Louise underwent surgery just over a week ago, and she’s on strict stall rest for three weeks. During this time she’s bandaged, and those bandages are sterile. If they get wet or dirty, or if she chews on them and messes them up, they must be changed immediately. If they stay clean and neat, they only need be changed every three days.
Yesterday I used the last of the sterile wraps, and I mentioned on Facebook that Louise is now feeling quite good, and I thought she might soon be less cooperative about her stall rest. Knowing what I know about the law of attraction, I realize this was a stupid thing to say.
This morning, the air was cool and the footing springy following last night’s thunderstorms and drenching rain. So I brought Lucy out for a little session on the longe line. I’ve been doing this periodically, and Louise has handled it well. This morning she stood in the aisle watching us over her pipe gate and enjoying a big flake of hay.
Lucy looked awesome. She powered forward, tracking up beautifully at a trot; we did lots of trot-canter-trot transitions, metronome steady, balanced – really nice work. Then I added a little cavalleto for her to pop over, which she did quietly, in a steady rhythm without theatrics.
So I started to “go large,” jogging along with her and using the whole arena. Occasionally I glanced at Louise, and she continued to eat her hay and watch, one hip cocked and ears lopped.
Well, I got too far behind Lucy on a canter, and when she popped the cavelleto, she threw some happy bucks and zoomed off in something more closely resembling a gallop. Seeing as I was too far behind her to have any sort of leverage, and because Lucy is completely sensible about ropes and unlikely to injure herself, I let go.
She did one lap of the ring at a run, and as she passed the barn, Louise bobbled around a bit, rocked back on her haunches, and hurled herself up and over the gate.
Fortunately she more slithered than jumped. The gate hung her up for a moment, and by the time she scrambled all the way over it, Lucy had run into her stall. Louise trotted maybe forty feet, spun around and pricked her ears at the length of the arena. She had an “I’m gonna run like a lunatic” look on her face.
My heart stopped.
But she didn’t run. She turned back toward the little sickie paddock, plopped through the only muddy spot on the entire property, then joined Lucy in the big walk-out stall.
I grabbed Lucy, whipped off her halter, put it on Louise, and led her back to her stall. She went back to eating hay. I tried to close the pipe gate, but it was sort of folded over. The screw eye it was chained to had been pulled from the wall, and because the gate was bent and now a foot thicker than it had been, I couldn’t close the big wooden slider over it.
I wondered how I might possibly straighten the gate without taking it off its hinges, because it was unlikely I could put it back on my own. If I couldn’t put it back, I’d have to confine Louise to a stall without her usual aisle access. And that never goes well.
I do have a tractor.
Louise has never been bothered by the tractor – could I use it to straighten the gate without sending her into a tizzy?
Worth a try.
I closed the top of the Dutch door at the other end of the aisle (because one never knows when a pinto might decide to scramble through an opening four feet above the ground), drove the tractor up to the gate, leaned a board between bucket and pipe gate, then eased forward. Louise was concerned, but quiet. The gate straightened out, and when I climbed back to earth, the slider closed easily.
I took Lucy back out and did a little more work. She was perfect – not a hair out of place. And as far as I can tell, Louise didn’t do any damage to herself – just got a bit of mud on her bandages. So, of course, I’m off to buy more thick sterile cotton wraps from my vet, since those were, as I mentioned, the last ones.
Seems I lucked out. This time.