Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘equine vet

Remembering Legacy

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He was a consummate leader, our Legacy. He arrived to our care in September of 2013, master of this group of 3 chestnuts with which he had been matched. We quickly came to recognize his gracious control of the herd as their benevolent dictator.

In the last couple of months we noticed signs something might be up, hints that maybe he was aware the end was near.

Yesterday morning, Cyndie found him in very bad shape out in the pasture. He had been so uncomfortable he had wrangled out of his blanket, and thus ended up matted with balls of iced-up snow.

Whatever was causing him pain, it was now exacerbated by his nearly freezing in the overnight sub-zero cold. Cyndie was able to get him up and walking back into the paddock before coming to get me and contact our vet. Legacy was heroic about letting us attempt to get him warmed up and responding to some meds, but his age, and condition, and the cold all conspired to keep the interventions short of being able to extend his time.

After a couple of hours waiting to see if he would feel better, his behavior was very clear. The vet returned and gently guided us through the process of helping Legacy through this transition.

Before the vet arrived, we had walked Legacy out of the paddock to open space in front of the barn. He was pawing the ground in response to pain and so Cyndie walked him to pass the time. He did really well for a brief span, but then picked a perfect spot to stop and calmly lay down.

He curled his legs underneath him and sat quietly, no longer needing to paw in pain. He accepted our hugs and condolences and patiently awaited what was to come.

When the truck pulled up, Legacy laid his head down, as if fully aware of what came next.

His amazing spirit is threaded indelibly throughout every single aspect of Wintervale Ranch, right down to the outline of his face in our logo. There are so many amazing, beautiful memories we have and hold of his time with us. He is irreplaceable and we will be challenged to figure out how to manage the days ahead, guiding Dezirea, Cayenne, and Hunter through their grief, while struggling to cope with our own.

Thank you to all of you who are supporting us with your love and kind condolences. Send our horses love. They are visibly disturbed by his departure, yet they mustered strength to provide some loving equine understanding to Cyndie as the vet drove away.

Legacy, (7/18/1996-1/14/2018), we send you off with all the love you fostered here, and more. May your spirit soar!



Written by johnwhays

January 15, 2018 at 7:00 am

Vet Visit

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It’s like going to the dentist for an annual cleaning and checkup, only it’s horses and the dentist comes to them. The tools involved are a little bigger, too.

Unfortunately, it was ridiculously freezing cold yesterday, but that is when the visit was scheduled. We learned that Cayenne’s eye isn’t scratched and the vet flushed her tear duct just for good measure. She may simply be displaying symptoms of an allergy. The swelling could well have been a reaction to getting something in her eye after rubbing it against her leg in response to itchiness.

Beyond that, the bulk of the fall horse health care focused on their teeth.

Before we owned horses, I had no idea that filing their teeth was something that had to be done, just like I didn’t realize their hooves needed to be regularly trimmed. Horse’s teeth keep growing, and they can develop sharp high points on the molars that become uncomfortable for them and interfere with chewing.

There is a cure for that. After administering a little injection of a calming potion, the vet gets out a big drill with a fancy adaptor on it that spins an abrasive disc. While the horse is becoming woozy, they slip on a barbaric looking apparatus to hold the jaw open and start grinding away.

I expected the horses to react with a big startle when the sound and feel of the procedure resonates in their heads, but they each accepted it calmly, albeit druggedly.

It’s as if they understood it a necessary evil and tolerated the invasion of their space with grace. Well, not all of them were so graceful. Legacy is a total lightweight when it comes to sedation. Even at a half-dose, his legs get hilariously (and somewhat scarily) rubbery.

Yesterday, he spread his front feet wide and got the back legs awkwardly crossed a couple times as he teetered against the corner of his stall. Then he slobbered a big ugly drool just for good measure.

When the doc is done filing away, the horses tend to fade off into a snoring nap until the sedative wears off.

I felt like we should give them each a sticker and a new toothbrush when it was all over.



Written by johnwhays

November 11, 2017 at 10:07 am