Tag Archives: caring for horses

Lady's Leg

Since we’re practically bursting at the seams with our animal population, we had to move Lady from her stall to the patio to make some extra room for the new kids. The result of the move was a seriously injured Lady. 

What it looks like happened is she lay down in the night to sleep. When she stretched, her hoof went under the fence, which wasn’t a problem while she was on the ground. However, when she got up, it got stuck on one of the bars of the fence. She panicked and pulled up, and the bar went through the top of her foot and embedded itself about 2 inches into her nail. 

We heard her thrashing about around 6 am. I don’t think she had been stuck too long, maybe 15 minutes or so. When we came out to investigate, we were shocked she hadn’t screamed, because it looked pretty bad. My husband was feeling woozy just looking at it. 

I held Lady’s head, stroked her flank and talked to her throughout the whole ordeal while my husband cut the wires on the fence. That wasn’t enough to get the hoof out, so he had to use a saw and cut the bar several inches above where it entered her foot. Once that was cut, she could stand but still had this 6 inch metal bar in her foot. 

Ouch!

My husband tied a rope around one end and had my son pull straight up on it while he held down the hoof. In a few minutes, the bar was out and the wound was bleeding profusely. My son pulled so hard that when it came loose he gave himself a black eye. My husband also cut his arm on the wire in the process. Personal injuries aside, we distracted Lady with some alfalfa as my husband sprayed some “azul” antiseptic on the wound. Infection is something we definitely want to avoid. 

The Puppers wanted to help their big doggy friend (or at least that’s what we think they think the horses are) and tried to lick the wound. Since it already had some antiseptic on it, we didn’t want that. So Terry had to head to his doggy day care up the road (the backyard of my sister-in-law’s house) so the Puppers could be in our backyard since George and Terry still aren’t friends. 

Terry wasn’t thrilled to be alone in the dark up there, but desperate times call for desperate measures. 

The next day, my husband brought home a tetanus shot for lady. After reading the directions and understanding that we had to wait 21 days after the application para sacraficio (sacrifice), we headed out to administer the shot. As my husband is afraid of needles, he told me he’d cover Lady’s face and I would give the shot. Fine. I attached the needle and was all ready, but my husband didn’t think it was tight enough. He took the syringe from my hand and pressed the two sides together–ejecting all the medicine in the process. So much for the tetnus shot.

Looking a little thin there Lady!

She’s sad and depressed, but still up to her old mischief. She managed to unhook the latch on her restraint by pressing it against her food dish. Then casually wandered over to the barrel full of corn and popped the lid, helping herself to a cob or two. I watched her do this from the front porch. When I called my son to latch her restraint again, she lifted her hoof to him showing him her injury. She got two more cobs of sympathy corn from him. 

Still, she’s been off her feed lately and is looking positively scrawny. Fortunately, the wound in her foot hasn’t been infected and is starting to scab over. Poor Lady.

Red’s hamming it up for the camera!

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A Horse’s Best Friend

I thought I’d continue my little rant on friendship and Mexico with this touching story of equine friendship…

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Red has been quite the handful these past three months since he’s joined the Flores homestead. He isn’t contrary like Spirit or Joey were but he isn’t as friendly as Shadow was. He does what he wants and really doesn’t have a care in the world.

He and Lady have become bosom buddies. Yeah, he likes mom to be in his sights, but when Lady goes for a ride with my husband, he carries on until she returns. This past Sunday, my husband had the idea to take Lady on the yearly cabalgata (horse ride) to El Ojo de Agua en Medio a nearby town. Red was having none of that. It took nearly 20 minutes for my husband to sneak off. 

The friendship between the two is reciprocated by Lady as well. She is only just over two years old, so a relatively young mare. She doesn’t seem to mind when Red bugs her to have his back scratched or races around while she’s eating. 

The other night Lady was fussing in her stall so much that I got up to see what the issue was. I shined the lamp down onto the animal area from the front porch and saw her circling her stall in agitation. The goats believed that the sudden glow of the lamp was the circus spotlight and immediately began running in circles, jumping off the walls doing mid-air twists and generally making quite a show. 

Lady continued her anxiety until Red popped his head over the wall in the stall he shares with his mom Cookie to see what all the fuss was about. As soon as Lady saw Red, she calmed right down. 

