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

Posts Tagged ‘caring for horses

Equine Fascination

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For someone with little prior experience with horses, the last few years have been a big change for me. Cyndie was much more experienced with horses, but she had never owned one before, nor had she ever been so responsible for their care. We continue to grow increasingly fascinated with horses each passing year.

Our horses are an incredible gift.

We were reminded of this once again last night after watching the premier PBS broadcast of the Nature episode, “Equus: Story of the Horse.”

In the time since our horses arrived here, I’ve not felt a strong urge to saddle and ride them. That fact often surprises visitors who are just getting to know us. “Why else would someone have a horse?” many of them seem to think.

One of my favorite things is that we are able to allow our horses to spend almost all of their time not wearing a halter around their head.

Horses are amazing beings. I am soothed simply by standing in their presence. It is quite a luxurious experience to have them residing here with us, where I am able to reach out and touch them, to exchange breath with them, nose to nose.

Most days, our horses seem to know me better than I know myself.

Horse sense.

Some days, they are completely unflappable. Occasionally, they are jittery beyond our reason. They sense things which we fail to detect.

I envy how adept horses are at swiftly resolving differences and returning their unconcerned attention to simply grazing.

For all the size, power, and speed that horses embody, they are impressively gentle, by their very nature.

Put simply, I find them completely fascinating.

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Written by johnwhays

January 17, 2019 at 7:00 am

Animal Magnetism

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For most of my life, it was a struggle just to take care of myself, due to a condition of undiagnosed dysthymia. The additional responsibility of caring for pets every day was a burden I found ways to avoid.

Now I know why people who love horses become so passionate about it. I’ve spent the last five years learning what it is like to own horses, and it has changed me to the point I think it would be hard for me now to live without them.

It’s kind of ironic that caring for animals has contributed significantly to my healthier life. The very thing I was avoiding turns out to be therapeutic for what ailed me.

Yesterday morning, Cyndie captured this wonderful moment as our four Arabians made their way along the fence line of the hay-field back toward the barn in the enticing soft light before sunrise.

She and Delilah had just come out of the woods on their morning walk along our trails, a situation that signals to the horses, breakfast at the barn will soon be served.

As powerful an energy as the horses are for us, Delilah radiates her own compelling magnetism. She looked absolutely stunning after a grooming appointment yesterday.

When I walked in the door and reached down to pet her while she was leaning into me in her overly affectionate greeting, I asked Cyndie, “Did you just brush her?”

Oh, no. That was a full-fledged professional job that gave her the silky smooth coat.

Later, I glanced at our beautiful Tervuren under the old Hays family table and caught her paw draped over the antler chew she found in the woods.

Yeah, it can be a lot of responsibility, but I think I’m getting the hang of this animal magnetism they seem to have.

What a rewarding blessing it is to be healthy and have the added benefits of the positive energy our animals inherently provide.

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Startling Behavior

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Legacy gave us quite a scare on Saturday. Just as Cyndie and I were trying to finish all projects in order to get cleaned up for a wedding in the cities, Legacy began to behave uncharacteristically out of sorts. I was out among the herd, scooping manure, when I caught him repeatedly banging his nose against a board on the wall of the barn beneath the overhang.

Not having ever seen him do such a thing, I wandered over to check on him. I offered to scratch his nose, in case an itch was making him do this. He didn’t seem annoyed or relieved by my effort. Then he started pawing the ground, digging in strongly.

Cyndie came out of the barn a few moments later, to see what the banging was about. I reported my findings. She recognized his behavior right away as a sign he was agitated about something. Luckily, we were able to get a quick second opinion from George and Anneliese in a fleeting moment before they were to leave.

Legacy’s breathing was noticeably elevated and we thought he felt a little warm. Anneliese listened for gut sounds and noted good activity. They said the situation deserved a call to the vet and advised we put a halter on him so we could walk him and keep him from lying down.

Walking a horse that doesn’t want to walk is not high on my list of things I like to do. Cyndie was trying to reach a vet late on a Saturday afternoon. It quickly became apparent that our odds of making it to that wedding in the cities were getting worse by the minute.

Those minutes while waiting for the answering service to reach the vet and for the vet to finally call us back can be rather stressful. They also tend to last what feels like an eternity. Meanwhile, Legacy was growing increasingly agitated.

After listening to our description of symptoms, the vet suggested we administer an anti-inflammatory. She was an hour out. Legacy was beginning to drain thick snot from his nose as Cyndie prepared to get him to accept a dose of medication.

I busied myself with tending the pile of composting manure while Cyndie alternately walked and soothed Legs. Before we knew it, our herd leader was calming back to his old self. When the vet arrived, she immediately commented that his ears looked good.

If I were to simplify the story, we cured him.

Whatever was causing his pain, most likely colic –a common digestive disorder– the relief of an anti-inflammatory may have relaxed him enough to get his system readjusted and back to normal. The vet took vital signs and collected a blood sample to check for infection.

We had to quarantine Legacy to one side of the paddock and not allow him anything to eat. The key sign of progress was when Cyndie found poo piles Sunday morning. Worst outcome averted.

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Written by johnwhays

April 10, 2017 at 6:00 am