Saturday, July 4, 2009
Happy Independence Day
Today is the 4th of July. I'm so fed up with the Snaps, Crackles and Pops...coming from next door.
It's understandable though. Our neighbors have 5 boys. Boys and fireworks go together like summer and swimming. They just gotta do it.
Their sixth and youngest child is a seven year old cutie who LOVES horses! She helps me whenever I have a bit of extra time to zip around our common fence to pick her up in the J.D. Gator, so she can come over to play with the horses.
She will stand at the fence waiting some times for nearly an hour. I feel terrible if I don't have time to go get her. But she gets that I can't always do that. I wish I were on kid-time, that would be great, but I'm on horse time.
Here she is standing next to Spencer. He sure has mellowed since he's been here. I would have never let her get this close to him a year ago, especially while he was eating. He's a pretty good boy now.
It's hot today. I went out to feed the horses and Forrest came up to me and started rubbing on me. At first I thought it was flies bothering him. But he was insistent. Something just didn't seem right.
So I asked him to follow me back to the barn and I sent him into the stall and gave him his hay there, with a special grain treat.
Then we got busy across the street. Rich was on the tractor mowing the field that we use when our pasture needs a rest. I came back over in the Gator to find Forrest down in the stall. He got up and came out as soon as I slid the stall door open. I grabbed a halter, but as I tried to put it on his head, he turned away to bite as his stomach.
Panic time! Why is it the faster you try to do something - the longer it takes? The rope halter got all tangled up and Forrest took off towards a pile of dirt near the back hoe. He dropped down and laid there for a moment, then rolled. I went for his head with the halter again.
He got up took off toward a grassy patch and dropped again, then walked off before I could get to him. He headed back toward the barn. I got the halter on him finally and we started walking. I noticed that he had pooped several times in the stall.
I took him out to the play field and we walked around the pond. I needed Rich to come help me walk him so I could get something for Forrest's pain. I looked across the road at Rich on the noisy old tractor.
I couldn't believe what I happened to see, just beyond Rich on the lumbering tractor. A big black bear running across the field into the trees. Holy Cow or Bear rather!
That distracted me from Forrest who just dropped on the ground. This time in the soft grass of the field. I flapped my arms and yelled at him to get up! He did and then he pooped a couple times and stretched out and took a pee. Weird.
Then, he went down again, now I had to call Rich to help me. He came and we got our big boy up again and Rich walked him while I went to get something for the pain.
After we got the pain meds on board I asked Rich if he saw the bear. Nope. Since he didn't see it, I told him it was really huge.
Seriously...it was big. I assumed it was the fireworks that scared it out into the open in the middle of the day. I hate fireworks, I really do.
We took Forrest over to the hose and let cold water run all over him. He seemed to enjoy that. We kept it up for about 20 minutes. Allowing him to stand in the water was not only cooling his feet, (colic can lead to laminitis - keeping the feet cool is critical) the water was softening them as well.
I thought, "Good, when he starts feeling better, I can trim those softened hooves. We tried to get him to take a drink out of a nearby water trough. Nothing doing.
We went back to walking and cold showers. He stopped trying to go down and roll. So I let him stand in the shade, all damp and cool now, under the big willow tree.
While he stood, feeling better I think, I went for my tools.
As he stood gazing off at the neighbor's house, I pulled up beside him in the Gator. What a comfortable place to work.
Forrest, who is normally impatient with me and gets me upset when I trim, stood quietly in the shade of the willow and listened to the kids next door, squealing and having fun playing games out in their yard.
At that moment, I was evaluating Forrest’s hooves, listening to the pops and bangs all around us now, and loving life.
A song rattled around in my old head - "let freedom ring...let the white dove sing...something something...Independence Daaaay.
It's very cool how it doesn't cost me anything to keep my horses hooves trimmed and healthy. And I sure love the gratification of turning neglected hooves into sound hooves and making horses and their owners happy. I enjoy teaching people about what I do. But most of all I appreciate the independence of working for myself and answering to no one except me, my customers, and their horses. And sometimes, my husband:0)
As corny as it sounds, this truely feels like Independence Day to me.
After I got done trimming Forrest, I offered him water again. He wasn't interested. He peed though for the 2nd time. What can that mean? Should I be worried? They are like kids to us, aren't they?
I let him hang out in the field for a while longer, until he moseyed on back to the loafing shed to visit with his buddy Spencer.
They are cute together.
Since he seemed to be back to his old self, I sent him out the gate to the pasture and he took a big, reassuring for me, drink of water.
Later I saw him standing out with the other horses, gleaming in the sun from the cold bath he’d gotten earlier. What a sweet horse he is. I would hate for anything to happen to him anytime soon.
It’s starting to get dark and the fireworks are going off in earnest. Hopefully all the horses will stand around enjoying them as they have in years past only jumping when the big ones go off.
For me, I'll probably have trouble getting to sleep, worrying...about the horses, the dogs, the cat, the neighborhood kids...and that poor bear.
Happy Fourth of July!
PS: I'll be posting pictures of our last trimming clinic soon.