Monday, September 24, 2012

Just When I Thought Everything Was Going So Well

Dogs and I—deciding that “Moderate” levels of air uncleanliness would probably be reduced to almost “High-Normal” in the forest primeval, among the whispering pines and the hemlocks, and all their oxygenation powers—had a spectacular two-hour hike this midday. We drove up to where a Forest Service road—I can’t remember which one and am not currently bothering to look it up—splits off from the Jerome Creek road (which is also one, actually, FS 788), hiked up to Jerome City with its roofless, overgrown log hotel (nothing about it says “hotel” expect for K, once, telling about the place), its heaps of gravel, and its incipient creek. Dogs had a brief wallow in the muddy spring, and we headed up hill, on a trail I’ve ridden before, but it’s been awhile and it’s not that easy to get to with unshod horses.

The air was lovely in the woods, and we all swung along through trails and roads, and finally found a road that I’m pretty sure led to a trail that I’ve been trying to connect with for the last few years. It’s a trail that I rode most recently about 7 years ago? Maybe more? And so, if no one else has been on it, it’s probably vanished. I at least, today, identified the old logging road that led to it, though, so there’s some hope of connecting the two later this week. Why? I don’t know. Because it’s there. It’s outside. It’s with dogs. It’s exploration! And I can’t hear the whinnying gimp, anxious for her grazing herd.

I had put Shadow and Sikem out in the yard the last two days because they’d at least be closer to Snick, and I held her on a lead yesterday and the day before and let her graze in their vicinity while her leg iced, but today when I opened the yard-side gates of their pens, Shadow stepped outside, looked around her, and went back in and stood by her other gate. Nope, she was not interested in being in the yard today, even though there is plenty of graze. I had no idea catering to her whim would become such a problem.

Dogs and I played in the pond for 15 minutes after we returned (Tessa’s return wallow at Jerome City, just before getting back into the car [but not into the house], made her look all the more hog-like. She’s a bit of a fatso, but not like some four-square fat labs—she just looks meaty and bacony) and then, STARVING, I came inside and heated up some tomato soup and made a grilled cheese sandwich. Right as I finished preparing lunch, and was sitting down to eat, Sadie started to grrr at something out on the road, and I heard Snickers begin to whinny, and I looked out and saw the silly thing trotting back and forth in her pen, whinnying and snorting and pooping, throwing her head around, completely disregarding the fact that she is in pain and on bed rest.

Snickers wasn’t even just trotting; she was dressage trotting. She looked like she was dancing. I had not experienced such lightness of foot while riding her, and was surprised and alarmed to watch it in a lame horse. I immediately abandoned my lunch and ran outside. Sadie, it turns out, was barking at someone who had parked a truck and stock trailer in the road just outside our driveway. He was collecting up the last of his free-range cattle before hunting season begins in a week, but the strange, slow, agitated movement of cattle and machinery was very alarming to the resident animals.

 Snickers continued to whinny up the hill where the rest of the herd presumably was having a big party that they hadn’t invited her to, glancing wild-eyed at the road, and really angrily calling to her mates. I had never heard just that quality of whinny before, and so I grabbed Snickers’s halter and went into her stall/pen to collect her and try to calm her down; right as I was finishing up with the buckle of her chin strap (after following her around for several moments trying to get her to stand still), she threw her head up and almost knocked herself out on the eave just above, stumbling around very (obviously) close to me and my ill-chosen footwear (wool Haflingers—I wasn’t in flip flops, at least). I decided that unhooking her lead rope—easier than taking the halter back off—and getting myself out—was probably the best bet. I threw her a flake of hay to distract her.

I retreated to the house and called up W, and we decided that, when I bring in the other horses in about 30 minutes now, I’ll take Snickers back down to her outside pen. If she’s trotting, clearly she can make the walk. Also, if she really has done damage to her tendon (although I am tending, after this afternoon’s display, to believe that much of it was histrionics not unlike that displayed by Italian footballers), maybe she’s been getting too high a dose of the pain killer. We decided that I will not administer tonight’s dose of bute, and that, depending on how she looks in the morning, I will turn out all three horses in a little corral along the creek, where it’s unlikely any of them could get up to much of a gallop. I’m debating about the bandages. I think I’d just have to leave them off, since she’d be walking through water.

I verified the bute and transfer with the vet’s assistant (the vet will be back in tomorrow, and I’ll call to update her then), gave Snickers the rest of her afternoon hay in her bag, and came back in to eat my lukewarm lunch. At least the salt I have to carry back down to the pens is the slightly licked, not quite 50-pound one instead of the new one.

Dogs: two thumbs up!

Horses: meh.

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