Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

‘Nother Day

with 8 comments

It’s a gorgeous Saturday morning here on the ranch, with snowflakes flying and a fire dancing in the fireplace. Wish you could be here to take it all in with me, but since you are not, I’ll try to enjoy it enough for all of us.

I’m afraid Hunter is going to see this as another day of imprisonment. Despite our belief in an equine sense of the world that is heightened beyond our perceptions, I all too often fall back into a common thinking that we are outsmarting him.

The doctor’s orders are for full-time confinement in the stall with extra bedding for at least a week, plus daily doses of an anti-inflammatory. Whether or not Hunter recognizes our efforts are aimed at relieving his pain, he is not accepting the regiment willingly.

The way Cyndie describes the relative futility of injecting medicine into the mouth of a horse who doesn’t want it reminds me of raising kids. However, there is a big difference between imposing your will on a helpless little baby and a 1000-pound horse.

Watching Hunter battle his forced confinement by biting on the top board of his stall that is just barely out of reach for him breaks my heart when comparing this option to the acres of rolling open fields he is longing to gaze upon.

Our exercise becomes one of searching out a flavoring agent that might loosen his clenched teeth when medicine is delivered, and testing all manner of gimmicks for him to “play” with that will pass his time within the four walls.

We bought a two-burner heat fixture that is mounted atop a small propane tank in hopes of throwing a little heat into the barn during the veterinarian’s visit. Only one of the burners worked. The valve on the second one wouldn’t feed gas unless the starting button was held in.

The instructions said to hold it for 30 seconds. I tried, 3o, 40, a minute, two minutes. Yeah, I’m that patient.

No, it wouldn’t work.

At least the below zero cold is on hold for the days this week, and we are at a balmy 15°(F) with all this snow flying today.

We don’t need no stinkin’ heater.

Luckily, Hunter has received a room upgrade at the inn. Due to a recent vacancy, he has moved from a stall with no window to one on a corner that has two windows.

Here’s hoping he is enjoying the view of the current snow-globe landscape and not wasting his energy gnawing on the top board.

Send our sorry pal your love!



Written by johnwhays

February 3, 2018 at 10:33 am

8 Responses

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  1. Could it just be the cold that is leading to all this??? The old time remedy for treating horses has always been adding garlic to the feed – it comes in powder and liquid form these days. Otherwise in my book, food is medicine. Maybe some sort of adjustment in this direction. There are other wheat supplements you can add containing wheat germ – it is the part left over from preparing flour for white bread. This needs to be moistened slightly to avoid the horse from breathing it in. Trying times, indeed. (Otherwise, filling your injection unit with apple pulp a couple of times, can get the horse to like its use.) Healing beams, Ian.

    Ian Rowcliffe

    February 4, 2018 at 4:34 am

    • Well, our extreme cold tends to exacerbate the problem. The laminitis we are challenged to control is a result of food being the problem; too much of a good thing. The Arabians we care for don’t get enough exercise for the rich grazing and good hay our region provides.
      We are faced with trying to provide LESS food, as losing weight will help significantly. It’s an insulin/metabolic problem.
      Thank you!


      February 4, 2018 at 9:59 am

      • Yes, I understand what you are saying, I didn’t think laminitis would be associated with eating hay. Rather, it is a Spring time phenomenon usually, isn’t it? And you think the cribbing is only due to being in such a short time. Anyway, each case is a case, and I am sure you are doing everything possible.

        Ian Rowcliffe

        February 4, 2018 at 10:19 am

      • I think the trigger could have been bruising from our difficult frozen terrain in the paddock, but the research revealed even the frozen grass beneath snow in fields can have high sugar content. We suffer a risk of laminitis all year ’round.


        February 4, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      • I was thinking what could be leading to this situation. Frozen grass can become a concentrated form of feed. Hence, with Hunter limited to hay, it should help to re-dress the imbalance. Otherwise, I am wondering what is new about the present set of circumstances. You have passed other winters with the same arrangements. What is new about this time round? Just brainstorming and empathising with you and your horses. Clearly, you have the best understanding of what is going on.

        Ian Rowcliffe

        February 4, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      • We also read that equine hormone changes from stress, like losing a companion, can contribute to laminitis.
        It is a multi-facetted affliction, and Hunter is up against most of the potential contributors.


        February 4, 2018 at 4:49 pm

  2. Blessing to Hunter, Cyndie, and you.

    Jim Parker (@drjparker)

    February 3, 2018 at 12:19 pm

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