She brought her handy dandy mobile dental unit, which I have to say is one of the coolest inventions I have ever seen. It is a fully hydraulic squeeze chute on wheels, with its own power supply.
Once she got set up we decided to do Trax, figuring he would be the hardest to deal with. He handled the sedative shot like a pro, walked right up into place like the big boy that he is. I was so dang proud of him when she put the headset on him. He took it all in stride, and I thought that maybe it was just going to go smoothly after all.
Then she turned on the power float and everything went to hell in a hand basket from there. You may recall that my paint horse is not phased by any kind of power tool unless he feels it is going to be used on him. I have ridden him past table saws in use, the entire time our shop was being built he was ridden around an entire assortment of "in use" tools. No problem. But try to clip even a single hair with a pair of uber-quiet cordless clippers, and you will find yourself dangling from the lead rope which hangs off the side of the trailer, upon which he has launched himself on to. So you can imagine his surprise to find power tools not only touching him, but inside his mouth!
Funny thing about sedatives, on a horse like Trax, a small dose actually makes him more reactive rather than less. I think it has something to do with that feeling of loss of control.
No worries though, there were plenty of more drugs available, so she gave him another shot and tried again.
And then he got another....
and then another.
By cocktail #4 he was much better and we though all would be well from that point forward. She said I could go ahead and work on his sheath if I wanted.
I knelt down, dipped my hand in the bucket, reached up and touched his belly and WHAM! He kicked the side of the chute. Luckily I have ninja like reflexes and there was a thick metal bar between me and him.
About that time some neighbors from down the road came up to see TC. They are ropers.
"So getting his teeth floated huh?"
(Thank you Captain Obvious)
"Why yes, as a matter of fact we are"
(idle chit chat follows)
"Hey, you are just in time to help me out with this sheath cleaning, after all you have plenty of experience washing penises, right? "
The vet was not prepared for that and almost dropped her vile of drugs.
Mr. Friendly Neighbor promptly high tailed it the shop where TC was at.
We had a good laugh over that.
This time she gave him a dose of Acepromazine.
Did you know that different drugs will relax different parts of the body on a horse? That is one of the things I learned today.
We let it take effect and I tried again.
Um no, still not enough. So he got yet another shot. That made #6. She said, "lets just wait till I'm done with his mouth.
Trax did need quite a bit of work, and he never did totally relax. Lets face it, when he decides to not like something, he REALLY doesn't like it. He does not like power tools in his mouth, or people messing with his junk.
She finally finished up, even his snaggle tooth looks almost straight, and we did manage to get him nice and clean. In fact once he realized that we weren't going to hurt him he dropped down, and I am proud to say that his once crusty guy parts are now shiny pink, and he no longer smells like a truck driver who has not showered in a month. He was quite proud of his shiny man parts and left them out for all the world to see for a couple of hours.
Then it was Killian's turn. I thought this one would go easier since he is pretty calm about most things. I could not have been more wrong.
You see there is one thing that Killian hates. He hates to have his mouth messed with. When it is time to bridle him I just hold the bit down in front of him and he reaches down and picks up the bit and takes it in his mouth. He is not a fan of worming although has learned to handle it, but he does not like anyone up inside his mouth.
We gave him his shot, and then he decided to not go into the chute. Then the drugs took effect, and he really didn't want to move. Killian is a big fat pig when he wants to be stubborn. We did finally get him in, and then she tried to open his mouth and he jumped up and hit his head.
Seven shots later......
We finally got him done.
He now holds the record for needing the most sedation of any horse she has done.
Killian also got his guy parts clean and he will be much happier for it. We pulled a bean out about the size of a large grape. He of course, being of an older generation, was not comfortable with ever letting himself drop. But we got him pretty well cleaned up.
He had a lot of big hooks in the back, and has obviously spent a little time as a cribber. His front uppers are almost completely gone. His canines were all out of whack, and he also had some pretty sharp edges in some areas. But he is all better now.
When I took him back to his pen he staggered there, and when I left for work he was still standing in the exact same place he was when I parked him.
Because of all the drugs required, the bill for this visit was very high. I want to blame the horses but I can't. The fact is, I knew their "holes" a long time ago. I should have been working on it. I knew that Trax is sensitive about his parts, and I should have been cleaning them. I knew he hates power tools so I should be clipping him as often as I can. I knew that Killian doesn't like having his mouth messed with, so I should be doing it often.
Today was actually pretty traumatic for all of us, (them mentally, me financially) and it didn't have to be. Aren't I the one, always talking about how horses need to be prepared for what life brings them in order to be good citizens?
Feeling a little hypocritical right now. Don't worry though, I'll get over it.
However I think my ponies might need to go into drug rehab.