Monday, April 4, 2016

Good Days and Bad Days

Saturday was not a good day with Tex.  Remember when he used to meet me at the gate and drop his head into the halter?  Yeah, me too.  He didn't do that on Saturday.  The message I got from him, loud and clear, was:

If you are only going to come into the pasture with that halter when you have a tube off goo to squirt in my mouth, I'm not interested.  

And, really, can you blame him?  In my defense, I worked late a few nights last week and by the time I got home there wasn't time to do anything but medicate him before dark.  And Saturday, my sciatic flared and I wasn't good for anything.  I didn't do anything all day long other than chores, and those were done slowly and painfully.

When I went into the pasture with the tube of goop in my back pocket, a couple cookies in my front, and his bowl of magnesium + sweet feed... he walked away.  He stood behind Flash, then he herded Flash, and just plain old wouldn't get near me.  I sent him away if he turned his back to me, but otherwise I just stood and watched, and waited.  I asked Brett to take Flash out of the pasture and, sure enough, with his herd mate gone, Tex was much more willing to be caught.  But, he was flinchy and distant -- and it bothered me.

Sunday, I loaded up on ibuprofen and was able to get around without too much pain.

Can I digress and say that getting old is not very much fun?  When I was younger, if I got hurt or tweaked something, I was back to normal in nothing flat and could usually just push through the pain to the other side.  Now it takes very little to cause a tweak or a pull and the pain lasts for eons.  Well, actually, it never completely leaves.  I know the sciatic pain is part of the injury I had when I came off Winston.  So, we get cautious; really, really cautious.  I like the person that I am on the inside better now than I did when I was young, but I'm not too thrilled with the packaging.

So, back to Sunday.  It was a gorgeous day.  I mean a GORGEOUS day.  Highs in the low 70s, sapphire skies, birds singing, geese conversing as they dug in the marshy part of the pasture... life felt pretty dang good.  I decided to spend some time with Tex and see if I could re-establish our bond.

I went into the pasture with nothing but the halter and pocket full of cookies.  He circled warily and then stopped at the far end.  He let me approach and gave me a sniff.

I don't smell ulcer meds.  You can stay.

We just stood for awhile and then I held the halter in front of him.  He dropped his nose a smidge.  I waited.  He dropped it some more and I slipped it onto his face.

We spent a long time under a tree; Tex grazed while I groomed him.  I did a couple Masterson releases.  He sighed and blew.

Then we wandered around looking for the tastiest grass growing around the barn.  He was relaxed, soft, affectionate.  I was very happy.

Meanwhile, Brett took out Flash, who was caked in mud, and gave him a bath.

I put Tex away first and he waited at the gate until Brett brought Flash back.

Fortunately, Tex only has two more days of paste left.  Until then, I'm going to make sure I don't limit my interaction with him to medicating.


  1. I believe that in circumstances like this the trust is a very fragile thing- like anyone who has been treated unfairly in the past. Also horses are not great at logic. But it sound to me like you did the right thing

  2. That would be a perfectly normal response, a polite way of saying, no thanks. My horses hate tubed medicines. A few days like Sunday, though, and Tex will be right back.

    1. Fingers crossed. I think he will come back too; but this whole process may take a lifetime.

  3. It will be a process of two steps forward, one step back. But every forward will take you a bit further, and at some point it is likely that the steps back will become smaller. Every forward is a deposit in the "trust bank".

  4. Harley will do that if I am short on time and only visit to medicate him (and we have been together nearly ten years. Your steps to give him the special time are good ones. Sorry about the pain. That must be terribly frustrating.

  5. I am having a sciatic flare-up right now... I am VERY tired of this.


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