Saturday, 10 August 2013

Muddy Season

I'm sure you're all asking yourselves (or not) is that Artemis in a stall?  Now why would she be in a stall?  Well, here's the answer to that.

Yup, it's an abscess.  This is what we've been dealing with for almost the past month.  July 18th, she went lame.  I spent the next few days running like a chicken with it's head cut off.  Luckily for me, while I apparently am not good in a crisis (I usually am, but leg issues, because of Cas, and I lose it), my stable owners are.  We began poulticing for an abscess and sure enough, that's exactly what it was. 

The abscess has actually been the least of our worries when it comes to Artemis.  So imagine this, you're a two-year-old, insanely energetic, horse who has spent most of her life living free out in the pasture.  You come up to the barn, do some grown up horse stuff, and then go back out into pasture until the next time.  Then, one day, it ends for you.  Your foot hurts and your thrown into a stall and don't get to go outside.  (Constant rains = insane amounts of mud = no outside time for Artemis)  You start getting bored and your boredom makes you angry.

I've always known we have some holes in her training, I'm the first to admit that I have no idea what to do with her, but those holes have become very apparent when our happy go lucky turned into an angry, hurt, bored demon of evil.

In a way, I'm thankful this happened because otherwise, who knows when I would have become aware of these issues?  And more importantly, at least right now, I had the help I needed to deal with them. 

We knew she was pushy, we've been working on fixing that, but can I just say wow?  She's been doing really awesome lately but that went out the window when she was hurt, bored and angry about being hurt and bored.  I was bringing her in the stall one night and she was good, but then in a second she decided she wanted out.  I was in her way and she didn't care at all.  She probably would have run right over me if E  hadn't been standing right behind me and jumped in to help.  I'm still sore from it, she ran right into my right side.  I still have the bruise and it was almost a month ago.

It was scary and upsetting, I've never had one of my own horses try to run through me before.  But it was a good eye-opening experience.  E helped me a lot with her, and taught me different ways of handling her and honestly, the Artemis I knew before the abscess, is nothing like this Artemis.  This one is so much more respectful of my space.

A big thing I learned is to do everything on a loose lead rope.  I'm sure we've all been there, when your horse is acting up your first reaction is to tighten your grip on the lead rope.  It never worked for me, it never gave me more control.  I learned how to keep her on a totally loose rope, and have ten times more control over her.  It wasn't without battles (mostly between her and E) and she proved what I've always known, she's one of the most stubborn horses any of us have ever met. 

There are absolutely no problems with her going in our out of stalls now, she's like all the proper indoor horses and all you have to do is lead her up to the stall, and she goes in and turns around for you to take the halter off, by herself.  She can now soak her foot she leads like a dream, though you sometimes do have to give her a little reminder. 

As her foot has improved so that she can actually walk on it without intense pain, E started turning her out in the arena by herself in the morning.  I was really happy to hear that not once did she act like an idiot when turned out.  You know how usually when a horse is cooped up for a while, and then you turn them out they run around acting like a fool?  She's not like that.  She walks laps the whole time.  The craziest thing she does is stops and rolls every now and then.  There's no running, no bucking, just calm walking.

On dry days, which are far and few between, she gets turned out during the day and again, she doesn't act like an idiot.  Unfortunately it's usually too muddy and we're afraid the mud will pull of her silver boot of duct tape so she doesn't get to go out unless it's dry.

To say the least, it's been a tough month.  It was really difficult at times, I love my horse but it was hard to have her acting so badly, because I expect better of her, and I honestly thought I had done better with her.  It was still good for both of us though, I think in the long run we'll both be better off.

Here's the demon from a few days ago.  It's not a great picture, she's not actually that butt-high.  One nice thing about her being in the barn is that the second she hears our voices, all we can hear is a loud neigh coming from the barn.  She says hello every time we come in, either by neighing or making her motorcycle noise.  She calls for us, and every now and then for T.  And as an ending note, enjoy this picture of her. 

The horse in the stall next to Artemis was having his teeth done, and she thought it was the coolest thing she'd ever seen.  We walked in the barn and this is how we found her, absolutely glued to the scene.  She left briefly to say hello to us and then immediately returned to continue watching.  I hope she liked, her turn might be coming up in the near future.