
Hopefully when this is all said and done, if the mare survives (doubtful) she will take the time to work with her everyday,teaching her respect and boundaries, and seek out advice from someone who knows more than she does. If Rose doesn't survive, then hopefully Michelle will turn her attention to her other horse (yes she has two) and learn from her mistakes.
The one thing I know for sure....I learned a ton from watching this little 3 ringed circus.
My horses are pretty respectful, and well behaved, and in an emergency I can give them shots or Bute or what ever, pretty much with out incident. But I have seen my own tendency to focus on one horse at a time and let the others sort of do their own thing. Sometimes I get so focused on that one, I slack off on my time with the rest, which gives them plenty of time to revert back to their pushy, bossy selves.
Danny gets bossy at feeding time, snaking his head at me, and pawing at the ground. Sassy likes to sling her head sideways into mine at feeding time, and point her butt at me when it is time to halter her. Trax becomes a solitary soul and impossible to catch. Killian gets even more lazy and stubborn and then pretends he is afraid of things he isn't to get out of working.
If I'm going to have 4 horses I need to remember that 4 horses need my attention. Even if it is only a minute a day. I have to go up and rub Trax everyday, I have to force Danny to be respectful at dinner, Killian needs to move when I say, Sassy needs to keep her head and butt out of my face. They all need that constant contact...just like my kids.