Eye Booboos, Touchy Hind Ends, and Nosebleeds

This week has been…strange, to say the least. Most of you know that I am a Massachusetts native, born and raised. I’ve never been one to visit the city often — I don’t like being surrounded by so many people — but when the news broke at work on Monday that the Boston Marathon finish line had been bombed,  my heart broke into a million different pieces. I cried the entire drive back to where I was staying in northern MA. You see this stuff on the news — “Jeez, that’s terrible, those poor people, ect”…but you’re so far removed, because it’s another state or another country or another continent, that it’s a different feeling of empathy. No tragedy is worse than another, but when it’s in your own backyard, the heartache is very different. Then when Friday’s insanity unfolded, we all sat on the edge of our seats, watching live streams of the manhunt. I live about 20 minutes from Watertown, MA, so knowing that this kid was running around so close to home made me feel sick to my stomach. 

Of course, that sick to my stomach feeling may have also been the bug I ended up catching that had me flat out for two days. I’m going for bloodwork this week or next week, because being sick all the time really, really sucks. 

Between house sitting, getting sick (hmph), and the insanity in Boston, I was just not “with” it enough to go to the barn this week. I did a lot of sleeping, and a lot of rewatching of Castle. I finally felt mentally and physically well enough to get my butt out to the barn today, and I’m glad I did, despite the fact that a whole new set of (kind of strange) issues popped up.

I went with only the idea to fuss over him and play with the toys I bought at the dollar store. I may or may not have come upon foam pool noodles and hula hoops. Ahem. So, of course, he must have known this…because he was a dirty mess when I got the the barn. A dirty mess with an odd bite mark right under his eye. Bah!

It looked far too small to be horse, but much too big to be an insect bite. For all I know, it’s just teeth-shaped and he smacked his head on a tree or something. Regardless, I doctored it up (and he was unhappy, but cooperative) and put some EquiFit AG Silver on it. The stuff works wonderful on fresh wounds. Once I got that fixed up, I stood back and tried to figure out a plan of action for getting him semi-clean. Warm weather, PLEASE COME NOW. My horse needs a bath!

I had tied him outside in the sun, as it was too damn cold in the barn when I arrived. I spent about 20 minutes out there, fussing over him and getting him clean-ish. During this entire 20 minutes, he showed no signs of being tense and/or upset about anything. I picked out his tail and ran brushes all over his hind end. I gave him pats and scratches all over that area. He snoozed quietly and happily leaned into forehead and ear rubs. 

It wasn’t until I went to move him into the barn so I could get my saddle on him, that something flipped in his brain. When I pass behind him (or any horse I know well enough), I run my hand along his side and over his butt while I walk, giving him more than enough time to register that I’m walking around his hind end. He started off snoozing as I put my hand on his barrel, ran it down his side, and hit about hip area.

His head shot up and he scooted forward, tail tucked. I stood there for a moment, trying to figure out what had happened. I don’t *think* I zapped him, because I didn’t feel anything, but it was possible. I shrugged, and clipped his leadline on. It wasn’t until I went to run my hand down his side and rump again that I realized I had a small issue.

He darted away from me, the whites of his eyes showing. I circled him tightly and kept my hand on his rump until he stopped moving. I had to do this a few times before he would stand, extremely tense and shaking, while I laid a hand on his rump.
Well. That’s special.

I cross tied him and experimented a bit. He was NOT okay with me anywhere his hind end for about ten minutes, on either side. He relaxed marginally after some quiet time with me just hanging out back there with my hand resting on his croup area. He never offered to kick or do anything malicious — he just wanted nothing to do with me being anywhere near his back end — do not pass Go, do not collect $200 dollars, no touchies, no nothin’. 

I palpated his back end all over once he was standing quietly, and he didn’t flinch away from me as if he was in pain. His muscles were all rock solid with tension. He seemed more fearful than anything else, but I hadn’t done anything new or different with him that morning, outside of cleaning up the wound under his eye. I brought him out of the barn and lunged him briefly to check his movement, and he wasn’t off in his hind end. I ran my hands down both legs (no reaction to this, by the way) and felt no heat or odd bumps. He had his normal amount of energy and responsiveness. Very, very strange. 

