Monday, August 27, 2012

Zip Does Stall Rest

Yes, he really is this sad.
He says sympathy cards are not necessary,
but sympathy cookies, on the other hand....

t’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted, mostly because I was busy making hay and making a nuisance of myself, neither of which was worth writing home about.  But this week, Zip fans, there's a whole new chapter in the life of my favorite Peck’s Bad Boy of horses.  Zip is on stall rest.

 To start, I suppose it's important to say that this was not of my doing.  I did not ride him into a wall, beat him with a rubber hose, or tell him sad stories about starving horses in India that put him off his feed.  Nope, he did this entirely on his own, and how he did it will remain between Zip and whoever it is that catalogs this stuff.  He was fine.  

He was fine.  

He was fine.  

Then he was not fine. 

Unlike his mother's rather creative approaches to un-fine-ness (buy a foundered horse, you get a foundered horse, but heaves and squamous cell carcinoma are add-on accessories that come with unexpected updates to the OS), Zip simply came in stiff.  He was stiff on the right hind, then he wasn't stiff on the right hind.  This went on through a few days of poulticing and wrapping and unwrapping and smearing with Cool Pack Green Jelly.  Then he was fine for a couple of weeks.

It's hard to imagine any of my herd doing anything strenuous enough to result in injury.  Overeating might be a hazard, but overexertion?  Never!

Last week, however, he came in more than stiff.  He was not putting his considerable weight on his right hind, and he did his usual "I hurt; fix me" thing where instead of going to his stall for breakfast, he plants himself in front of me and waits for me to find the owee and repair the damage.  I had a sneaking suspicion the discomfort (I don't use the word "pain" in front of Zip because it makes him faint) had to do with the small swelling between the canon bone and the tendon.  I poked it and got no response, but I cold-hosed, poulticed, wrapped, unwrapped and green jellied it anyway.  A Bute breakfast chaser put him right again.

The next day, my wonderfully patient barn hand, Irene, and I poked and pushed an prodded.  With memories of a two-week span of hoof-soaking I perpetrated on my daughter's gelding, Grady, years ago for what turned out to be a hairline fracture in his shoulder still nagging at me, I wanted to be sure I was hosing/poulticing/wrapping/etc the right body part.  He did have soreness in his hip, but there's a causation thing there....was he sore in the hip because he was doing his best dying swan impersonation, or was his leg gimping because of a sore hip?  

With that question hanging in the air, I dialed the vet, talked to the lovely Tammy, and on Friday Chris Fazio, Veterinarian to the Stars (and Zip) came and did his own poking.  Sure enough, I'd picked the correct spot.  Two points for me!  

The offending limb with poultice in a calming neutral beige

So began my descent into the lower levels of horse care:  Care of the Pulled Suspensory Ligament. There's nothing like trying to convince the dominant male in a horse herd to sit still for 1) more cold hosing, 2) more poulticing, and 3) being separated from his minions (especially that part) to really take one down a peg.

In his defense, he's been remarkably good.  Zip never (N*E*V*E*R) liked the wash stall or having anything behind his midriff (his sheath being the sole exception, and damn...he loves having that washed) hosed, washed or fussed over.  The first day was actually relatively peaceful.  I have two bruises on my arm from where he head-butted me into the wall trying to get out before I could clip the cross-ties, but once clipped, he is always good for a quick give-in.  He knows which side his bucket is buttered on and won't challenge the ties.  By day four, he was (almost) willingly going in and letting me clip those magical ties to his halter.  Score one for my side!

I figured from the get-go that this would take one of two turns.  Either he'd learn the deal, resign himself to it, and get gradually better about it, or he'd get worse by the day until he injured himself further or did enough damage to me to warrant his release into the (pasture) wild.  I should have known he'd find a third alternative.  

Turnout in a small pen seemed like a no-brainer.  It was.  I showed no brain-power at all in thinking the other horses would stay nearby enough to keep him company during his brief outdoor stints.  So the pacing began.  In the stall he paces in circles.  In the pen, it's a straight line.  Regardless, he's in better shape now than probably the last five years as he's put at least 100 miles on in four days.  Adding a stall mate helped, and he and Dolly can stare miserably at each other for the night shift.  But there's no one in the herd willing to stand in the little pen with him.  Amazing how fast his popularity ratings dropped!  Hell, in another week he can run for the Republican nomination and win!

This is going to be a very long haul as he has also added what I can only describe as Bipolar tendencies to the mix.  He thinks he's just fine, thank you, and doesn't get why we're not done with all this. I never know what I'll find when I go to the barn to check on him.  All the pacing has made him pretty tired, so he's sleeping a lot, but that didn't stop him from clipping his bad leg with his good hoof or breaking the noseband on his very expensive leather halter when I was leading him into his stall last night.  The fun just never stops.

All I can say is Kudos to the folks at vet clinics who do this all the time, and to those who have horses on months and months of layup, and those who have taken to living in the barn to save trips back and forth.  My hunt cap is off to you!  Hopefully this injury will resolve as quickly and easily as most of his others...which means nothing at all as he hasn't been 100% sound in probably seven years.  

Wish him (me) luck!
Dakota takes Stall Rest Companion work very seriously indeed!
If ever there was a horse made for stall rest, this is the guy.

