Thursday, May 14, 2009

two ladies "of a certain age" and the very hormonal week

A few days ago I was doing Salina's morning grooming, which includes applying a warm sponge to any tick bites she might have, as she reacts intensely to the nasty little things, and can develop big oozy lumps that heal quickly if allowed to drain. The warm water and calendula solution facilitate that nicely.

Most of the time Salina stands perfectly and without being haltered or tied while I do this, as I am gentle, and she knows it ends up feeling much better. Some days it even seems to feel good to her, and she will stretch her head out and close her eyes while I sponge away.

I'd sponged the bite twice and she'd been fine, but then suddenly she whipped her head around and said STOP. I didn't listen, and when I did it yet again, she swung her hind end in my direction and kicked out. It was a slow-motion swing of the hind end, and she kicked out in such a way that it was clear she wasn't aiming to make contact, but I felt she'd been unnecessarily rude and I threw the wet sponge at her hind end as she kicked out, and said NO!

She trotted out of the barn into the shade of the big oak tree and then stopped and looked back at me. Her eyes were worried, and I was already sorry for our snappishness back and forth, so I walked out and took her head and we just stood together for a moment.

The prelude to this was my own little fit an hour earlier, provoked by my husband putting a load of hay where I had asked him not to put it, and seeing it there caused me to burst into tears and complain that he hadn't listened to me.

Just like I hadn't listened to Salina.

As usual, Salina and I are on the same wavelength.

Yesterday, she allowed all the grooming, all the tick checking, even under her tail and in the more private areas of her body with no complaint. But then I checked one last place and she squealed and kicked the stall door behind her. This time there was no swinging in my direction, and she was clearly aiming completely away from ME but that hoof kicked the stall door HARD.

The prelude to yesterday is that Salina is in the full throes of her second heat cycle in a month, and suddenly everything seems to be touch and go with her. One moment something is fine, the next she is pitching a fit. Does this sound familiar? It certainly does to me!

Today I took one look at her, tail lifted and ready to squeal at the slightest provocation, and decided that even though I could clearly see a newly-attached tick in a very delicate place on her body, and even though I know full well that tick needs to be removed and that she indeed WANTS it removed, this is just not the day I'm prepared to go there.

Maybe she'll let the girl in the house do it. Maybe it will fall off on its own. Maybe the hormone levels around here will suddenly shift and we can get through it in our normal calm way.

This is one time I'm glad the rest of them are geldings!

Added note: she allowed my husband to remove the evil tick. Granted, he put on her halter and tied her to do it, but she behaved nicely and the dueling hormones did not have to come into play. :)

14 comments:

Peggy Payne said...

I'm going to try that warm sponge and calendula myself. My woodland garden is a tick field: those little deer ticks no bigger than a peppercorn at most, and yet they leave welts that last for months.

mamie said...

Great post, Billie! I can empathize - my three daughters and I would synchroniza and it would be hell on wheels around the house for a few days. Then I went hormonal...fortunately they went to college about the same time. Fortunately for my husband, that is!

Matthew said...

Ticks are the worst. I always get a swollen lump whenever I get bit, and the lump lasts for weeks and weeks. . .

Grey Horse Matters said...

I just hate ticks, they cause so much damage. Unfortunately, I understand quite well the hormonal changes that go on month to month having had two daughters and myself in the house.
My husband is happy they are in their own places now.
Our mares are pretty good when they are in heat and don't seem to react much to it.

billie said...

Peggy, we tend to have lots of ticks (mostly the lone star ones, have never seen a deer tick so far here) during April and May and then it eases up.

I would guess the calendula tincture would help - I'm not sure why but it works the best of anything I've used on Salina.

billie said...

Mamie, I can only imagine 3 daughters and a mom in the same house!

billie said...

Matthew, it's nice of you to steer clear of the dueling hormones, since you occasionally get slammed from both directions!

billie said...

Arlene, Salina has been more reactive this year than she ever has before with us. I'm not sure if it's because she's getting older or maybe the donkeys being intact for some months somehow stimulates a more intense estrous cycle?

Redford (the only intact one at this point) is steering clear of her for the most part! Rafer stays close no matter how sensitive she gets. But I think he has a special bond with her.

ponymaid said...

Billie, I have several ladies of "a certain age" here - the woman and Molly being foremost. I have learned to lie low - well, even lower, when those hormone demons are raging. Emmmm, on the same note, how are Redford's hormones these days? Any sign that he wishes to begin courting the ladies? Or are his adventures still limited to the other side of the fence? That boy has Gypsy blood - always a good thing in a donkey.

billie said...

Sheaffer, Redford seems to be disinterested in the ladies up to now. He is much slower to mature than Rafer was, and still, although a year and 3 mos. old now, seems to have retained that "young donkey" spirit. I suspect we can get through the summer just fine, but fall should be prime gelding time.

He does have the gypsy spirit, and we continue to find lead ropes and halters dragged out into the barnyards, as if he is trying to set up guided adventures with his fellow herd members. (he appears to consider himself the guide!)

Victoria Cummings said...

Billie - It must come of a certain age. Silk reacts like Salina did to my gentle cleaning every once in a while. I think that her skin just gets irritated from too much attention and washing. I usually give it a couple of days, just rinsing her off with warm water from the hose and if it's really bad, I put some petroleum jelly on the spots that bother her. Funny that she let Matthew remove the tick.

billie said...

Yes, all was back to normal within a couple of days. (for both of us!:)

deborah said...

okay - i have to admit i am not a horsey person. after laughting over the post my mind is dealing with the the issues of 1) knowing horses & the horse mentality (i am more of a cat/dog person) 2) the highly indiviualized personalities of a large, possibly dangerous animal and now third, the influences of hormonal changes of said large animal AND the clashing of hormonal flux between human and equine females. my mind is just boggled....

billie said...

deborah, it is all pretty predictable, actually. Salina is really clear with her boundary lines, and I know what will happen if I don't listen to them.

The similarity between she and I and how clearly she mirrors my internal/hormonal state has been one of the best things about her being here.

The extreme dueling hormones only happens a few times a year, so we're okay. :)