Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jaime, Warrior Mare

On Dec. 17, 2008 we finally succeeded in trimming 36-year-old Jaime’s hooves. We got Jaime 9 years ago when her owner died. She had spent all of her life, since she was three months old, in the company of cows. She was halter broke, but totally untrained in any other way.

Whenever we tried to trim her overgrown hooves she would throw herself on top of us, willing to commit suicide and take us all down with her before she would ever submit to a trimming. This tough old mare is still beautiful – my favorite color, dappled mahogany bay. She glistens with health. Only her dentist knows she has five teeth missing, as she eats very well indeed. Other than the sway in her back you would never guess she was that old.

The only health issue she ever had was an impaction colic that took four days to pass. We turkey basted mineral oil into her mouth, which she allowed us to do (sick horses are almost always submissive when they feel badly). She sucked down buckets of apple cider as she refused to drink water at that time. On the fourth day she passed a dried out, brick-sized lump of manure and was back to her old self. In those four days she stood in the corner of her stall like a rock, never groaned, never rolled on the floor, never showed any outward signs of the turmoil going on in her tummy. Tough old mare!

I had pretty much decided that if the old girl didn’t want her feet trimmed, so be it. I could barely stand to look at her, though. I felt everyone thought I was neglecting her. So, we tried one more time.

Our vet, Dr. Brett Gaby of Essex Equine in Bolton, came and gave her a tranquilizer and went to work. That old gal, barely conscious and drooling, still put up such a fight - rearing first, then sinking down on top of us - that I feared for us all. I found myself leaning on Dr. Graby as he tried to trim. The poor man was supporting the weight of both me and the horse. He gave her another dose of the tranquilizer.

The battle continued. At one point as she started to sink again, we let her do so. I jumped on her head and held her down. Dr. Gaby had to extract himself and his tools from under her, but she was down and was going to stay there, by golly!

For the next hour I sat on her head and Dr. Gaby trimmed all four of her hooves while she lay flat on the floor. She tried to get up a few times and Dr. Gaby had to step quickly amidst flailing legs. Finally, the job was done!

We let Jaime get up. Her tongue was hanging out on the left side of her mouth, dried out, and covered with bedding. That meant she had been unconscious, but even in her sleep she had fought us!

Dr. Gaby’s only complaint through all that hard work was “this is a very awkward position for hoof trimming.” Thank you, you wonderful man! I add one more hero to my list. Thank you!

On another note…

A friend whom I haven’t seen in ten years called me from Florida and said, “Nina, I can’t believe it – you’re famous!!” Well, in this day and age it doesn’t take much to be famous. Too bad I’m not rich, too. Any you may quote me.


P.S. Our latest wishlist items: portable fence panels, a round pen, surveillance camera, and a video camera. It's OK with us if any of these items are used. Thanks for any help you can provide.