Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's not a crisis, it's slapstick

Sunday my lovely husband came out to the barn where I board Maiden and fixed my stall door that was sticking.  The boarding situation is such that we need to do all the repairs ourselves because the owners are just not capable of doing repair type things.   My door was not opening or closing without me leaning over and picking it up from the bottom and pulling it and that just wasn't working for me any more.

While he was working on the door I had pushed away a bunch of the shavings in Maiden's stall and had a pair of metal clamps (there's probably a name for them but I just called them "the clamper thingies") that I was using to try and pull up some of the rubber mats so I could dig out some of the old, soiled (read: covered in pee) shavings and uneven debris from wet, rotten wood that was under them.  After I finished doing that I tried pulling one of the rubber mats over to get rid of the crack between it and the other rubber mat (where soiled shavings kept sneaking in to lodge under the mats).  But it was so heavy and so lodged into it's spot that the metal clamper thingies ended up slipping right off when I pulled hard enough and I flew backwards and landed on my back in a pile of "soiled" shavings.  Yuck.  My husband yelled down from the ladder, "What are you doing?!" To which I (a little cranky because I was lying in pee-soaked shavings) yelled back "Don't yell at me!" (he wasn't actually yelling at me but didn't sound as compassionate as I preferred),  to which he said, "I've got enough going on up here I can't deal with your crisis down there," to which I pointed out, "This is not a crisis, it's slapstick."

After all is said and done the door works well and the floor of the stall is cleaner.   Unfortunately, none of that mattered to Maiden today because she wasn't feeling well. I was supposed to have a lesson working on how to help her move laterally to strengthen her back, but as I was on my way to the barn, I got a text from Trainer K saying that Maiden had been lying down out in the turn-out paddock and was pawing in an uncomfortable way when it was time to come in.  So, no lesson for us.

I spent the morning trying to listen to her heart rate (but it wasn't until the last time I tried that I was able to really hear it) and taking her temperature and basically watching her to see if she showed signs of colic.  We've got two other horses at the barn who have fevers and stomach problems so we wanted to be ultra  careful and if this was something catch it before it turned into anything too serious.

The first time I took her temperature she pooped out the thermometer and she was a little pissed off when I stuck it back in.  The trick with taking a horse's temperature is you have to tie a string to the thermometer and clip it to their tail, otherwise they can clamp their tail down and lose the thermometer inside of them.  Yuck.  Also, their butt just happens to be very close to their back legs so it's still a little unnerving for me to take a horse's temperature. And I'm certainly not going to be the one to try to fish it out if the horse uses their tail to clamp it in too far.

It turned out her heart rate was too high (maximum should be 44 beats per minute and she was at 52) and her gums were so pale that it didn't really work to try and test for capillary refill.  I asked Trainer K what it means if a horse's gums are so pale you can't even test for capillary refill and she said, "It means you're trying to give me a heart attack, aren't you?"  So, she texted the vet who was far away with her patients for the day and she said to watch Maiden to see if anything changes for the worse and if so call her partner if it did.

We fed her hay in small quantities and walked her around and checked her heart rate a couple more times.  I tried to check her capillary refill but she still had pretty pale gums.  Trainer K said she seemed dehydrated so I cleaned her water buckets and gave her warm water because I was told they like warm water when it's cold out and sure enough she drank a lot of it which was good.  We decided to take her temperature again so I pulled her out of her stall and held her while Trainer K tried to put the thermometer in and this time Maiden had reached her limit with pokes and prods and she bucked as soon as the thermometer hit her butt and then shot out with her back legs.

Then I did something that later surprised me when I thought back on it, I said, "Here, let me do it." Normally, in situations like that I always want Trainer K to do the hard stuff even if it is my horse.  But at that moment I forgot that I usually wimp out and want her to do it if she's there and found myself thinking, "Crap - I don't want her getting hurt because my horse is being bitchy. If anyone should be putting themself in danger with my horse it should be me."  Later in the day I looked back on that being my first reaction to Maiden acting up and I felt kind of proud of myself for not immediately thinking "Aaack! You deal with it! You're the one who knows more than me!"  As it is, thankfully, she did not kick me and she did not have a fever.  Eventually, her heart rate went down to 34 beats per minute and she seemed back to normal.  So, hopefully whatever it was passed.

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