Duke looking for the inevitable sympathy cookie that falls his way
I have my own version of stall rest.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

And Now a Friendly Word About Hate

Let the Hate Games begin!  But first, a word from the FBI:


or the longest time, I thought Facebook was alone in being a hater magnet.  The volume and vapidity of the hate that throbs on its pages is definitely not for the weak of spirit.  It takes a tough hide to slide past what total strangers are saying about you, each other, and anyone and anything else that can possibly be a target…or does it?  Throttle down your engines a smidge by asking yourself why you care.

In the interest of research, I tried a few other social networking sites.  You don’t need to think very hard to guess what I found.  Discussion groups diminished in size on every site until they included only the handful of head-nodders who agreed with the original poster’s original stand on the original factoid under discussion.  I was run off one discussion forum (ah, the vitriol would have burned my hide in the real world!)  for suggesting that helping each other out without expecting payback was an okay thing to do.  It was a discussion on mentoring on a board for professionals.  Uh…

I decided to try to find out what was behind all the anger.  In part, that led to the article linked above.  It also led to a quick trip through the DSM V and back to the DSM IV-R which still tags the crazies in ways I remember from grad school so I could find them more easily.

Some of the causation was pretty obvious.  Some posters are legitimately peeved about having been personally damaged by another party, and they chose the Interwebs as a place to share their upset with the world.  In bygone days, all of that would have taken place on the party line or over the back fence, and we would have called it “gossip”.  Miss Lucy found out her gardener was cutting roses in someone else’s yard?  Oh, my!  Say it isn’t so…but give me a minute to spread it around first.  Most of the posts of that type are unintelligible to anyone who wasn't there when the dog got kicked, the reputation got besmirched, or the boyfriend strayed.

Others showed the standard hate reaction that is based, as much strong emotion is, in fear.  Xenophobia isn’t just for space aliens, you know.  As a species, we learned early on that being too open to contact with strangers could cost us dearly.  Our caves, our dead animal carcass, our mate, our offspring, and our best hunk of rock tied to a stick could all be gone in a heartbeat.  And we could be dead, to boot!  So arose secret passwords and t-shirts with team logos on them.

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that many of the animals we have domesticated and chosen as food were able to get past that fear reaction within their own species without turning to the forest version of the Internet?  No haters there; just critters trying to get through their days, and we're eating them.  Irony?

But, I digress.

Some of the hate comes from psycho-social developmental issues.  There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned Narcissistic Personality Disorder to spice up a discussion on anything requiring value judgments.  Narcissists are always—always—right.  The rest of us are just too stupid to notice.  The Passive-Aggressives befuddle and then withdraw, luring their prey into screwing with their own heads.  When you read a comment in which the author seems to be arguing with himself, you can bet the fine hand of a P-A type is behind it.  The Paranoids are sure everyone out there is hanging on their every word and they hate that even more than they hate whatever conspiracy theory is being discussed.

The file linked at the top of this post is really interesting. First, it’s interesting in that it’s the FBI’s take on the types of haters out there and how to deal with them. That part should help you act less impaired when someone with the blue jacket with "FBI" emblazoned on the back is eying you up.  Second, it’s interesting in its descriptions of those folks.  You really should read it.   You might be in there somewhere, and it will only heighten your next paranoid-passive-aggressive-narcissistic-psychotic episode if you don’t check right now to see.  

There you have it; Haters in a nutshell (appropriate, yes?).  Everyone hates someone.  It’s de rigueur to hate the government and all employees thereof.  Next come people from other countries (who doesn’t hate them some good ol’ Chinese on a Friday night?), followed closely by those with different religious affiliations.  Parochial Schoolers hate Public Schoolers who hate Home Schoolers who hate dropouts.  Dressage riders don’t seem to hate very many people, but who can work up a good snit when you’re dressed like the guy on the cover of The New Yorker?  Show riders and trail riders butt heads.  English vs. Western, breed aficionados squaring off with whips drawn, rescuers vs people who don't want their horses anymore….

It goes on and on.  

My advice on all of this is 1) don’t hate something if you can simply avoid it instead, and 2) if you have to hate, don’t hate another hater; hate the act of blanket,  knee-jerk hating.  Be specific.  Know what it is you hate and why.  I know exactly why I hate tripe.  Can you say that about the things that raise your blood pressure?  

Spend your time in productive efforts to undo some of the anger around you.  It’s possible (really, it is) to explain to someone where their facts are faulty without actually punching them physically or verbally.  Documentation (that’s legitimate documentation without any wiki anywhere to be found) is readily available and tends to make conversations take on an air of intelligence.  The fine art of discussion seems to have morphed into one big computer role-playing game.  If whatever you’re busy hating isn’t actually causing you damage, then why are you expending all that energy on it?  Are you making a difference or just trotting out your monkey brain for a quick tour of the area?  Why not just take a break and go outside?  

Oh, wait.  That will just give you time to hate the weather, the neighbors, the way the lawn is turning brown, the faces your horse is making at you....  Never mind.

We’ll never all get along, but we can certainly do a better job of simply being human than we’re doing right now.  I'd like to suggest we get on that.