Friday, July 30, 2010

A better horse

Not quite six months ago, my appaloosa was diagnosed with EPM & has been undergoing treatment, which from my side consists of 2 hours no-food supervision before she gets a tube of paste shot down her throat.  Earlier in the process I decided I was not going to jam things at her, yank her around, etc.  Time is a luxury I DO have & so if it takes another 20 minutes to get her to let me inject the paste, so be it.  Also, I was hoping she would "get it" & learn to accept it.

She did learn & fast.  My riding instructor (who is halflingers all-the-way when it comes to her own preference) said of another student who could not stand the appaloosa he had been working with that the problem with appies & riders is the one that thinks he has all the brains really doesn't.  To my stupification, same guy agreed saying that the appie was just too stubborn.  I looked at M*******, she looked at me & I knew she wasn't talking about the horse.

Becca came here when her people were getting divorced.  But that was not the whole story.  Husband wanted to sell Becca but wife refused to hand over her papers making her all but worthless, market-wise.  Husband beat the wife & sent her to the hospital (not necessarily cause & effect, this is just a timeline, well I'm sure she went to the hospital because of the beating but I don't know if he beat her because she wouldn't help him sell the horse).  While wife was in hospital, husband stalled Becca & neglected to feed her; we did not know if she would make the trip from Deland to our place & when she did I was feeding her 1/4 cups of grain 5-6 times a day so as not to overwhelm her system & throw it into shock.

She arrived here with two things:  her name was Rebel & a blanket patterned like a Confederate flag was over her to hide just how bad things were.  The blanket went in the trash, without ceremony & her name slowly migrated from REB to REBECCA.  A change had to be made anyway as we were already shifting a RED to REDBUD & we could not have a REB & a RED.  On our place, horses come when they are called.  I don't mean this in a my-way-or-the-highway way, it just is that sooner or later they catch on "hey she means me & when I get there, I get a treat".

The last canister of paste has been opened; it is almost 1/2 gone.  Every morning, after her confinement, I glide a full tube along her cheek, turn at the jaw & rotate the open end into her open mouth.  We do this without a lead rope, halter or restraint of any kind.  Becca has put some weight back on, although she does seem to still have trouble swallowing.  Maybe four days into the treatment, I was confident no one was going to bump her & knock her over, as she seemed to be keeping her balance better. At six weeks into the process she started holding her head up & nickering when she was moved onto pasture away from the others.  Last month, she started running to the barn at feeding time again.  She is more herself every week & I am quite sure she wants more time out on the green, green grass. 

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