Look at all those freakin' cars!
In the past I've always had the vet come here. In the past it has always been a rodeo, with horse pulling, spinning, head flipping, and the vet following dizzily trying to get the job done. I'll give it to her, for a little gal, she don't quit. In that manner she's tougher than the men that tried to go at Phebes. But it was nerve wrecking, risky business to get the vetting done. It is also expensive for a farm call, tack about $75 onto your total. Things weren't getting any better. On the other hand, if I had the syringes, and nobody else on the scene, I could walk up, give her a shot, and she'd barely blink. So I just didn't know how on earth to train her to trust these strangers who came to poke her with needles and shove a dental speculum in her mouth and grind away at her teeth.
This year I thought, what the heck, let's try something different. I'm going to haul her to the vet, and see if I can convince her to walk into the stocks to be treated. I ruminated over it all morning at work. Trying to picture in my mind how I was going to do something when I had never actually seen a stock, and had never been in that part of the veterinary hospital before. LSEGH went with me in case I needed an extra set of hands or something (like moral support). We pulled up and unloaded. The clinic is on State Route 50 which is a major route for semi traffic. You would not want your horse to get away from you on this unfenced property, it would be a deadly disaster. Her head pops up as traffic is zipping by, remember this horse is not a friend to motorized vehicles. I take a couple deep cleansing breaths and mentally stare at the open garage door, and the huge painted pipe thing that is called a stock. I build a mental map of how we will walk in turn around, and then aim her towards it. It is open in the front and has a gate in the back. That does not seem optimal...LSEGH offers to go through the chute first with Phebes following so I can close the gate behind, while he blocks the way in front. Her head is up, and she thinks about crowding him, but she respects the lead rope I have in my hand by this time while he ties the huge rope (I'm thinking this does not seem optimal) as big as my wrist in front of her. At this part of the scenerio I'm wishing the side pipes were a little higher, and that there was a padded heavy gate in front (yes...that would have brought my pulse rate down to at least 140). She's in there. Dr. Cobble and the vet techs had the good sense to not enter the area at all until she is in the stock. I'm grateful. In come three vet techs, and the doc. Time to sedate. She looks at me with something like fear in her eyes and says "is this the one who doesn't like needles?" I tell her to just walk in behind me to do the deed, that if she doesn't see a stranger coming at her with a needle we should be good. She cleanses the area, uncaps the needle, and slides it into the neck. Sedation in. We wait...and we wait some more. Phebes has her ears straight up, watching the traffic through the open garage bay door. We wait a little bit more. Dr. Cobble says "they usually have their heads nearly to the ground by now and we have to hold their heads up to float the teeth. I think we might need to give her another dose of sedative." So the scenerio is repeated on the vein on the other side of her neck. We wait. We wait some more. Her ears are up and perky and she is watching the traffic whizzing by, but her eyes soften a little, and her head droops, but only a little. I say to Dr. Cobble something like, "huh! two doses and she's almost a normal horse now." She looks at the horse somewhat amazed. A few more minutes tick by and Phebes is starting to feel pretty darned good about the whole situation. Teeth are manually floated. I'm sure Dr. Cobble could whip a Sumo wrestler and two rabid cats, even with one arm stapled to her hip. She is my super hero. We vaccinate, and get a Coggins drawn for our possible out of state foray into perhaps Ohio or Kentucky...or ...or...not. But at least we have it if we need it. Dr. Cobble says, "wow! she did great!" That was the best medicine of the day. Thanks Dr. C. you rock in my book. ~E.G.