Monday, April 4, 2011

Of Vets, Mules, and Shooting Ranges

Saturday was our every-other-year dental/vet check. The appt. was scheduled for 8:30 am. The horses had not been trailered anywhere since I don't remember when...

We had hooked up the trailer on Friday night. I was up early to feed the horses and make us breakfast. We had just enough time to brush them up a bit and load up. Jessie loaded very well. She didn't jump in the trailer with glee and enthusiasm, but it wasn't a fight.

Our vet is about 15 minutes away and we were a little early. I was in talking to one vet, when the other one came in and said, let's do this. I walked out to the trailer and Dusty was already out. The vet tech was unloading Jessie and as soon as she opened the divider Jessie went blowing out the back of the trailer. Good thing she was on the tie ring and the lead rope just slipped all the way through. Jessie scraped her left gaskin on something coming out. It didn't look too bad. I took her from the vet tech and we proceeded to load and unload a couple of times before heading off to the waiting pen. The tech apologized and I told her it wasn't her fault and that I should have Jessie trained better than that.

The dental work went well. The two year plan is working . There were "points" on their teeth but not sores or cuts in their mouths. Dusty got a sheath cleaning. They both got vacs and we put them in holding pens until they woke up a bit. I had my camera but didn't have the heart to take Jessie's pic while she was in the dental contraption. She looked so vulnerable.

We were hanging out at the vets playing with the hospital dog and looking at a new foal and a women had brought a mule (or donkey, I still can't keep track of the difference) in to be gelded. They said we could watch and I jumped on that. It had been years since I watched a surgery. They had the mule (we'll go with that, it's easier to spell) out on the ground. The tech held one back hoof with a rope leaving the target area exposed. It was an older mule and there was a lot of fatty tissue. Both doctors had gloved up and were tying things off when they realized they needed the "emasculator" which was still in its sterile wrap. I got to open it up and hand it to them in a sterile manner has if thirty five years had not passed since the last time I had done that.

They finished up and our horses were ready, so we loaded them up and headed home. We left the trailer hooked up in the hopes the weather held for a river ride.

Sunday morning was cool and cloudy and we grabbed an extra jacket before loading and heading for the river. Once there, it was a beautiful day - the skies had cleared and there was a nice, cool breeze. Much of the ground was soft and we did a lot of trotting a loping at every opportunity. Dusty was having issues eating grass and Ranae would lope him every time he took a bite. He was quite sweaty an hour into our ride. Ranae was enjoying loping the single track trail along the river.

We really didn't have any plan on where we wanted to go and finally decided to head out to the restaurant about 5 miles away. Most of the trail is along the river, except for about the last half mile. We needed to ride along an asphalt road with a good shoulder. The restaurant was a quarter mile past the Highway Patrol's Club room, which also houses their shooting range. We had ridden by this before and had never seen anyone there. Sunday they were having target practice. The road goes up a bit and the shooting range is down in a little hollar. The firing area was no more than 100 feet off the shoulder. Jessie is a big sissy on these rides and feels, because she still has potential DNA to pass on, that Dusty should ALWAYS go first at anything that has even the slightest potential of being dangerous. Dusty wasn't buying it and, as I explained to her, since we were the ones who had done so much de-sensitizing, we should go first. We had Ranae and Dusty move back about 30 feet. That seems to be the distance where they stop feeding on each others' anxiety. Jessie started to plod ahead, very slowly at first. The gun went off and I could feel her flinch under me, but she kept moving. There were a couple of more shots right as we walked by. Her ears were up and she was attentive and calm.

At the restaurant, Ranae hadn't brought a halter, so we took off one of her saddle strings and tied Dusty up with that. He could have broken it with one little tug, especially since there was a luscious, green weed looking to get eaten right behind him, but he didn't.

There were a lot more shots being fired on our way back past the shooting range. They were using the rifle side of the range too and all the gunshots sounded a little different. She was a little more jiggy about the whole thing, but we were headed home and that made it all worth it. Once we got back home they got a bath and some hay and the afternoon off...
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