Monday, July 25, 2011

When did I stop being so squeamish?

When I was a kid I was super squeamish.  So much so that even having one of those anatomy manequins in our fifth grade class was very upsetting for me.  I did live through cadaver anatomy in massage school but it was kind of hard, and it took some energy to not ick out on the whole thing. 

Today was a good day not to be squeamish.  But I'll get to that in a second.  I have not been able to reach Tuff Toad's current owner so I left her a message saying I want to buy Toadie and hopefully that is still the plan.  I rode Girl for a bit this morning because my daughter was at daycamp and T. is out of town and couldn't ride her in her lesson today.  Then I brought Toad out to groom her and lunge her.  I waited until we were in the arena to put on her cavesson over her halter which probably wasn't a good idea because she wanted to just run around like a crazy girl and buck and gallop instead.  But Trainer K. had a lesson going on so that was not an option.  

So, we had our first run-in of bad behavior where she decided she didn't want the cavesson on.  I got it over her nose and almost over one ear before she jerked her head away and threw it off.  I picked it up and put it back on and she tried it again but this time I steadied her head before she could throw it off. I figured my prime objective at that point was not to put it all the way on her but to keep her from succeeding in throwing it off again.  I managed to get it over one ear so she couldn't throw it off her head as easily, but as soon as I reached up to put it over the other ear she'd lift her head up high and I couldn't reach it anymore.  Since of course, I am 5'4" and her shoulders are 5'4" so the top of her head is over 6'4" when she raises it up - which I can't reach at all.   This went on for I don't know, five or ten minutes and I was thinking how pathetic it was that I had no idea how to deal with it.  So, I just tried various ways to gently coerce her into letting me get rest of it over her second ear while calmly saying, "You can put the cavesson on, or you can go back to your stall. Those are your only choices." Just to keep myself focused.  Finally, I figured out a way to unhook part of the top strap and sneak it over the top of her head before she realized what I was doing and it was already in the hook when she caught on and tried to jerk her head to throw it off. And she immediately submitted and looked at me like, "Damn! I thought for sure I was going to win this one!"  Then she did great with her lunging session.  Except when she got too excited at one point on the canter and slipped and almost fell, which spooked her and sent her into a big bucking fit half way around the circle.  Other than that she did very well.  I was once again impressed with how well she did.

After I put her back in her stall I heard Girlfriend coughing and it started to sound worse so I checked on her and she was starting to foam at the mouth which is a bad sign if a horse is choking.  I watched her for about five minutes and it seemed to get worse as opposed to resolving, but I had to go pick up my daughter from camp so I asked Trainer K. to keep an eye on her and ran off to pick up my daughter calling my vet on the way.  My vet got to the barn just after I got back.  By then Girl wasn't coughing anymore and looked like she was fine, except for still having lots of green slime oozing out of her nose and mouth.

Whatever was choking her was stuck in there hard enough that the muscles had seized up around it and she needed a sedative to loosening her up.  Then the vet had to put a hose up her nose and down her throat to force what was choking her down her throat.  She had to go through this a few years ago when she choked too, but this time it caused a nose bleed.  I remembered the vet telling me a few years ago that it could so I wasn't too shocked.  What I was shocked by was how much blood there was.  Like little kids who get nose bleeds, horses noses also bleed a lot, they just have a lot more blood which give the "noses bleed a lot" a whole new meaning.  Horse blood clots are also really, really big which I found morbidly fascinating.  It took a long time for her nose to stop bleeding and I had to get a broom to brush the clots down the drain because the force of the hose was not strong enough to wash them down adequately because they were so big. 

At one point I was marveling at just how much blood there was especially around the time that Girlfriend snorted and sprayed blood all over my vet which made her look like a character in a slasher movie.  I had a moment of wondering when it was I stopped being so squeamish.  I think it is all part of growing up.  That and while we were standing around waiting for the bleeding to stop I was talking to one of the vet's interns about how it is not as upsetting on an instinctual level when it's bright red like from a nose bleed because it's very shallow, surface blood and on a primal level we know it is not a serious injury.  Like if it's really dark red or god forbid somewhat blue that's really upsetting because it's really deep, unoxygenated blood.  Still,  I was exhausted after the whole thing and was relieved after I finally got all the blood washed down the drain and washed off the walls.  Luckily, we were in the wash room (that was a good call!) and I was wearing a rain coat because it was gray and rainy today.

On a more pleasant note, I finally started dipping my toe into researching what happened to the land that my great uncles homesteaded with my grandmother in Dupuyer, MT.  My mom went out there about ten years ago with some relatives that live up there in Great Falls, or somewhere kind of near Dupuyer, but she doesn't remember where the actual homestead is.  And the relatives who took her there have since died.  My mom's cousin/adopted sister who is the daughter of my great uncles just passed away and that really got me wondering if it was her land? If it was, I bet her grandson/my cousin would want it.  It just seems like if my great uncles went through so much effort to prove up on the land over one hundred years ago we should keep it in the family and hang on to it.  I know it's still completely vacant and what's left of the old house and barn are still there.  But it's not as easy as I thought to try and find those records - at least not online.  I tried some historic archives for land use for Montana and came up with nothing.  I think the best plan would be to just take a road trip out to Dupuyer to research it.  The trick now is trying to make time to do that.  And of course I'd want to go to Billings to visit my friends there.  And then we'd be close enough to go to Yellowstone.  Aaaah ... road trips.  How to find the time is definitely the challenge.

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