Pony Sez #36: Yuck!

Pony sez yuck!

Whenever I visit barns there is one thing that always draws my eye: The tack rack. Are the bits clean? Very often the answer is a resounding no. To me, that’s a deal breaker. If you can’t be bothered to get your hands dirty cleaning the bit after riding, you have no place using a bit to begin with. Don’t go telling me your horse is your best friend if you’re willing to force your best friend to suck on a bacteria-infected, filthy piece of metal.

I’ll be honest: I hate washing bits. So this is one of numerous reasons I ride bitless.

Welcome to the herd!

Mouthguards suck.
Mouthguards suck.
It's a pretty big pasture!
It’s a pretty big pasture!
Quiet time in the pasture.
Self proclaimed herd leader Tush on the left, guarding Emilie, Gäskir and little grey Blomme on the right.

Emilie got to be out with the herd for an hour today, introducing her to most of the other horses at the new barn. She immediately formed a group with her barn neighbour, Icelandic horse Gäskir, which was then joined by little grey Blomme who seems to love everyone as long as they have four legs. Pinto herd leader Tush allowed her into his herd but kept her separate from the other horses for now.

Fjord horse Loke took one look at Emilie and went for a nap — and he’s supposed to be the grumpy one!

Emilie will only be doing 1-2 hour pasture visits this week so that we can be sure that she doesn’t eat enough through the mouthguard to cause her laminitis to flare up again. But from the looks of it, she’ll fit in just fine.

Bigger is better!

His name is Bigger. That's why.
His name is Bigger. That’s why.

Emilie has been safely moved to a barn that’s just 2.7 km from our back door. The trip went mostly smoothly; the vet gave me a bit of painkillers for Emilie so that her laminitis and hip wouldn’t act up, and she was fine. Unfortunately, however, she slipped on one hind leg during unloading, and the lead rope tore up the driver’s hand. I feel rather bad about that. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but I hate seeing people getting injured.

Emilie is settling in fine though she is quite unhappy that we won’t let her into pasture with the others yet. Laminitis baby needs her new mouthguard before she gets to run free again! Apart from that she’s settled in fine. Her new box allows her to pop her head out and say hello to people who walk by, and my hyper-socialized horse is abusing the heck out of that. Piiiiity me, the poor locked up priiiiisoner …

Oh, and big, brown boys are still her favourite.

Horse Whispers

Emilie came down with laminitis on all four legs two days ago. In spite of the pain and the stress from the treatment (no food, no pasture, no nothing), she is able to talk to me. This morning she did not want her treatment.

Every morning this week I give her an injection in the neck, for pain relief and lowering her blood pressure. The vet showed me how to do it Saturday. I may have turned a little green around the nose Sunday, but I got it done without Emilie catching on to my discomfort (I’m terrified of needles). This morning, when I approached with the needle, Emilie moved away.

I walked after her and pinched her neck skin lightly as one does, to distract her from the incoming needle. She flattened her ears and glared at me. At this point I remembered how sore muscles get when nurses keep jabbing in the same place day after day. So I pinched her 5 cms further to the right — and voila! She stood statue still and relaxed.

Tomorrow I’m going to jab her on the other side of the neck while I quietly give thanks for how good horses are at communicating if you’ll just listen to them. No stress, no panic, no anxiety. Just letting me know that this spot is sore. Please give the injection a little to the side of yesterday’s spot.

I’m ever impressed with how much information horses can convey with how little voice. I’m no horse whisperer, but my horse certainly can whisper me a thing or two.