My husband has been talking about selling one of our mares. Really, three horses are too many for the space constraints we have. He hasn’t decided whether Cookie or Lady will go. I think Red just might be more devastated at losing Lady then his mom after he’s been weaned. So perhaps he’s made the decision for us.

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Read more about our animal friendships!

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Joey goes bananas

As the supports for roof needed to be in place for 21 days and the roof was for Joey’s stall, Joey couldn’t occupy it. (See Joey’s room remodel) So, Joey had to be moved. Shadow was tethered in the car parking/food storage area, and Joey was given her stall. It hardly seemed fair to Shadow, but I have mentioned that Joey is my husband’s consentido (favorite) right?

Anyway, Shadow’s stall is not as solidly constructed, nor as finished as Joey’s stall even though she is a full year older. And Joey, well, is Joey, a bit nervy. He’s not into change at all. So this new arrangement had him up in arms.

My husband said it’s because his testicles have dropped early. Not having any experience with male horses before Joey, I had to look this phenomenon up. Apparently, a male horse’s testicles will descend, one at a time at anywhere from 18 to 24 months of age. As Joey will be 2 in July, he seemed to fall in the normal range of development. However, all the men in La Yacata have made comments about Joey’s balls and offer their congratulations to my husband, as if he is responsible for the miraculous feat or something. I’m surprised my husband hasn’t been handing out cigars. Whatever!

No one made a big fuss when Shadow had her first estrus cycle a few months ago. In fact, my husband was annoyed that now he’d have to keep a better eye on her or any stray donkey or stallion would get her pregnant. Machoism!

Whatever the reason for Joey’s nervousness, he wasn’t happy in his new stall. He’s always been flighty like Spirit had been. My husband sold Spirit for that very reason, but won’t think of being parted from his precious Joey.

So here’s what happened.

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The laminas (corrugated metal sheets) didn’t quite reach the end of the roof

Since the roof and the remaining laminas did not quite reach, my husband wanted to extend the laminas just a bit so that they would overlap, keeping the rain from coming in the gap. He and my son were up on the roof doing just that. Joey, in Shadow’s stall, must have thought the sky was falling. He went berserk and tried to leap out of the stall. The gate was too high for escape, so he ended up impaling himself on a rebar.

My husband and son rushed down to administer first aid. The wound was deep, and my husband was sure he’d have to put Joey down. He went for Azul (the vet named Blue) to see if anything could be done. Azul stitched up the wound, saying that neither the heart nor blood vessels were damaged, but it was a bad injury.

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Joey’s wound

Before stitching over the cuero (skin), he mashed a banana up and inserted it into the whole. He said that the banana will help the skin scar faster. I couldn’t find much information on the use of banana in wounds, but he’s had more than 20 years experience working with horses, so I suppose he knows what he’s doing.

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It’s only water, Joey!

Joey had to be tethered so that he couldn’t lay down and rip out the stitches. He wasn’t happy about that. He was given penicillin and tetanus shots. My husband tried to wash the wound with mata de toro, but Joey wasn’t having any of that. He wouldn’t let anyone bandage his wound or apply aloe as we did with Shadow. In fact, he managed to bite open his wound on several occasions even being tied.

He had to be untied to eat, but one of us had to be out with him while he ate to make sure he wasn’t biting his chest wound again. He took HOURS to eat–stopping every few minutes to glare at the watcher.

He couldn’t be tied outside as walking caused his wound to open again. He wouldn’t tolerate Shadow being outside either, so she was sentenced to prison as well, just so he would be calm.

We couldn’t go anywhere for weeks as Joey needed constant supervision. As soon as he thought no one was watching, he’d start in on the ropes. He managed to bite completely through one, tear his halter to pieces another time and pull hard enough to break a second rope. Each time he escaped, he bit his wound open again and bugged Shadow until we could herd him back in the stall. My husband had taken the offending door off the corral after it dared injure Joey. Really, it was exasperating.

At times, my husband despaired and said that if he didn’t heal up, he’d be sold to feed the lions at Los Areas Verdes. Then he said, if Joey did recover, he was selling both horses. Couldn’t he see that Joey was the problem here?

Joey did get better, despite it all and after about a month, he and Shadow were allowed out to graze again.

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The Herbarium Membership for Herbalists

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