Thursday, February 25, 2010

Home Stretch

Today I took Brian's new saddle to the barn. It's just like mine, only black, and we think Sham will look pretty sharp showing it off.

I adore mine. Hopefully Brian will like his, too

The saddle was not the only reason I headed out there today. When I arrived I got a stall set up to accommodate the vet and his teeth-floating equipment. Then I went outside to get Sham.

I must say, I felt guilty when he came to the gate as soon as he saw me. The alpha mare and another big, dominant gelding wandered over as well, so I just let Sham into the airlock to avoid having to deal with them. He came through the gate without hesitation. I had his halter on in record time. I then took him inside and proceeded to put him through a good deal of trauma. He probably won't be that easy to catch again for a while. *sigh

Sham had probably never had dental work of any kind done before. Due to his size and pushiness (and the fact that Brian is currently in Wisconsin) it seemed best for me and my experience to take over on this one, so I got the joy of holding his head up or trying to pull it down throughout the procedure, depending on what the moment required.

Sham needed two shots of sedative right from the get go. Even the shots were hard to give him. He's oddly sensitive about needles in his neck. Most horses don't really mind, and later when we were getting him up to date on vaccinations, he was totally fine with the ones that went into his butt. Our vet, Jim McNutt, guessed he'd been traumatized by the use of cow needles in the past.

Once we got him sedated, he wasn't bad. There were actually times when he was holding his head up and bracing against the pneumatic file with an "I can take it" look in his eyes. He had a sore and a point exactly where I thought he did, so I'm hopeful the rest of my hypothesis will pan out as well, and the anxiety about taking the bit and having things put on his head will now start to recede. He also had huge hooks on the back of his molars and one wolf-tooth. Other than those things, though, Jim said his mouth was in remarkably good shape. So, that's something anyway.

Then I had his sheath cleaned, and he was extremely patient about that. But when it came to more shots in the neck, we had to use a twitch.

So, all in all, Sham had a pretty bad day. I wish there was a way to explain that he'll be more comfortable now - that it will be easier for him to chew his food, his cheek will heal and so halters and bridles will no longer hurt. I suppose we'll just have to prove it to him over time.

As far as getting Sham in ship-shape for Brian, I think we're nearly there. All we have to do now is replace the memories of this final trauma with lots of positive counter-examples.


  1. Trekker is pretty bad about shots too, and he had to get pretty heavily drugged for his last float (his sedatives cost almost 3 times what Tranikla's did, they used a different drug so it wasn't just a dosage thing). One trick that seems to work is to cover the eye (or at least put your hand behind the eye) on the side the shot's being done on, so they can't see what's going on at their neck. It sounds cheesy, but it often works on Trekker...and he's about as sensitive as they come.

    Anyways, hopefully the float will help solve your problems, so he won't have to go through it all again anytime soon.

  2. Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely try it next time. And yeah, hopefully next time will be better just by default - since he'll know us and trust us more by then.


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