Thursday, March 31, 2016

31st March, 2016 We Can Do Magic

This morning's little horse is a home bred Connemara cross Thoroughbred filly called Magic. She is just nine months old and her owner wanted to do some work on leading. Facilities were somewhat limited with no schooling allowed in the fields and the nearest arena about a mile away so we took things very easy in the stable yard. We worked on removing the pressure as quickly as we could so that she never learns to brace.

For reasons that we may never get completely to the bottom of (she has never been tied up), Magic is very sore in her poll and this is exacerbating some ambivalence about the head-collar which you can spot in the top picture as I put one headcollar on over another. As well as working though this, I spent some time showing her owner how she could massage her to make her more comfortable. Here I am gently rotating her ear which apparently requires me to close my eyes! At any rate this resulted in her closing her eyes too, lowering he head and relaxing.

Back at the fields Henrietta can find no ancestral connection between herself and the creatures outside. When one of them brayed she looked astounded and mildly disgusted.

Bear's owner came over this afternoon and so we took him out for his first walk away from the fields. We took Jack to keep him company who dealt very well with having to be on a lead rein rather than naked as he normally is in the inclosure.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

30th March, 2016 Bear No Grudge

A bizarre start to the day dropping off a donkey (plastic of) at the fire station before collecting a Morrison's bag full of pony bones from Bramshaw. Not only did my bone detective find the missing scapula, more vertebrae, a couple of ribs and lots of foot bones, she discovered two cannon bones one of which had clearly been shattered making that the likely cause of Honour's death.

My only appointment today had been postponed to next week so the rest of the day was my own. Henrietta had defected to the right and was cosying up to Jester who had to mind his chin when she started rolling.

Meanwhile Bear appears to be as good as new after his operation yesterday. He certainly doesn't seem to have taken it to heart, striding straight up to this afternoon's visitors, Karen and Linny from the charity, HorseWorld.

Linny is an Ambassador for HorseWorld and has a penchant for donkeys and mules which she has looked after for over forty years. She was keen to meet Henrietta and Henrietta seemed to be just as pleased to meet her. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

29th March, 2016 Lost his Marbles

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.

Monday, March 28, 2016

28th March, 2016 Wheel Bearings

As testament to his recent training and the gentle fashion in which he was loaded when we brought him to Fritham, Bear's loading session today couldn't be better. He loaded very quietly and very easily and ate his feed on board. 

During the hail storm I thought he should have the benefit of a coat.

Henrietta also worked well despite David hammering in posts outside. She accepted the head collar laid over her back and neck, let me pick up her left hind leg and waggle it about a bit, and let me touch her right hind too (I got all the way down to her fetlock).

Out on the Forest the ponies were getting down low to avoid the relentless wind...

...this gelding looked particularly well rinsed and was very friendly.

28th March, 2016 Boning Up

I have created a Facebook page in honour of Honour on which you can follow our progress, or lack of it!
I've been boning up on my anatomy and preparing to articulate what David insists on calling our Skelington.We've got a few bones missing but more or less a whole pony to work with.

The teeth are fascinating and show that wild ponies still struggle with sharp hooks on their teeth which might cause ulceration of the cheek.

They can also restrict the ability of the pony to chew properly.

This is the fascinating mechanism of the ulna (elbow) of the horse. Always takes a bit of thinking that the knee of the horse, lower down the leg, is actually its wrist!

Towards the tail end of the horse, the vertebrae are fused together whereas the rest is articulated and fit together like a wonderful jigsaw.