Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bandages & Friendship

Poor Eddie. This weekend didn't turn out quite the way he planned. He was having himself a good 'ol time kicking up his heels in his paddock, but took a misstep and wrenched his front right shoe off. Unfortunately, he also did some damage to himself, the precise nature of which has yet to be determined. For the moment, we're just calling him three-legged lame.

Eddie, bless his heart, has been relatively injury free -- for a horse. They tend to be rather delicate creatures, especially for as big as they are. In my opinion, if someone tells you they're "healthy as a horse" you need to be on your way to the phone to call for help. Horses have a talent for hurting themselves regardless of the precautions you take to protect them.

But I'm used to lame horses, albeit a bit out of practice. I've owned horses who have made careers out of creatively injuring themselves. One big chestnut Thoroughbred gelding I owned for most of his twenty-six years wasn't an accident waiting to happen, he was an accident that continually happened. It got so people were thinking I had a "thing" for my vet. I was thinking maybe my vet ought to issue those cards like espresso stands have where after so many cups of coffee you get one free. It was the horse and I who bonded over those many hours of fellowship over salves, bandages, cold hosing, and prescription meds.

Something special happens when you help an animal through the tough times. A connection is born that wouldn't have existed otherwise. The quiet time you spend together doing the things that need to be done to get past the crisis creates a bridge of companionship that endures. Tomorrow morning I'll drive up to the barn, give Eddie his meds, rewrap his legs and brush his burgeoning winter coat while he stands quietly in his stall without his halter on. We'll have a little chat and he'll spend some time licking me--his way of doing something for me.

With any luck, he'll feel lots better and in a week or so we'll be able to get back to some light work. In the meantime we'll get to know each other on a different level.


  1. I used to have a mare that spent more time with her foot in a tub of hot epsom salt water than she did on the trail. I learned how to squat for extended periods of time. Couldn't just sit there on the barn floor. Had to be ready to move in case she tried to kick the bucket over. Or me.

    Gosh, I miss that old mare.

  2. Sounds a lot like having kids. But maybe a little less expensive...

  3. Annette--I'm very familiar with the hoof-in-bucket routine. I think every one of my horses made a game out of knocking the bucket over. And then some brilliant person invented the soaking boot! Yay! I love that person!

    E.B.--You're quite right. Having horses is a LOT like having kids. They're only slightly less expensive, but they never ask to borrow the car keys and they tend to follow direction better ;)

  4. Give Eddie a pat for me. I hope he feels better soon!

  5. Thanks, Fran! I'll do that. I'll let you all know what the vet has to say.