September 19th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Life with horses

Around here, there's a saying that sheep are born looking for a way to die, goats are born looking for a way out, and horses are born looking for a way to get hurt.

Mac, my red  Quarter Horse, has laminitis in both front feet.   Laminitis, also called "founder" is a very serious disease that can be fatal.   I don't know why--none of the usual causes are involved, except his conformation (chunky QH build with small, narrow-inside feet) and the fact that we actually had some green grass this year.  But the horses weren't turned out on really lush pasture (they eyed it longingly, but we keep the horse lots cut close, to control weeds and to make picking up droppings--which we do every day--easier.  He hasn't been worked on hard ground (he hasn't been worked at all), he hasn't been fed grain or a rich feed, and he hasn't been in the feed supply.   Etc. 

Nonetheless, Mac has laminitis and now we have to see if the treatment works.  If not...well, laminitis killed Secretariat and Barbaro.  I've lost a horse to founder before.   Not fun.

Bananaface, my other  horse (it's a nickname: his real name is Illusion), is in good health and regarded the vet's visit as an insult--he had to have his teeth floated,  which means ground down.  These days, modern equine practices use an electric drill with a long shaft and a grinder on the end, instead of the "floats" (long metal handles with rasps on the end) and this makes it go faster...but the horse doesn't like it any better.  They also have a really cool little light that hooks onto the speculum that holds the horse's mouth open, so the vet can easily see inside the horse's mouth.  Mr. Yellow (one of his other nicknames--this is a horse that just naturally generates nicknames) managed to charm the vet's assistant even while being his usual quietly uncooperative self.   He's 1/4 mustang, and way too smart for his and my good. 

Now Mac is confined in one small paddock and his stall, and he's moping because he's not with his buddy.  Illusion is not moping but peeved (right there you see the difference in personality.  Mac is a dramatic moper--he is a horse that can look pitiful and wounded and Serious.  A bit of a drama queen, though right now he has something to be dramatically wounded about.  (He can produce the same look of sorrowful innocence, falsely accused-ness, when he's just been reminded firmly that shoving humans is not allowed.)    Illusion wandered in when I checked on Mac tonight, annoyed that Mac was getting the attention, and not happy to find that he couldn't muscle in and push Mac aside (right now, they're separated.)