As the ground was starting to dry out, I made my way home from the nursing home last night. I was thinking about the weekend ahead (another Texans play-off game) and also that I was tired from all of our trials with the flood but sure that the worst was past us and things were looking up.
Lauren was off with the boyfriend and Friday night was stretching out ahead of me. I pass the barn before I get to the drive-way to the house and always look over to check on the horses. The first thing I noticed was that Bruno was dancing around his stall and I could see even from the road he was sweating so much that he was lathered. Then I saw that his baby-sitter, Mr. Kid, was standing in front of the other barn, in front of the pony, Mimi’s stall. I knew Bruno would be frantic without Kid (and he was).
I raced in the house, not changing out of my work clothes, stopping long enough to don my muck boots and flew out to the barn. Kid greeted me at the gate. I grabbed a fistful of his mane, dragged him across the barn and through the open gate back to Bruno. While this certainly was a good plan and one that should have never needed to be enacted if Lauren had shut the gate between the two corrals, Bruno was so agitated and over the edge that Kid’s arrival back in stable yard did little to calm his nerves.
Horses are herd animals. They want to be part of a herd. In the wild it is extremely difficult to cull a horse out of the herd. They will break down gates, jump high fences and go to extreme lengths to remain with their herd. When Kid left to go visit his old herd mates, Bruno was in the worst of situations. A co-dependent horse without his best buddy, without any buddy.
I called Lauren and begged her to come home now. I am sure she thought I was over-reacting. In Bruno’s frenzy to get to Kid he had destroyed his stall. We had placed 4 foot by 6 foot mats in sections to cover his entire stall. Then he had shavings on top of the mats. This had worked effectively for the last 30 days. As Bruno spun, reared and ran around his stall he caught the edges of mats and the entire stall was trashed. Mats had been pushed four feet up the walls, others were sideways on top of one another. But worse, the bandage on Bruno’s hurt foot was filthy. The tape dressing that covered the bottom of his hoof had been worn off and his shoe was exposed. Both of his back legs were bleeding.
I got a little feed (which was probably a stupid idea because he was so hot) but I thought he might focus on it and Kid and start to settle down. Then I got really smart. We had been sent home from Texas A&M with a tranquilizer drug. Bruno has done so well we have not needed it once. But now I was assembling the syringe and drawing the drug from the vial. It was definitely time to get Bruno calmed down. I tied Bruno in his stall and waited for the drug to start working. I was also waiting for Lauren to get home. Of course, it was doing this misty, nasty rain that just made the whole thing more unpleasant. Still in my work clothes, which were now covered in horse lather and sweat, I started to strip out the shavings from the stall so we could get to the mats and re-arrange them.
Lauren showed up a few moments later. By then I had moved Bruno (with a stud chain) to Kid’s stall so we could get working on re-doing his bandage and re-doing his stall. I could have done it without Lauren but was glad I didn’t have to. The re-bandaging was difficult as Bruno, in spite of the drugs, was still moving and turning. I was holding his head and Lauren his hoof but it was a rough time to get the old, nasty bandage off and the new one put on him. I have to say again, though, his hoof looks good! It is like you can see the growth each time we re-bandage it.
Together Lauren and I dragged, pushed and pulled the big mats back in place and got fresh shavings. Bruno was dry now, his sweat soaked body was starting to get chilled in the damp, cool air. Lauren placed a clean blanket on him. We got fresh water in his buckets which he had collided against and emptied onto the walkway. We got dinner made for Kid and Bruno.
Lauren walked Bruno back to his stall and he was limping hard on his sore foot. She administered some anti-inflammatory medicine to ward off the pain that would be coming.
So, twice in a week each of us had left a gate open that caused serious trouble for this brave horse. Between us, we are out to his stall to feed, water and clean at least six times a day. The bad weather does not encourage one to hang out at the barn. We are always running, always a little stressed, always a little behind. It begs the question above-are we just too dumb to care for this horse? It certainly feels that way. One of daddy’s favorite sayings, “we are our own worst enemy.”
Well, Bruno made it through another one of our crazy, stupid mistakes. We are trying to mentally slow down and not cut corners. Double checking each gate and door before we leave the barn area. Another one of my dad’s sayings was “if you have to ask yourself if the gate is closed, it isn’t.”
Today we made our bi-annual pilgrimage to South Texas Tack in Brenham. If you need supplements, supplies, or gear this is the place. We got Bruno new shavings, more tape for his hoof, bandage scissors and lots of hoof supplement.
Tomorrow the Texans will face a tough away game against New England, but with my dogs and family outfitted in Texan attire, we should provide the boost they need. Bruno needs a giant Texan’s jersey. Lauren and I will repeat last week’s visit to the nursing home with wine and appetizers. Mom had a great time then and the Texans won-might as well keep the tradition going!