Apple cinnamon… nom!

Bob was Roberto again, today. I doctored his feet on one of the tracks (in the shade, this time!) while he was tied to a sturdy fence post. He was very good. Then we walked up to the barn and into crossties. Not being able to see his buddies, he started calling for them and fidgeted a little, but calmed down.

Then he got dewormed.

It actually wasn’t too bad. Apparently Panacur (the dewormer du jour in the barn’s rotation) has an apple cinnamon flavor, so the main objection was to the syringe. It all went on the back of his tongue, none of it went on me or the floor, and neither of us got hurt. So I consider that a win.

Bob did his neck stretches and earned himself a couple of treats for doing them so well. And then out he went again, happy as a clam. As soon as I turned him loose, he trotted over to Boulder and chased him away from the blackberry bush he was inspecting. Interesting….

Boulder and I seem to be developing a routine. I hike out to the pasture. He lets me approach within ten feet and then walks away. I immediately tell him to trot and twirl the lead rope vigorously behind him. And off he goes to the nearest closed gate, whereupon he stops and waits for me. I halter him and life is good. Still, it is progress….

Boulder whuffled my elbow all the way back to the barn. It’s rather pleasant being whuffled by a creature that large. I decided to just dive in and get the deworming done first. It was a piece of cake! Both tubes went in just fine (yep, I said two tubes—he weighs more than 2,000 lbs., folks, and one tube is only good for 1100 pounds).

Next were feet again. More progress! Left front is looking pretty good, as is left hind. Right hind is still thrushy, but improving rapidly. Right front… well, I had to work very hard to get him to give me that foot (the rest were easy). Eventually I figured out that if I get him to move just right, I can bend his knee while that leg is moving and grab onto the cannon to get the foot lift started, at which point he goes along with it.

First we lifted, cleaned the collateral groves, and looked carefully at the central groove without doing anything. The cavities in the central groove are slowly drying up—especially the rightmost one. Put the foot down and rest.

Pick the foot up again after quite a bit of effort and gently clean a little bit of goo out of the left cavity. He did really well—just a couple of twitches. I think we found the bottom of the cavity today—finally. Yay! Put the foot down and let us both rest.

Pick the foot up a third time (easily this time) and slather on the Blue-Kote. That deepest cavity is still tender, so I got some pretty good foot jerks, but I think I got a really good dose of gentian violet in there today. Put the foot down and rest. Boulder now has a few purple fingerprints on his leg.

By now, I am completely drenched in sweat. My T-shirt is soaked, my jeans are damp, and I am dripping. Time for a cold bottle of water from the tack room (thoughtfully provided by Jenn—thank you!) and watching Hannah wrestling with Leah in the next crosstie while chatting with Jenn and Frankie. Boulder gets a couple of treats, plus a couple more from Frankie. Life is rough for this guy, I tell ya.

Then we did some more picking up and putting down of his right front foot. Pick it up, stare at it for a minute, give lots of scratches and praise, then put it down. After a few repetitions, he is giving me foot much more readily. See, Boulder? It’s not all bad!

Grooming was next (gosh, he’s handsome!), and then it was time to clean up. Boulder went to his stall, as everyone else was in, and he didn’t balk even once going across the gravel (just was tender). Frankie  said he was doing the same for her this morning—no balking for the first time. Yay!

Boots should get here tomorrow. Yay!

About Mike

Michael Heggen is a horseman, maker, and thinker who lives in Salem, Oregon with his wife, Kim, and "three to eight cats". He stays quite busy riding, driving, and caring for their three horses, Boulder, Shasta, and Bob. Among other things, Mike has been a fencing coach, police chaplain, computer consultant, aspirant to the diaconate, computer salesman, box boy, carpenter, computer technician, typesetter, church youth leader, copy machine operator, and network administrator. His other interests include juggling, reading voraciously, and (pretty occasionally these days) cycling.
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