Sorry for the lack of writing lately. I got married on May 24th, Memorial Day weekend, and I've been playing catch-up ever since. I was also feeling a bit depressed, especially since my co-workers decided that referring to me as an old, crotchety, married hag and making snide remarks about my sex life were okay now that I've tied the knot after seven years of dating. But I digress.
On the morning of Sunday, May 24th, I was not preparing for my wedding. The individuals at the barn that I would have trusted to take care of my wonderful horse were either out of town for the holiday or refuse to do work on Sundays. I woke up early, donned my one pair of faded jeans and an old sweatshirt and headed out to the barn, thinking I'd turn Shorty out, clean his stall and do other chores, give him a good brushing, and have a few hours to put together those last minute details before my 3 pm ceremony.
I got to the barn right as it opened at 9 am. I immediately put Shorty's boots on (splints in front, bell boots on the hinds and the fronts (he interferes and overreaches)), put on his turnout halter, and put him out with his turnout buddy Oliver. I cleaned Shorty's stall, cobwebbed, scrubbed his waterer, and added to the "Shorty Instruction Manual" that I left for the novice riding instructor that agreed to take care of Shorty and cover my lessons during my honeymoon.
At 11 am, I decided that it was time to bring Shorty in. Normally, I put my horse out for much longer than 2 hours, but I was getting frantic phone calls from my soon-to-be in-laws and my future hubby, all adding to my long list of overlooked items that needed to be tended to. As I walked out, Shorty heard my footsteps and met me at the gate. Normally, he waits for me to approach him, especially on a cool day devoid of insects, so I knew something was wrong before I fully made it to the gate.
Sure enough, Shorty had a long, oozing gash right above his right knee. Although there was little blood and the gash was actually very shallow, the swelling had already poofed out to the size of my fist. Forgetting all about nagging phone calls, I brought Shorty in, went back for his buddy, rolled up my sleeves, and got to work.
I cleaned and clipped the cut, and cold hosed for about twenty five minutes. Hose in one hand, bottle of betadine in the other, I cradled the phone between my jaw and my shoulder as I explained to Eric that I would not be able to make it to the park right away to set up. As I dried off Shorty's leg, I glanced at my watch and realized that it was 12 pm, and in three hours I would be getting married.
Back to work. A little dab of tri-care wound ointment, a few squares of guaze held in place by a roll of flexi-gauze, held in place by a knee wrap, held up (a little bit) by a stall bandage became the matroshka doll of equine first aid. Although Shorty was not lame when I walked him in from the pasture, I wrapped the opposite front for good measure. By then, it was 12:15. Turning my attention to the rest of Shorty, I brushed him and looked him over for any additional cuts, swellings or abnormalities. Finding none, I put Shorty in his stall, measured out his afternoon grain and added bute to help with the swelling, leaving notes for both the barn manager and Shorty's babysitter. I finally left the barn at 1 pm, 2 hours before my wedding.
Since I was expected to set everything up (my parents are useless when it comes to caring about stuff like that and Eric's mom did the best she could and was a HUGE help), I didn't have time to shower, pack for my honeymoon, or iron my dress. I washed my hands and face, hastily put on some eye makeup and a bit of lipstick, brushed my hair, and dashed out the door. 2 hours and a hasty change in a park latrine later, we don't look too bad, no?
Notice the farmer's tan?
Fast foward to 8 pm. The reception pretty much over, I started cleaning up and gently kicking out drunk people (making sure they had rides home, of course). I asked Eric if we could postpone the rest of our wedding night so I could visit my horse and make sure he was doing okay. I got to the barn to see that Shorty's knee wrap was still on, but was sagging a bit. Initially, I was diasppointed that my square knots hadn't held, but as I removed it I realized that the swelling was down significantly. Yay!
I cold hosed him again for twenty minutes, gave him lots of kisses, and decided to leave the wound unwrapped. It looked a lot better, and leaving the wraps on meant that the skin was soft and wasn't making a nice, hard, protective scab. I knew it would probably swell up again with the wraps off, but decided that letting it air out was more important, given that Shorty showed no signs of lameness or impeded movement as a result of his little boo boo. As I gave Shorty is cookies and walked out of the barn, I felt guilty for leaving him for a week, but knew that his babysitter (in charge of turnout, cleaning chores, and brushing only) would be fine- she's a college professor in the sciences and currently leasing a horse, so she has a good understanding of what healthy means and how to maintain it, in spite of being a novice in this industry. To help her out, I'd fully inventoried and listed the contents of my first aid kit and left her ten pages of info on Shorty including abnormalities that are normal for Shorty and ways Shorty tells you he isn't feeling well. (For example, I wrote down that Shorty is normally stiff when he first comes out of his stall in the morning as a result of arthritis, but if he has a significantly noticable shortened stride or refuses to bear full weight on a leg he may have hurt himself sometime in the night).
On the plane ride home, I wanted two things: 1. to snuggle with my cat and 2. to hug my horse. I missed my critters while I was away, and when I got back everyone was still happy and healthy, just as I had left them (Shorty's cut was down to a minimal scab). A week after my wedding, I drove up the gravel driveway and glanced at my horse's window as a backed into my parking spot next to the barn. Not only was he at the window, he was nickering as I got out of the car. I gave my horse a big hug, after which he turned to me as if to ask, "Okay, can you put me out now?"