02 March 2012

They Don't Mix

 
While preparing for our trip down to Texas, we contemplated what to do with our horses.  As much like giant dogs (or sometimes giant toddlers) as they are, they aren't the kind of pet that travels easily.  We decided to board them at my in-laws house where they would have several people to look after them and enjoy them while we were away.
During our trips back to Nebraska over Thanksgiving and Christmas, we scrambled to get the pasture into shape.  Most of the fence posts were sturdy but the one thing that made me nervous were the strands of barbed wire.  We put up two lines of electric fencing and rolled out some wire hog paneling we found in the barn to encourage the horses to stay away from the fence.  Barbed wire is great for cattle because if they lean into it, their reaction is to slowly move away from the poke.  Hogs have the natural instinct to push into things that are pushing them and horses?  Well, they tend to panic and run away from anything that hurts.  That usually just makes things worse.


I should have nipped the real problem in the bud when Dancer was young but it was pretty tough to do unless I stood outside round the clock to remind her to behave.  Since coming to live with us as a foal, she found she could stick her head out of the pasture fence to graze the green grass Stoney couldn't reach.  It reminds me of people who let their kitten climb in the Christmas tree--when they're young (and featherweights!), it's adorable.  The next year when they're heavy enough to break branches, it's not so cute any more.  The same was true of Dancer and her naughty habit of leaning through the fence.  By the following year when she turned two, her excessive pushing would stretch out our fence.
I got the dreaded call one day that Dancer was limping.  After discovering a fleshy, five inch gash on her foot, it was pretty apparent why she wasn't feeling so hot.  The vet theorized she'd gotten it stuck on the barbed wire and in a panic, pulled her foot away.  Living in the outdoors, it quickly became infected and caused her to hobble tenderly.  Stoney--the wonderful big brother he is--followed her around and carefully licked her wound.  He wasn't oblivious to her pain.
Sorry if that's graphic, but you get used to seeing raw flesh with clumsy horses.
It easily could have been life threatening had it not been treated with great care.  She got a tetanus booster, an dose of antibiotics and her foot is cleaned and wrapped daily.  I'm just thankful she didn't sever any important tendons or ligaments and that no grainy proud flesh has appeared.  She'd better be all healed by the time I return--it's time for her to seriously start on her training!
Horses and barbed wire don't mix well.  I'm hoping Dancer learned her lesson and that's the last of the equine drama while I'm away.  It's particularly difficult since I can't be there to care for her, but she's in the capable hands of several people who know their stuff.  Dancer, the little stinker, will be fine.

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