Two Horse Stories

May 18th, 2006

Now it’s time to catch up on my blogging. Here’s a couple of horse tales for you:

A couple of weeks ago, a vet came out to the stable and gave the big critters some vaccinations. I don’t remember what they all were, but I know there were three of them. One of the vaccinations was a two-stage treatment, with a first injection administered by the vet, and a booster to be given about a week later. The vet left the second round of injections, already prepared in hypodermic needles, with us so we could give the horses their shots.

Last Wednesday was the day for the booster shots. Fred and I had planned to go out to the stable to shoot the horses, Fred would give Nanaimo his injection, and I would give Laredo his. That afternoon, though, a storm seemed to be blowing up, so we postponed by a day. On Thursday, Jackie decided she would just let Wendy and I inject both the horses.

Somehow, the job of actually wielding the needle came to me. Oh, and did I mention that Laredo has a fear of needles? The previous week he’d reared up by the time he got stuck with that third needle. So the plan was that Wendy would hold Laredo’s lead rope, I would inject the horse, and Summer would dial 911 when Laredo reared up and knocked one of us unconscious.

As it turns out, both the horses took their injections well. Nanaimo didn’t flinch when I jabbed him. Laredo flinched and his eyes got big when I stuck him, but he didn’t panic or try anything drastic. So, nearly twenty years after graduation from Cow College, I am finally practicing veterinary medicine.

The boys have now gone off to school. We’ve sent them to a trainer for three months of boarding and training. (Horses have to be taught how to be ridden. Who knew?) Getting the horses to school was an experience.

On Monday, Genna Phillips and her boyfriend (fiance?) Randy drove out to the stable with a trailer to haul the boys off to Genna’s place. I knew that some horses could be difficult to load into a trailer, but I didn’t expect ours to be much trouble. Oh boy, was I wrong.

Fred and I had previously loaded them into his trailer, although his trailer sits out by the stable and is a sight the horses are accustomed to. Fred and I had never loaded both horses at once, but we had a plan for it: we would load Nanaimo first, then Laredo. Our plan was to use buckets of feed to lure the horses into the trailer, and because Laredo gets very aggressive around food, we would load him last because otherwise he might not be too eager to let Nanaimo into the trailer with “his” food.

On Monday, though, we decided to load Laredo first. It took a couple of minutes to get him into the trailer, but he was a dream compared to his brother. We set him up with some hay and he entirely ignored the rest of the loading operation as he stood there and munched.

Nanaimo was… a struggle. I won’t go into all the details, but he absolutely refused to enter the trailer. Genna, who knows horses better than I know my car, says the boy wasn’t scared. He was just being stubborn. We tugged. We pushed. We slapped him. We tapped him. We nagged him. We threatened him. At one point he actually charged Genna, and at another point he reared up so high he flopped onto his back. Once he slipped on the pavement and almost fell on me. Another time he bit me, though not badly.

Eventually, after more than an hour of trying, we decided to give Nanaimo a rest while they drove Laredo to Genna’s stable. We thought we might have more success getting him into Fred’s trailer, so while Genna was hauling Laredo, we took Nanaimo back to the pasture and tried luring him into Fred’s trailer. No go.

When Genna and Randy returned, we got serious and after nearly three hours, we finally managed to get Nanaimo into the trailer. Genna had a chain across his nose so he couldn’t pull too hard on his lead rope, and Randy and I slapped him and waved things at him, until finally he decided he was tired of our harrassment and would rather jump into the trailer than put up with us.

Genna, who has seen her share of difficult horses said Nanaimo took top prize for sheer stubbornness. Next week, Randy and Genna are taking the horses to the vet for a little dental work. They’re planning start the loading operation at 5:00 AM.

Good luck.

One Response to “Two Horse Stories”

  1. Leigh Ann Says:

    How SWEET! You sent your horses off to summer camp!