It was a perfectly fine Sunday. I hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of days, sure that I had contracted a virus – but it never fully materialized, and I was feeling marginally better. Things had finally dried up enough for the farrier to come out and give everyone a trim and reshoe, for those who wear them. There had been a slight overnight rain, but not enough to change our plans. Horses had been getting out for a few days, so everyone was in a reasonable humor – except, of course, for Mr. Noble. Little did we know the consequences his mood would bring with it.
Roxie was first for a trim and shoes up front. After just one trim and shoeing from my farrier, since arriving here, I’m already much happier with the condition of her feet. Her hooves no longer resemble someone trying to jam their size nine foot into a size seven shoe!
Nash was next. It was about this time that Noble started having a tantrum because he wasn’t getting all of the attention. He had the freedom to run and graze out back, but would only go out for as long as I was out with him. So, I decided that some play time in the arena might satisfy his need for attention, and take the edge off before his trim. Out I went, armed with carrots and lunge whip, and called him into the arena (it opens on to the pasture situated at the back of his paddock). He came running up, accepted his carrot reward, and led me into the arena.
Noble was not in the mood for focusing – rather, he took advantage of the great traction to get in some galloping time. This accomplished the removal of excess energy, so I was fine with that. That is, until he decided to kick one of the top boards out of the arena. Wonderful! One more thing to fix! To be fair, he’d previously broken the board, but it was staying in place, so I’d put off replacing it. Oh well, he saved me having to remove half of it. Still, it seemed time to end the silliness.
Back in the barn, it was finally Noble’s turn for a trim. As our farrier moved to the back legs, he noticed something wrong. There was a gash in the right hind fetlock, and another on the outside heel of that hoof. The leg was covered in mud, so it was difficult to see – but they were pretty good sized gashes. He did not seem sore on the leg, and was remarkably well behaved as his trim was finished. The wound was going to need tending, but I knew that there would be no way to get it sufficiently clean without the use of drugs. He just was not going to stand still long enough – never mind putting up with any pain that was inevitable during the process. So, a veterinarian was clearly needed.
It was the next morning before we could get a vet out. By then the leg had become quite swollen, but he was still bearing weight on it. He took the needle fine – but when the vet attempted to insert the syringe, we nearly were dragged out of the barn. Back into the stall, and we were finally able to give a dose of drugs. Before too long, he became relaxed and uncaring. Cleaning and treatment could proceed. (Warning: graphic images follow.)
There is a perverse side of my nature that wants to say Noble is paying for breaking the board in the arena – the most likely cause of his injury. However, the truth is that I’m the one paying. Literal payment, the vet visit cost well over $500. Had I done all of my homework along the way, he would have already known about being wrapped, and I would likely have been able to take care of it myself. Had I fixed the board when he first broke it, perhaps there would have been no injury. Instead, I now face two weeks of antibiotics and multiple re-wrapping sessions.
But, not one to cry over spilled milk, I will take my medicine and make the best of it. This will offer Noble lots of practice in getting his leg wrapped. It will also require that I spend time with him – no more excuses of having no time or being tired. Past experience has shown this can be a bonding time, so I will think of that when I’m cursing at being bent over his leg in a cold barn on a work night.
Fate is smiling on me just slightly in this situation. Part of the treatment involves a dose of sixteen antibiotic tablets, twice daily. These pills are typically dissolved in warm water, and administered orally via a dosing syringe. Those of you who have treated a horse orally for anything will understand how entertaining this can get when you have to repeat it twice daily for two weeks. Knowing that would be the most challenging aspect of treatment, I decided to be creative. Ever since we switched to a pelleted supplement, and Noble disliked crunching the pellets, we have been soaking them in warm water every day. So, why not dissolve the pills into this mix? A little molasses added, to mask the medicinal taste, and cross my fingers … success! He happily munches the mix down. So, one pain point avoided!
The next couple of weeks will be a test – will we get even closer? Or will we end up barely speaking? Only time will tell the full price we’ll pay for Noble’s Sunday hi-jinx!
Be good to your horses!