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April 25, 2014: Horse Care/Training: Hrimfara’s Big Day

I often wonder if I’m doing right by my horses. They live in a paddock and are self-trained. I would like for them to live in large pasture. And I’d like to work with a professional trainer/riding instructor. I also often wonder if all the time spent working with and attending to them is worth it. This has a been a huge endeavor time-wise. I don’t do much recreationally. And the costs are mind-boggling.

Then I have days like today, when for what seems like an altogether too short amount of time, I know that my decision to take on horses and attend to their every want, need, and desire, has been worth it. Today, Little Hrimmi (who is no

Doctor Wellington examining Hrimmi

longer that little) affirmed that I’m at least doing the right thing by her.

The day began with me getting her out of the pen, tying her to hitching post, and then brushing her. I also cleaned her feet. She munched down her mid-morning hay, as did Tinni, her day’s traveling companion. Pete and I then prepared to load the two horses into the trailer, Tinni first. Tinni hopped right in, while Hrimmi took a moment to assess the situation. It involved hopping up into the bed, which after a bit she did, tucking her two white legs under her like a show jumper. Pete didn’t tie her up. Rather, he shut the two partitions. Hrimmi resumed eating hay out of the hay bag.

It took about an hour to get to the Rockin H. Once there, we opened the trailer windows so that both horses could take in the view. There were lot of big horses in small, muddy paddocks, and as well, several Border Collies and Australian Shepherds running about. We momentarily left the horses and went over to where Dr. Wellington and his assistant Donna were tending to a pregnant cow. This took about 15 minutes. After, Dr. Wellington suggested that we move on to Hrimmi.

Dr. Wellington was extremely thorough, which indicated to me that he knows quite a bit about the various types of lameness, and how to detect probable causes. He quickly ruled out the possibility of their being a shoulder injury, by flexing and raising her front legs. As he told Pete and me, had Hrimmi raised instead of lowered her head, this would have indicated that the problem was in this area. He also, in feeling the knee, ruled out the possibility of a knee injury, saying that neither the left nor the right knee was swollen. He then had both Pete and Donna walk and trot Hrimmi out in front of him. This was so that he could see movement in all four legs. He then determined what I suspected, that she was short strided in her right, or off side.

The kindly veterinarian then did flexion tests on both front legs – first extending the legs, and then flexing them, by pulling them back, up and under. He again then had her trot out. If something had been amiss, she would have limped, which she did not. Next, Dr. Wellington checked for hoof abnormalities, while using a hoof tester, an instrument that looks like a set of pinchers. Hrimmi did show a bit of discomfort in her right front hoof.

Light bulbs began going off in our heads, for we all simultaneously surmised that perhaps the problem was hoof/sole related. It was then (also) that the lameness puzzle piece fell into place. Dr. Wellington, in one of his previous visits, had watched Raudi bang on the gate. I distinctly remember him saying to me that I must be giving my horses treats, to which I responded in the affirmative.

“I think she might have banged her hoof on the gate,” Dr. Wellington said, to which Pete and I immediately agreed. Yep, this made total sense to us all.

I have to say that Hrimmi was a model patient the entire time. She did neigh every so often, just to let the other horses know she was present, to which Donna remarked “They don’t care about you.” (As she said this, I got a glimpse of a horse that was lying down in the mud.)

We next prepared to load Hrimmi back up into the trailer. Donna, I noticed, stood close by, ready to give an assist if, say, Hrimmi decide that The Rockin H was her new home. This time around, our little filly went in even more readily. The partitions were latched, and the doors were closed. Hrimmi and Tinni both stood quietly, taking in the sights while we talked further with Dr. Wellington about how we might go about taking care of the gate problem.

We did this shortly after unloading and putting both horses back in the pen. We ended up putting foam on the cross pieces, and tape over the foam. For a bit, Hrimmi hung out and watched what we were doing, then she went to eat some more hay.

I am so very glad that Signy chose to give us Hrimmi. What more can I say?

Next: 115. 4/27/14: Church of Dog