As he loaded into the trailer again, Bear could have been thinking that was going on a little trip but it wasn't that kind of trip he was going on; instead he was to be given lots of sleep inducing drugs. Knowing that there had been two unsuccessful attempts to geld him previously, ending before they began when he wouldn't allow the vet anywhere near him, I started off by enclosing him in a safe place.
Although it was easy to put his headcollar and rope on, he was very aware of the presence of the vet and wanted to run away, even though there is was certainly nothing wrong with her energy. I don't know whether it is the clinical, anaesthetic-y smell that alerted him. She spent a little time just stroking him and talking to him before checking his heart and then giving him a mild intra-muscular sedative. Once he was really relaxed he was given intravenous sedation and encouraged to slowly drop to the floor. Then he was out for the count while everything happened.
Despite knowing that these operations are routine for the vets and straightforward for the ponies, I find them emotionally draining (and my face says it all in this picture). Forty minutes after it was all done he started to come round and Nicky gave him a helping hand to get into a sternal recumbency position. From there he pushed up and stood a little shakily before going into another sleep on his feet.
On the vet's advice he is now out in the field with Henrietta and tucking into his hay. He's got painkillers for breakfast for the next five days.
This afternoon, shortly after Bear had been turned out, we had a visitor bearing gifts for me to try out on the horses. Caroline uses clicker training with her own horses so needed little guidance, from me at any rate, on how to train a mule. Henrietta was particularly impressed that she had worn long ears for the occasion.
"They're not real but at least you tried. Your touch is not too bad either".
Jack was also pleased to have a go.