Thursday, July 19, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
How it happened is the million dollar question. There are trees in the pasture, some with sharpish branches; also some pretty thorny boysenberry brambles. I am extremely careful with nails and fence wire, going to great lengths to bend any loose wire ends into non-sharp tiny loops. There is no barbed wire, only smooth electric fence. My suspicion is that she did it on the handle of her grain bucket. It is hung in her stall, and some time ago she whomped into it and bent the handle somewhat. It looks to me that there is a very slight protrusion of the metal handle where it attaches to the bucket, and there was some blood on the stall partition quite near it. ? I'll never know, but I have replaced the bucket.
One sweet aside: she's loving all the attention. I gently massage her eye before putting the ointment in it. That gets her relaxed and she closes it, which is the only way I can sneak the medicine in. Yesterday when I finished giving one of the doses, she nibbled on my shoulder in an affectionate gesture.
Heidi is supposedly half Morgan and half Quarterhorse. I do not see the latter (and in fact think maybe there's a bit of the Budweiser Clydesdale in her family tree), but she does have the Morgan "hot-bloodedness" which can make for excitement. Imagine a 1000 pound fraidy-cat... If anything startles her, you must be ready to jump out of her way in a hurry. She's kind hearted, but a bit of a squirrel.
Posted by Judy on Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
.............................Heidi relaxing in the pond on a hot day
Murphy's Law of Trips
It's the way things go. You plan a trip, or maybe you have to go on a trip because it's a holiday or somebody you're closely related to is getting married, and that trip becomes the "deadline" by which time a great many things have to be accomplished. (There's the reverse of "THE TRIP" which is called "The Date the City Relatives Arrive for a Visit," but that's a different story).
The pasture fence must be secured. If it was fine last week, you can bet an animal has gone through it or a limb has fallen on it since then. One early morning several years ago, as we rushed to put our suitcases in the car in time to reach an airport three hours away, we discovered a dead deer hopelessly tangled in the pasture fence, and besides the sadness of that tragedy, there was added to the "to-do-before-we-leave" list the physical effort of wire cutting, fence repair, and dragging the animal to the road (where within ten minutes he was mistaken for road-kill and hauled away by someone who would use the meat).
The garden must be pest-proofed, and even if you just strung the electric raccoon fence, on the morning of departure you can be sure to discover that the raccoons have found some way in that must be plugged before you leave if you plan on filling the freezer with corn this year.
Plumbing knows your plans; so do blizzards and thunderstorms. Kids schedule ear infections or bronchitis to coincide with blast-off, and pets... well, pets... is what this story is about.
You can take a dog to the kennel, leave a cat for a couple of days with lots of food and a big litter box, farm out a hampster or other small critter to friends, but you have to have someone come to your barn twice a day to look after a horse. My barn is set up so the horses can each come and go at will from their box stalls. Water is outside in a tank and will last a week between fillings; grain can be put in their buckets and hay can be thrown into the stalls while keeping a stall wall between the horse and the caretaker of the horse (eliminating the risk of being stepped on or kicked). It's a good set-up.
So far so good.
This Thursday we leave to attend a wedding in New York, and so today I went out to the barn to muck out the stalls and throw some bales of hay down from the loft. At my appearance, Dream began her usual pawing and nickering in anticipation of the morning scoop of grain. I quickly obliged and then scooped for Heidi. As I approached the second stall, I saw it: Heidi's eyelid was ripped, swollen and encrusted with dried blood and dirt.
From experience that I will write about some other time, I knew that nothing could be done at this point except prevent infection. I washed Heidi's eye and called the vet, feeling deja vu: deja vu of Passover time and of a horse going lame with an abcess; deja vu of another horse having to be put down the day before Thanksgiving.
The vet came and agreed that antibiotic ointment was all that could be done, and that doing it three or four times a day between now and our departure may be enough. In New York City as the groom and bride raise their glasses in a toast to health and happiness, I will celebrate, but I will also think of Heidi and hope for the best.
Sometimes I wonder if Murphy didn't like animals.
Posted by Judy on Monday, July 16, 2007