A lot happened on Saturday, I ended up at the barn for over 10 hours. Nothing bad though, and it was a very productive day. S came and helped me on the farm for most of the time that I was there and we got a LOT accomplished.
- Paddock and mare/baby field drug
- Manure pile removed
- Nasty pile of old hay/manure in paddock removed
- Put out a round bale for mares/babies
- Removed a dangerous section of fence in 20 acre pasture
- Removed random firewood stacks from paddock and small pasture
After all of this happened, S went back to town and I got to waffle back and forth on whether or not to start catching horses for the vet. I’d been told that he’d be there “in the afternoon,” but generally they call me when he is an hour out, and I’d yet to hear from anyone. Naturally a storm was threatening to blow through, so I decided to go ahead and start catching the horses that were in the furthest pastures lest I have to in the rain.
It was comical catching them and bringing them in. I caught Robin first and we jogged to the paddock and I walked quickly alongside her little trot. I felt like I was going in a halter class. Next I caught Highness, who trotted out a bit more and I imagine (comically) that we looked like we were pretending to be eventers jogging in. Next I caught Copper, who was terribly excited to be going in and trotted to the paddock like we were headed to the track for a quick race. 😉 (Note that I asked the three of them to trot in hand because at this point it was raining on me.) Once I got my three safely in the paddock (Chunk kept attempting to join them, which made things more interesting…) I went back out to the 20 acre pasture for Kricket, the boarder horse. Robin is also in the 20 acre pasture, but comes when I whistle so I didn’t have to go catch her. Kricket wasn’t as accommodating, so I got my exercise in walking the hills, because being caught wasn’t her idea of fun. She also didn’t have to gait to the paddock because I was out of breath from walking up the big hill and I’m not sure she knows how to gait in hand anyway?
Well, once I got them all in (minus Paige and Joey) I ran home to let my dogs out to potty, then stopped to see Jason, who is now employed at our local TSC (talk about handy for that employee discount!) Once I got back to the farm, it was 7pm and I was starting to wonder if I was still on the schedule since I hadn’t heard anything. I called the answering service and she said she’d page him. Around 8pm, the vet himself called me and asked if it was too late for him to come by, I replied that if he was in our county, I already had horses mostly caught if he wanted to come on by and get it over with. He agreed, I gave him basic directions, then I went out to the paddock and grabbed all the horses. My donkeys were all three in the third stall with hay and water, so I put Highness in the middle stall, and Copper in the first stall. I still had two mares (Robin and Kricket) and no more stalls, so I shoved both of them in the 12×12 run in area together. They’re field mates and get along fine, so it worked out perfectly. I then went out and brought Paige and Joey inside to the foaling stall.
I thought Joey would be more curious about everything going on, but he literally nursed and laid in the hay in the foaling stall and tuned out everything for a nap. I think it helps that his mother is basically the QH Ghandi and doesn’t get her feathers ruffled over much.
When the vet pulled in, I met him outside and asked if the office had sent him with the oral dorm that makes all things easy peasy with Copper…and the answer wasn’t what I’d hoped. The poor man had never been to my farm before, so he knew not what was coming for him. Without the oral dorm, we proceeded to take care of everything except Copper first. Each mare got a rabies vaccination in the stall she was confined in, including Robin and Kricket, who were sharing a space. The vet didn’t comment on my weird arrangement, and it worked out well, so my use of space worked out well. Generally I’ve left Robin loose in the barn during this sort of thing, but I knew Paige wouldn’t be happy if Robin was overly interested in her baby.
Joey stood great to have blood pulled to test to verify that he received adequate immunity from Paige’s vaccines. (Spoiler alert, he did.) Now it was time for the inevitable…Copper. The vet asked if he would respond to a twitch, and I’m honestly not sure, because I don’t even have one. He went to the truck and couldn’t find his twitch either, so he asked if I have a chain. Oddly enough, I do have a chain though I couldn’t tell you the last time I used it for something other than to hang a bucket temporarily.
So this is how my 10 yr old halter bred Appaloosa got to wear a lip chain for the first time in his life that I’m aware of. If you read my blog back when I first started blogging, you know that my opinion of lip chains isn’t very high. I don’t like that people rely on them so heavily to show their halter horses, especially mares and geldings. But I’m not going to beat that dead horse again. In this situation, a lip chain is more appropriate in my eyes. It keeps horse and human from being injured, is used for a short amount of time, and he was given scratches (from myself and the vet) after it was removed, so that hopefully its use was a teachable moment. Copper was NOT thrilled with this development, but we got enough of his blood for the Lyme test and a Coggins test (you know, just in case this lameness is ever resolved and we can go places…).
It has been a couple of years since I’ve held anything with a lip chain on and I’m not sure I’ve ever held one with a lip chain during such a tense moment, even that time that I handled aged stallions at the Lexington ApHC show… Copper was bug eyed and standing very tall. If he were carrying another few hundred pounds, he would’ve made his halter parents proud. As it was, I felt a ton of relief when we removed the lip chain and went on with our business of sorting his blood into a couple different vials. I’m now anxiously awaiting the results of the Lyme test. Not sure if I want the lameness to be Lyme or PSSM…Lyme is more expensive up front to treat, but PSSM would be the rest of his life of special care and management. If it is neither, then getting his SI injected would be the next step? The vet did say that no one at their practice does that injection and that he’s seen horses crippled from having it done incorrectly, so he’d recommend I take Copper to the vet hospital if it needs to be injected. Such fun.
We also pulled a Coggins on Paige because once Joey is weaned she and I are going somewhere and doing something. Where, when, and what TBD.
I’m going to buy all of my other vaccines and give them myself to save money.
My donkey is probably going to have a baby soon. I’m as surprised as you are. Apparently I didn’t notice when she gained a ton of weight because my focus was on another large hippo and her impending delivery…fingers crossed all goes well!