Friday, March 18, 2011

Does Shadow Have a Secret Plan?

Happy Friday, everyone!  Hope you've had a good week.  Hope you aren't too hung over from your St. Patrick's Day celebrating.  Time for everyone to reclaim their own heritage and stop being Irish if you aren't actually Irish.

I'm one part German, one part English, and two parts Scottish.  So, I really can't pass as much else.  The blond hair, blue eyes, and fair complexion mess that up for me.

I've told you a good bit about Shadow this week.  In all of this, I've mentioned that if some eccentric problem can exist, Shadow will be the one who has it.  He hasn't gotten those wormer resistant pin worms, thank God!  I've had enough of "backdoor" worming horses for a while!  But, he's had nearly everything else.

Then, sometimes, I think Shadow just has a secret plan.  He's so sweet.  He never acts out.  Maybe all of these odd little medical issues are just a passive-aggressive plot?  I don't really believe that either.  But sometimes I wonder if that big sweet horse has a few more tricks up his sleeve!

The heat exhaustion last summer kept him from working.  It kept him from working from July until nearly October.  It did not go below 80 degree here until October!  We had some freakish weather last year!

This year isn't starting off a lot better with all the snow storms, the earthquakes, the early tornadoes, the tsunami. Makes you wonder about more than climate change!  But, I digress.

Shadow will get a mysterious limp occasionally.  We've narrowed that one down to a little arthritis in his back legs.  I think it was so hard to figure out because he was 12 when it started.  That's a little early for arthritis, but this is Shadow after all.

Mack said, when he made the diagnosis last year, that good lesson horses are like this.  They are good because they've got a lot of miles on they get ridden a lot.  But, they always have little pesky problems because they've got a lot of miles on them.  It's an unavoidable problem, apparently.

So, we give Shadow joint supplement.  If it's cold weather or this cool damp early Spring weather, we give him anti-inflammatory medication.  Of course we have to mix all of this with molasses.  It's always something with Shadow.  But, he's an exceptional lesson horse.  So, I do it.

Let me add, if you're going to stop using a lesson horse for a little arthritis, well then, you're going to let that horse lose a lot of productive years.  You will spend, conservatively, $5,000.00 a year keeping him up like a nursing home patient.  Most people can't afford to do that.

Most horses don't want to go from a busy working life to sitting in the paddock with nothing to do, either.  So, you do what I do for Shadow.  I do it for Big Mac, Milagro and Merry, too.  A little supplement goes a long way in keeping them happy and productive.

Big Mac is very old and his arthritis is much worse, but he's comfortable with his supplements.  Plus he only works doing rides for little tiny kids who are really nervous.  He doesn't work as often for that reason.  After he retired as a show horse, he worked as a trail horse.  I assure you, like your greatgrandpa who wishes he could be more productive, so does Big Mac.

Ok, back to Shadow.  I get off track explaining things to you sometimes.  I want you to understand how the farm works.  I want you to understand I have the horses' best interest in mind.  I don't want you to think I'm making these poor ol' horses suffer for my benefit.  They aren't.  Trust me.  I often say these are some of the best cared for horses in the state.  That's probably not far from the absolute truth.

As I was saying, back to Shadow.  Shadow's latest thing has been nose bleeds.  Since February, the weather has been erratic. It's been warm to cold and back again.  This is when he started having nose bleeds.  Of course I called the vet about them.

Lucy said not to worry too much about it.  It was probably the weather.  Just don't work him hard when he's having one. There are three vets in Mack's practice.  His two associate vets are women, then him.  Just in case you're wondering why the vet pronoun changed.

Well, it's as if Shadow over heard that conversation and then took a look at my calendar!  Just last week I had an adult student book a lesson for the purpose of working on his canter.  He rides English, so yes, it was a canter not a lope he wanted to polish.  For the rest of you, that means a slow run, ok?

As Dod was tacking Shadow up, he called into the people barn to me, "Shadow has a nose bleed."  Crap!  I called the vet's office just to see if the answer would be what I thought.  I was right.  "No canter work for Shadow today," came Lucy's advice.  "Getting his blood pressure up would only make the nose bleed worse."  Thanks, Lucy.  I knew she was right.

Dod had to turn Shadow back out into his paddock with Speakeasy.  Then he had to get Milagro out and start grooming her instead.  I think Milagro thinks Shadow is sloughing off his work on her sometimes.  She just has that put-upon look when it happens.

Oh well, my student always brings the horses peppermints.  At least Milagro got two of those.  Shadow, of course, got the third one--since he was sick and all.

Sometimes, I think Shadow plans these things.  Maybe he goes up to Speakeasy in the paddock and says, "He buddy, could you kick me in the nose just so?  Not hard enough to do any damage.  Just hard enough so I don't have to work this afternoon.  I'd rather hang out and work on this fresh bale of hay any way."  Speakeasy complies and pops Shadow one in the nose.  How do I miss these things? 
It's that or a bad cocaine addiction.  But, I have trouble seeing Shadow as the coked-up type.  He's too calm.  Of course, he's put one past me before!  Maybe he's got a piece of that leftover PVC plumbing pipe doing big lines down the hall of the barn when I'm not looking?  I sure hope not!  That would be hard to explain to the authorities!

I'm kidding folks.  In reality, I know Shadow doesn't plan these things.  I know he's not a coke addict.  I know he's just Mr. Sensitive when it comes to almost everything.  As I said, he's a good horse.  "He must be!"  Is that what you're saying to yourselves?  Well, he is.

Thanks for reading and have a great Friday!

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