Thursday, November 29, 2012

pony portrait and another difficult day

Apache Moon, aka the Little Man, heading up the hill to check out the photographer. I love seeing those pony ears pricked forward. :)

Yesterday we had another rough day on November Hill. Husband fed hay before he left for work around 8 a.m. Around 9:15 the Corgis started barking. I went to the front first and saw nothing, then went to the side and saw nothing. When I looked out the back door, the geldings were standing in a perfect circle, heads in, surrounding Salina, who was laying flat out on her side.

It looked like some kind of sacred tribal ritual in progress, and it was so sweet it just about made me cry. I went in the bedroom to throw on some clothes and when I glanced out the window Keil Bay and Cody came to the field right outside and began marching around in a big circle, as if they were trying to get my attention.

When I got out there, Salina was okay but not able to get up. Fortunately she was in a sunny spot, on fairly soft ground, and she wasn't struggling. I opened the front gate to let the geldings into the paddock - Keil and Little Man came running over and headed to the barn. Cody refused to leave Salina. He stood over her, right where she could see him, and kept guard. The donkeys were still forming the circle.

I coaxed Cody into the grass paddock and left the donkeys with Salina, then called my husband and he headed home. My daughter and I tried to get Salina to get up on her own. She tried a few times but her hind legs seemed very stiff and she couldn't get enough "oomph" to get up. I got breakfast tubs ready, hoping that might help, and she did try again, but still couldn't get up.

When my husband got home, my son came out too and all four of us tried various things to help. Nothing really worked. I gave her a dose of Banamine. As usual, I started asking the question no one wants to hear: is this the time when we need to make the call to let her go?

As usual, I promised Salina that I would take care of her donkeys if she was ready to go. 

We touched base with the vet, tried a bit more, and finally decided to have the vet come out and help us decide what to do. The vet on call was a new one to us, and I appreciated her compassion and her practical approach. After she checked vitals, all really good, and flexed the legs, she said this: let's see if all of us can pull together and get her upright, then see if she can get up from there. If not, we'll talk about what to do next.

It worked. It took a massive effort on the part of dear husband, but we got her upright and once we did she managed to get on her feet and walked off, not quite steady, but not injured. She was immediately ready for some breakfast. Rafer Johnson once again came up to me, put his head up to my chest, gazed into my eyes, and said, as clear as day, "She's OKAY."

Today she is moving slowly, I'm sure she's sore, but she's eating and doing all the things she needs to be doing. She was asking to go out with the big boys but I said NO. She and the donkeys stayed in the grass paddock and barnyards all day and she was out grazing most of the time - but in her stall looking at the kitchen window when her meal times rolled around.

They all had hoof trims this morning and she was able to get hers done - though we made a little "step" for her to prop her hooves on instead of asking her to put them up on the hoof stand. She's moving better with her toes trimmed back, and I'm hoping the stiffness is less tomorrow. We're having a little warming trend here which might help with that.

There's never a dull moment, it seems - I'm feeling grateful for the vet practice we use. They are so good at times like this, and we're lucky they rotate a dedicated on-call person 24/7 who does nothing but emergencies. Even though she's fairly new, she had Salina's history on the laptop when she drove up and walked in very informed. We needed someone to set out a short, to the point, plan of action. It was impressive.

Here's hoping we get some boring, slow as molasses, low-stress days as we move into December!


Anonymous said...

Very scary! Glad you were able to get her up and around again, and hope it was just a momentary setback.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Poor Salina. I'm so happy that she was able to get up and move around again. It's so scary when something like this happens. Hope she's feeling less stiff today. She's so special I really hope you all get to spend lots more time with her.

The Little Man is one handsome guy. I don't think he could be any cuter.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Your vet practice sounds wonderful... sorry we've been hearing so much about them lately. Glad to hear Miss Salina is up and about not too worse for the wear.

Interested in info about a newish arthritis therapy I'm trying with Val?

billie said...

Thanks, all. Def. interested in reading about arthritis treatments - we have done everything but IRAP that I know about. She's 29 with really severe knees so... not sure there is much to be done. But will try anything if there is any chance it would help her!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Email on the way!

Christine said...

That is a gorgeous photo!

So sad to read about Salina, but wonderful to read about your support base in the local vets and how compassionate the visiting new vet was.

billie said...

Thanks, Christine - amazingly she is doing really well again for the moment, so we're grateful once again that this too, passed. :) She definitely keeps me on the edge - learning and growing and figuring this whole senior horse thing out.

Máire said...

My goodness, that was a moving post. The empathy of all the other equines. Be well Salina.

billie said...

Maire, she is so calm even during these times when she's down. It's completely educational to me to be with that state of mind in her. The day after this happened Clarissa Pinkola Estes posted something on FB about how to be with someone when they're getting ready to go - and that there is no right or best thing to do - just be there. It really hit home, as I can get very caught up in trying to figure out what's right. Ultimately we can't fix everything, and I know Salina didn't expect that. She teaches me so very much.