I have some mild catching up to do.
And since this is primarily a blog about my horse adventures, I’ll save the dog stuff for the bottom of this post where only the hardcore readers dare to get to. Especially on these long posts.
On Thursday, I went up to the parent’s house after work. It was my last night with Tucker before his surgery and was actually not raining, so I thought I might take him to the barn one last time since he won’t be there for a while now. I sat around pondering taking him for a while and decided against taking both dogs since I’d probably be there alone. It’s just hard to keep an eye on the dogs and the pony at the same time since I don’t trust Smokey not to stomp them into the ground if I walk everyone together.
So I left the pooches with their very accommodating grandparents and went to the barn to see the grey child. He was pretty happy to see me and came to me in the pasture. He enjoyed his grooming and was more than willing down to the arena. The panels were moved aside, so I took advantage of this and made him longe with the panels open and on both sides of them to get a feel for how he’d react. He did pretty well, all things considered. With the amount of time he’s been having off due to rain, etc, he paid me a little attention and only tried to dip to the outside of the panels a few times.
He also did quite well maneuvering around both in and outside of the panels. I was happy with it, for the most part. I also worked on picking up his front feet. He’s finally starting to give in to me holding on to them! He didn’t ruin my shoulders this time, so I can tell we’re getting closer to being tolerant with them. I’m scared to start working on the back feet, but we’ll get there.
As we left the arena, I had something happen that has never happened to me before. Smokey refused to leave the arena.
To LEAVE the arena, people.
It took a few minutes and several times backing up and moving a few steps forward for me to get him to walk back up to the feed barn. What a nutjob.
We changed halters and went back down to graze for a few minutes before I turned him out. You’d think he would know by now that going back to the feed barn means he gets to eat some munchies. Silly horse.
This is what it looks like when he won’t leave the grass either.
No Smokey update for Friday. If I recall, it rained again (shocking) and I did some yard work. I had to drop Tucker off for his surgery early in the morning, so I was down to the singular crazy dog by herself and I didn’t want to risk her insanity at the barn. She’s too much of a wimp to go alone. They did Tuck’s surgery around lunchtime and gave me a call to let me know he was recovering well and I could pick him up the next morning.
I got up to go garage sale-ing with my mom and took Belle with me. There were a couple interesting sale, including one that had three English saddles and a western Rebel Brand saddle (by Circle Y) that I wanted, but really don’t need. It was in decent condition, but still $100. Not really worth it, in my opinion. Maybe next time.
I took the dogs up to the folks house for grandma to babysit while I visited Smokey.
We had a really productive session and he was being not only VERY good, but very adorable and affectionate. He came to me all the way from down in the woods when I called to him. He had to jump a stream and a ditch to get to me and didn’t hesitate. I love that guy.
He enjoying being groomed again and stared at the other horse being tacked up at the barn, but stood still for me for the most part.
I like when mom makes me feel pretty. Don’t tell anyone.
We headed down to the arena and I closed up the round pen since I wanted to ride him and didn’t want to find out he wanted to go fast today without any real supervision. I hopped up on him first since sometimes he acts like he is dying of exhaustion when I wait until later.
He moved forward for me! On Cue!
Now, he did walk over to the part of the arena where there’s some grass growing into it and tried to eat it, but he moved away from that too (with quite a bit of encouragement). He’s such a smarty pants. I knew he knew what I wanted all along. We walked around the round pen a little. He still ducks into the panels and fence from time to time and doesn’t listen much to my legs or hands. BUT we are walking forward and we’re kinda doing it where I tell him to!
Proof that we can move forward!
I was so happy, that I hopped off and gave him a [huge hug and a] break. We did some ground maneuvering and I longed him a little, then I hopped on him again. I’m hoping that this means I can start spending more time on him and less time on the ground with him in the coming sessions. I think it would do us both some good!
I spent some time trying to pick up his feet again and to my surprise and elation, he was much better about it! I even got to hold his right hoof in my hands for a few short seconds. I wasn’t asking for much, so I let him have this as a victory. We’ll extend the time he has to hold them up longer and longer each time. He pawed a few times with both hooves but nothing nearly as bad as he used to. More and more progress!
He walked around somewhat on cue this second time and got tons of praises and lots of breaks to let him know he was doing good. I only had to pull on him a little bit on the way out of the arena this time and we walked right over to the grass to graze in hopes that would encourage him to come out of the arena like a normal horse. I let him get a mouthful of grass and then walked him down to look at the big pasture and the big arena where there was a lesson going on. He did pretty well mostly just staring at everything and snorting from time to time.
I did good things, now can I nap?
He really didn’t want to walk back on the gravel (which, I’m beginning to suspect, is why he won’t come out of the arena) so we spent about 10 minutes IN THE RAIN tugging on each other until I asked one of the other girls there to grab a carrot out of my tack cabinet. When Smokey heard someone in the feed barn, he decided to come. He got the carrot once we got up to the feed barn and then I promptly took him back out to his pasture and turned him out. All in all, a great session. I got completely soaked at the end, but it was worth it to see him be so good and do a few things we haven’t done before.
TUCK-PDATE (get it?)
I dropped Tucker off at 7am and the tech answered a few of my questions for me before taking him back. This vet has been great. Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Sandy Springs is not only super convenient for me, but has been a total treat for both of us. Staff is on site 24 hours and everyone has been super friendly and great with Tuck even though he can be kind of a pain. I didn’t even cry when I dropped him off (though, truth be told, it was pretty close).
Mom and I did some shopping in the morning/afternoon and then it was time to pick up Tucker. We got him around 3 (he hadn’t wanted to pee while there and they were monitoring him). Poor little guy is shaved all up his back right leg, partially onto his back (for the epidural) and looks ridiculous. He was, however, still recovering from the drugs and pretty cracked out. On the plus side, he was using the leg more than he had before the surgery, so that was good. The incision also didn’t look nearly as brutal as I thought it would and he just has about 5 or 6 stitches in it. There’s a ton of bruising and some swelling, but all in all he wasn’t too worse for wear.
I layed on the floor with him and watched tv for the rest of the afternoon and evening while he dozed on and off and whined every time he moved, which was frequently since he was so uncomfortable. Poor guy.
Warning: The below slideslow isn’t for the squimish. It gets closer in on the surgical site as you progress. Just keep that in mind. For those not as squimish, it’s really not that bad.
Tuck was looking and seemed to feel much better. He was walking on the leg more times than not and seems to understand that he can’t do a whole lot of anything on it. Bruising looks to be getting a little worse (doesn’t it always before it gets better?) and the swelling was way down from Saturday. Leash walking has been good for him and he likes to sit and chill more often than not. He’s still getting significant pain pills, so hopefully he’ll keep quiet for the next several weeks.
Once again, this isn’t for the squemish, but it’s really not that bad. He’s just really bruised!