I knew from the beginning that I really liked this silly little yellow horse. I knew that wasn’t going to be something that would hold us back. However, after the mess I got myself into with Image, I wasn’t planning on plugging my ears and going “la la la la he looks healthy so we’re good to go!” this time around.
|Munching with his new buddies last Monday.
So, as a prepurchase exam was non-negotiable this time around, I put a call into my vet shortly after bringing Simba home. Chad called me Wednesday and we promptly set up a time for Thursday for the vet check. I chewed my fingernails off in that short amount of time because I am nothing if not an anxiety attack waiting to happen. I honestly didn’t expect any catastrophic, “oh my god he needs to be sent back right this moment” revelations from Chad, but there was still a small part of me going “oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit”. The last time I didn’t expect any catastrophic revelations, I ended up having to put my horse down. So, I went into this expecting the worst…just in case.
I showed up to the barn a half hour early to make sure Simba was presentable…and thank God I did because dirty pony was DIRTY. D immediately informed me that he’s incredibly gross in his stall, and then happily remarked that she was glad SHE wasn’t the one grooming him. I can’t say I blame her — he’s going to be a tough one to keep clean and he’s going to drive me a bit batty with his affinity for smooshing his face into his poop. Ew, Simba. Just….ew.
He has settled down quite a bit since the move. I walked into the paddock and had a soft eyed, curious critter who quietly stuck his nose into his halter. He was still a bit dancey on the cross ties, but he wasn’t calling to his new friends or acting like the world was going to end because omg new place. He enjoyed the currying something fierce, though…which is a good thing because there was lots of currying.
I had just barely gotten through trying to clean up his belly when Chad pulled in. Simba danced uncertainly for a moment, eyes wide at the noise of Chad’s truck. He chilled out relatively quickly though, which I’m glad to see. He’s settling in more and more, so things aren’t wigging him out quite as much. He’s the type that needs a minute to just check things out before being okay with it. Once he’s wrapped his head around the object, he’s usually able to think things through.
Chad greeted D and I with a warm hug (d’awww!). Many people in the horse world don’t go “oh yay, I get to see my vet!” Vets usually mean vet bills. Unfortunately, there’s no way of getting around that…but I’m super lucky because holy crap do I love my vet! How many vets greet you with a hug, give your pony mints, call him cute pet names, spend a little time chatting, and then leave with a hug…all while doing a FANTASTIC thorough prepurchase exam? The man has every horsewoman in northern MA charmed to death, that’s for sure. He makes the prospect of handing over a bigass chunk of money a little easier to swallow!
Chad did all the regular stuff I’d expect at a vet check: checked temperature, heart rate, and breathing. Then, he went over him with the proverbial fine tooth comb. He picked up on a mild tenseness through his mid thoracic area on his back, a mild case of thrush in a front foot and a hind foot, and an old injury that had scarred over on his left hind close to the heel that I had missed entirely. Fortunately, none of that was alarming or deal breaking — just still to keep an eye on and/or treat, especially in the case of the thrush. Chad also noticed that his third eyelid on his left eye was showing, and told me to just be aware of it, as that was a popular place for a scary type of cancer to manifest itself. If caught early, it was no big deal…but if cancer starts there it can easily get into the bone. Lastly, and what concerns me most in the long run, is that Simba has very slight changes in his eye lenses that could be indicative of cataracts as time progresses. Right now, they aren’t inhibiting sight or causing any issues, but it’s something to keep in the back of my mind. That may cause issues down the road.
Chad then did flex tests, which he passed easily (and I nearly passed out because my fat, out of shape ass had to jog back and forth). He also gaited in hand with me a few times (squeeeeeeeee!!), which was lovely to listen to on the pavement. Chad let me catch my breath, before asking me if I was okay with him taking the lead line for a neuro exam.
I’m not sure if a neuro exam is status quo for most prepurchase exams, but I was really happy Chad did one. It was borderline fascinating to see Simba’s responses, because they were SO different from Image’s responses. I now know just how neuologically unsound Image was in comparison. Thankfully, Simba showed no neurological deficiency and gave all the right answers to Chad’s questions.
He handed Simba back to me, and then nonchalantly asked if I could put him through his paces under saddle. Oh, was I glad that I had thrown on my breeches and had my boots in the car! I was hoping out maiden ride was going to be a little more trails, a little less going in circles, but OH MY GOD I WAS GONNA RIDE MY PONY!
Ride I did! I was so proud of that funny little yellow horse. He has settled quite a bit since moving to D’s (though he’s still spinning circles in his stall at night; we’re hoping that settles down eventually as well) and didn’t even flinch when I mounted up. Admittedly, I’m still a little wary of those first thirty seconds in the saddle…I keep waiting for the horse to explode underneath me. I’m hoping I work myself out of that, but it may be something that follows me forever.
I walked him up and down the driveway, and I had a ball of electricity underneath me. I wouldn’t call him ready to explode, but he was definitely tense. He didn’t offer to spook (though the one corner up by the house was snort-worthy) at anything on the driveway, but his “forward” button was a bit sticky. I was wearing my clunky winter boots that didn’t offer much flexibility, and my stirrups were off kilter, so I was having my own issues too. Regardless, he softened to the bit when I asked and listened to me when I asked firmly for movement.
|Fuzzy yellow ears!!
He did do one funny little hop that had me laughing out loud — from the driveway to the backyard there is a small grass path between the horse fence and a rock wall. This was, apparently, TERRIFYING and needed to be jumped through. We walked through it calmly on the way back, but that little hop was amusing!
We did circles in the backyard and Chad observed his movement. Thankfully, he saw nothing and I felt nothing while having a couple of discussions with him. He is definitely not fond of doing any sort of ringwork. It’s not fun and he has to use his body and pay attention…so he’s a little resistant and a bit defiant. He didn’t pull any jerky moves and didn’t retaliate when I got after him, but I’m going to miss having a ring to use when we need to do some real schooling. Trying to work with him on an almost flat but not quite totally flat area when I’m out of shape and my balance isn’t perfect makes me a little nervous — no need for horse and rider to end up on the ground!
Chad said that he didn’t see anything troubling, so I hopped off and gave Simba a hug. He didn’t buck me off, and that’s a big reason to celebrate after nearly eating dirt almost every time I rode Image. I think there was only once we were able to walk off without him exploding! Simba looked a bit perplexed at the whole ordeal, but he didn’t put a foot wrong the entire time…being poked and prodded for a full two hours was not his idea of fun, but he tolerated it very well and made me a proud mama.
Chad left shortly after that, and D gave me a hug, congratulating me — this was the final real hurdle before I could really start calling Simba mine. I allowed myself to open my heart just a little bit more once it was clear that he was a happy, healthy pony…and now, it was just time to tackle the very first trail ride to totally seal the deal! Fortunately, I got to do just that this past Saturday, but I feel like this entry is long and boring enough…so stay tuned! 😉