Saturday, January 5, 2013

Touching a Horse

The most kissable nose.
I touched a horse on Thursday.  

I have been forbidden from entering the stable.  Not by my doctor or my physical therapist, but by my husband.  He’s not being mean.  He just knows that in a stable, things happen fast, and my newly reconstructed ACL cannot handle the sudden impact caused by a panicked horse.

No, I have no reason to think my horses will panic, but they are horses, and they manage to do things that you don’t expect, usually at the worst times.  Involving high speeds and sudden impacts.

My favorite shot of DeCato in the snow.
Until Thursday, pretty much the only contact I had with my horses since December 11 was on the day my husband drove me up to the paddock in the car so I could open the window and SEE Hudson, Starlight and DeCato.  No touching!

Actually, that was the day when I noticed that their hooves needed a trim, and that led me to actually touching them on Thursday.

I normally trim their hooves, and have for several years.  I’m self-taught, but have received feedback along the way from farriers and vets, and so I know I’m doing pretty well with them.

Before surgery, I was in an incredible state of action.  We were working so hard and fast to get things ready for my extended disability, and I just didn’t get those hooves trimmed before I went under the knife.
Remembering a July swim.
Dan Rossiter to the rescue!   

He’s an Athens-based farrier and he not only was willing to come up and give them a trim, knowing that I will go back to doing them myself, but he also gave me lots of advice and tips on each of my mares as he worked, and that was great.  And he did an excellent job, so all-in-all, a fantastic farrier experience!

But, since I am still not “allowed” in the stable, I stayed outside the fence, hovering helplessly and anxiously, while my friend Trish held the horses.  It was freakin’ cold, and we don’t have stalls, so she had to tie those who weren’t being worked on, and all together, she went above and beyond the call of duty.

One of the best views there is -- anyplace, from your horse's back.
Not to mention that Burdock, the cat, decided he would climb out on the barn rafters and menace everyone from above.  Since I know he jumps on horses’ backs from the ground, I was quite concerned that he would jump on them from above, causing the exact kind of panic that I mentioned.  I did at one point, get him down by going to the front of the barn, calling and feeding him, but apparently that action, in itself, caused a bit of panic in the stable.   And his absence only lasted as long as the food, and then he was back in the rafters 

Goes places he shouldn't
And also DeCato, the least handled of my horses, objected to being tied by trying to eat the barn, starting with the two-by-four to which she was tied.  She also pawed quite a bit, at one point actually stretching out both front hooves at once, pawing with each, looking more like a playful dog than a horse.  I must say, I haven’t seen a horse do that before. 

And then there was Webbly, the ram.  He decided it was a good time to arbitrarily slam his head into the sheep hutch, rearing up and ramming it repeatedly with his big, curling horns. 

So, there were distractions a'plenty during this appointment.  And Trish is probably hoping I’m back in the stable by the time my horses are needing a trim again, at least to hold them.
Thanks again, Trish!

Before and after the trim, I got to put my hands on my horses’ fuzzy winter faces, and I planted many a kiss on Starlight’s soft nose, since she seemed to like that, or at least didn’t object.  
I ram.
There was a point when the horses had followed Dan and Trish elsewhere and were watching them intently.  But then Starlight suddenly looked around and saw me still standing down below, and she hustled back down for more loving, followed by DeCato and then Hudson.  Hudson was less interested in affection than the other two, but I was happy to have them all come back down and see me.

I think they must wonder where I have been, and will I be back? And why are these other people doing what I normally do?  And where is Stormkite?  (Stormkite and I disappeared from their presence at approximately the same time, I to go to surgery, he to go to training.)

It was a brief exchange for us, but rewarding for me, leaving me longing to get back out there, bury my fingers in their warm, thick coats, groom them, saddle them up, and go for a ride on the snowy hill.

The snow may be gone when I actually get back on, so, until then, I’ll be riding through it in my dreams

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