I did some cookie stretches with him, which he always appreciates (yay food!) and saddled him up. The saddle was going to be nothing more than a host for the noodles to hang off of. To be honest, I didn’t expect a response out of him. He honestly doesn’t care about anything like tarps, baby pools, weird colored things on the ground, balloons, ect. I figured it would just be fun for me to dress him up in crazy things.

Aaand it was. He didn’t bat an eye at the hula hoops around his neck, the noodles tied to his saddle, or his tarp cape. He literally did not care. Okay, he probably cared a little because I was laughing like a hyena and he probably thought I was goddamn insane, but whatever. I lunged him very lightly with his getup on, laughed some more, and called it a day. 

World’s most tolerant horse. Hah!

He didn’t mind when the tarp was flapping over his butt, or the noodles tapping him anywhere on his body. However, when I ran my hand down his side and came close to his hip, he spun away from me. So, he got to spin in circles until he quit moving, and I backed off. It took him less time to just stand and accept my hand on his rump this time, but he was still completely unhappy with the situation. Once he relaxed, I brought him back in and pulled the saddle off. He hadn’t even broken a sweat, so I spent some time brushing him out with a soft brush, clipping his muzzle and bridle path, and cleaning up his fetlocks. He fell asleep again. 

I took him out to the ring where there are chairs, and set him up with the bran mash treat I had brought him from work. He smacked and slurped happily, making a mess of himself (and me!) with the soupy mash. I enjoyed his happiness, until he tried to share it with me by pressing his wet, sloppy nose to my cheek as I was idly scrolling through Facebook on my phone. The look on his face was undoubtedly mischievous. Head saves your neck, pony!

Thanks for sharing, Image…!

I threw a fly mask on him to protect his booboo from as much dirt as possible, and turned him back out. Now, I had tossed some toys into the paddock with Gus and Rodger for fun, and had to pick them up. I had just thrown a hula hoop over the fence, when I turned around to see my horse’s muzzle covered in blood. What the frak!?

I approached his shoulder calmly and reached for his fly mask. He gave me the proverbial middle finger and wheeled away from me. So, a five minute impromptu round pen session went down until he decided running in circles was no fun, and let me catch him. I groaned when I realized it was coming from inside his nose. Insert many uncouth cusses here.

I brought him into the barn and cleaned it up. Wherever he was bleeding from in his left nostril seemed to have stopped, and there was really only a tiny bit of blood, seeing as horses are such large animals. I cleaned him up, inspected his nostril, and saw nothing. I texted Lexi and did some Googling on my phone while I waited for her response. He seemed no worse for the wear, only annoyed at being yanked out of the paddock again. Lexi texted me back to ask if he had been rough housing with Gus, and I realized that he had. He and Gus tend to play bitey face when I turn Image back out into the paddock, complete with rearing and striking. They had been playing behind me when I was picking things up. With that in mind, I watched him for another five minutes, and turned him back out. Lexi is keeping an eye on him (well, more so than usual, anyway) and if it reoccurs, we’ve got an issue. I suspect Gus knocked him on the noggin when boxing with him — as does Lexi — but I’m glad she’s there to keep an eye on him.

Sigh. Horses?! Sometimes I wonder why we do this to ourselves, other than pure insanity. Of course, then I look at his adorable face and how he leans into me when I rub his head, and I grudgingly decide to continue being insane 😉

I’m headed back up tomorrow, as I stupidly left my camera at the barn (in my cushy camera backpack, thank GOD). He gets his feet done tomorrow as well, and despite the fact that I hate not being there, I’ve missed an insane amount of work because I’ve been so ill. 

Tomorrow’s another day…hopefully another day WITHOUT random injuries! 

One thought on “Eye Booboos, Touchy Hind Ends, and Nosebleeds

  1. LittleRider819 April 23, 2013 / 1:34 am

    So glad to hear that you were safe being so close to the bombing in Boston. I could not even begin to imagine how you were feeling. On a lighter note, jealous your horse is so careless with the “scary” stuff!


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