"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hard Times with Horses

And no - the title of this blog post doesn't refer to the fact that hay is at an EXTREMELY OUTRAGEOUS cost right now in addition to there being basically none anywhere in sight either. But, I digress.

Everyone whose read this blog for any period of time knows my Gypsy Girl.

She is a 27 year Appaloosa Mare that I rescued in 2005. I also learned a lot of firsts riding her. And for that matter, taught a handful of others a lot of their 'firsts' riding her as well!

Now a days, Gypsy is just living the golden life. Retired, soaking up treats and love and loving when my nieces and nephews come to visit.

Well - she gone and did it again! This mare - I tell ya!

So prepare yourself. I will try to not get too long winded with this story, but that hope is doubtful. And I am going to be brutally honest, too.

About a week ago, we woke up the find Gypsy hanging out in the yard. Seems she kicked her stall door continually until she busted the lock open. She's done this before so I wasn't shocked. She doesn't stray far from the herd either, so I wasn't too worried. She camped out by Romeo, the pony, all night. However, I noticed her shoulder was a little knicked up...adn then, she tried to walk. And it wasn't happening. *ugh* [enter pit in stomach]

Have you ever heard the saying, 'No Hoof, No Horse?' Well, the same is pretty much true with a horses leg too! One cannot surive on three legs with the amount of weight they have to support. Since this was a week day and I had to get to work, I checked her over, rubbed her down with some linament, left her in the barn, contained, so she could roam the aisle, and hoped she would work out the quirk by the time I got home. No such luck. She was extremely stiff on her front right leg and could barely walk.

So over the next few days, I treated her with linaments and some medicine for pain as I monitored her and tried to determine what the problem was. I had two guesses - my current farrier is a fool and trimmed her hooves wrong or she did something to her knicked up shoulder when she escaped the other night.

Monday evening I had second farrier (who comes highly recommend and is way booked up but luckily he lives close and fit us in since it was kinda of an emergency) come out and check her over. He agreed. it wasn't her hoof - it was something with her shoulder.

Now - there are a few problems with this.
1. This area can be hard to detect a bruise, fracture or break with an x-ray.
2. She'd need to be trailered to a specility hospital if we even wanted to give it a try. After all those expenses, the chances of an exact disagnoses were still slim.

Gypsy doesn't trailer well. And futhermore, she is 27 years old. I am pretty sure she didn't break it because she wouldn't be walking AT All. I decided I would continue to monitor her and see what happens. Some may call this neglectful, but you know what? I am going to toot my own horn for once. I don't proclaim to be an expert with horses by any mean whatsoever! But, I have had plenty of experiences in my years of rescue to feel comfortable enough in my knowledge, and the knowledge of the horse people around me, to know I can make a decision on what is best for Gypsy. I can recognize when she is suffering and make a decsion should it need to be made, albeit a hard decision not to be taken lightly.

So, for the next two days she seemed a tad better but not 100%. I was giving her free range to roam where she pleased that way she was getting movement instead of being stuck in a stall until we got home. She doesn't go far from her heard and she wasn't walking too well anyways so I wasn't worried about her wandering off. Then, yesterday I get a text from my neighbor as I am on my way home that she wandered into their yard. I guess she was feeling better!

When I got home and went to put her and Apollo out back in the pasture, she actaully surpassed Apollo and I and got back their first. Clearly she was feeling better, though I could still see she asn't walking 100%. When my hubby and I arrived back again with Daisy & Romeo, we noticed her and Apollo were rolling - nothing unusual. And I knew that was a good sign that she even went down to roll. But then, she couldn't get back up. And my second stroke, heart attack, and 24 more gray hairs happened.

Gypsy & Hubby
 Over the next 90 minutes or so, my hubby and I worked to help her get back on her feet. All while in the company of our 17 month old who did no less than climb to the top of the pasture gate inducing my third heart attack, and then playfully occupy himself by standing IN the water trough having a gay old time splashing around and beating the snot out of the water with a stick. Occassionaly he'd examine a few manure piles too :) At one point, while hubby and I were both attempting to help Gypsy get up, he started yelling and whimpering - I assume he was confused as to what was going on and knew something wasn't right. I don't know if you have ever had experience trying to help a 1,000 pound animal to their feet, but it isn't quite as gentle as helping a dog. A young kiddo watching could be easily confused!

At one point, I honestly thought she passed on her own and my heart broke. I thought to myself, she is such a good horse she even made that decision an easy one for me by letting herself go on her own. But, not yet. She is the mare of 9 lives, I guess. Because the next thing I know, she was giving it another go trying to get herself up. At one point, hubby was sitting down, indian style, next to her with her head literally in his lap. He was petting her and talking to her. My little one came over to them, sat on the other side of hubbys lap and petted Gypsy too, while he spoke his gibberish to her. My heart broke. BROKE people! I am hormonal as it is and this was all too much! This is something you see in a movie. Not in your own backyard. But then again, that is just how special this horse is. I met her when she was 19 - she taught me lots - and now my son was sitting beside her petting her while she didn't feel well.

And I have long spoke of her love for kids. My nephew once walk right underneath her quicker than I could realize what he was doing. Very, very dangerous. But, in my heart of hearts, I know she knew he shouldn't have done that and she'd stand still until he was safe again. She is just THAT kind of horse. You only get one in a lifetime. And as I stood there, crying, watching my husband and son comfort her, I swear as soon as my little guy caught her attention, she perked up. It gave her another bout of motivation to give it another try. I said to hubby quickly "now! grab her tail!" and just like that we did all we could to assist her in getting up. Gosh darn it if 5 minutes or so later, a horse I thought was gone was standing quietly, looking straight at us with a thank you on her face - this I know.

She was stiff, but she was back on her feet and she wasn't showing signs up distress. These were all good things. So I let them all be in the pasture until 9ish when it was time to come in for the night. She was walking better, but not great. This morning she promptly came right out of the barn into the yard in the morning when Allen opened it up. And she scurried away from me when I came to her with her syringe of applesauce and medicine. These are good signs! Only time will tell, but for now, we take it one day at a time.

A strange stillness dwells in the eye of the horse, a composure that appears to regard the world from a measured distance…It is a gaze from the depths of a dream… -Hans-Heinrich Isenbart



Ashlee said...

Dear Lord, Allison! I was having my own mini heart attacks over here reading that! I have you and Gypsy in my thoughts! Here is hoping for a speedy recovery!

Furry Bottoms said...

You.Had.Me.Scared!!!!!! Keep us posted. This is without a doubt a very very very special horse! I'm sorry that she gave you more grey hairs, but I think in the long run you will agree it was worth it.

Mitch H said...

Horses...I feel for you, mine is 18yrs old still fit & ridden daily but I dread the day when I have to retire him.