Friday, June 24, 2011

She’s Bitchy and I like her that way!

Monday was an especially long day for me. I headed out early to the office knowing that I had a presentation due the next morning. My manager and I were scheduled to meet with our boss to go over some data. My manager was out sick that day, so I would be on my own. In the middle of putting together my presentation while working with my daily flow of customers, Microsoft Office continually crashed on me. Thank you Bill Gates! After 10 hours I emailed the unfinished presentation to myself with the idea that I would finish it at home. Once home it became clear that Outlook had again crashed, the presentation was not in my inbox, I would be going back to work later in the evening. My husband then announced that the brakes had gone out on his daily vehicle and that he would need my truck in the morning. I usually take the bus during the week, but with the 8:30am meeting and an unfinished presentation, I had planned to be in the office by 6:00am. After figuring out our carpooling details for the next monring, I headed out to the pasture for some much needed Grace time.

I could tell on my walk down the hill that the farrier had been there while I was at work. Grace was 10 days overdue on her shoeing schedule. I had offered to haul her to his house if necessary, but he assured me he would make it out. Grace didn’t meet me at the fence with her usual greeting; she stood at the top of the hill waiting for me to come to her. She gingerly walked towards me as I opened the pasture gate. Grace stood quietly as I slipped her halter on. I closely examined all 4 hooves, they looked great; nicely balanced, new shoes in front with resets behind. I picked up the left front and could feel the warmth in my hand. Her clean soles were hot to the touch, I quickly checked the other 3 hooves, the hind two were warm, but not as hot at the front. Grace lagged behind as I walked her to the hose, carefully placing her front hooves on the soft ground with each step. Her attitude was missing, no ear pinning at the dog, no dolphin dives down the hill. After 30 minutes with the cold hose she was clearly more comfortable. I lead her over to the arena to see just how bad it was. Grace was tender on her front hooves but was moving beautifully behind. It was confusing to say the least! She seemed more off on the right front than the left.

On the walk back home Grace walked a step behind me with her head level. She was easy to lead and incredibly well behaved. I tied her to the trailer and ran over each muscle with my hands, no flinching or ear pinning, nothing was tight or hot. Whatever was bothering her seemed to stem from her front hooves. I could not help but notice how well behaved she was. No biting at the halter when I put it on her. No kicking at the air as I brushed her left side. No trying to eat the dog. All of her attitude was gone. I cold hosed all 4 hooves again before leaving her with her dinner and then headed back to the office. I hosed her hooves again before bed that night, fully prepared for an early morning hose session. On Tuesday morning Grace was much brighter with her greeting, she had her “hurry up and feed me” voice back. I picked out all 4 hooves, which were now at their normal temperature. That afternoon I cold hosed and took her to the arena for some Connected Groundwork. She was better, but still cautious on her front end. Her attitude was also missing. As nice as she was to handle, it just wasn't my Grace.

Wednesday was another long day at work; I took the later bus home. I decided to give Grace the day off, even though her hooves were cold I went ahead and hosed them anyway. She seemed to have a little more get up and go on her walk to the hose, even giving the dog a dirty look or two. Thursday morning I was greeted with a snort and a squeal. Belle took off in pursuit of the deer behind the pasture while Grace snorted and blew at them. When I could get her to hold still enough to check her hooves, they were again cold.

After work Grace seemed eager to get out of the pasture. She bit at the noseband of her halter as I put it on. She trotted ahead of me down the hill ears pinned back, head snaking at the dog. She kicked at the air as I swung the saddle onto her back, she bit my brush box as I started to tighten her girth. On the walk to the arena Grace danced alongside me, tossing in a few dolphin dives at the dog for good measure. In the arena she looked great on the line and felt even better under saddle. We worked on trail work, lots of stopping, backing and side passing. I had to remind Grace a few times that she was not a giraffe and that her head does not belong in the air. Back at home she bit the halter as I slid it back on to tie her up, swished her tail at me as I pulled off her saddle and kicked at the air as I brushed out her sweat marks. She was anxious for me to finish cold hosing her legs so she could go off and graze where she wanted to. It got me to thinking; Grace can be a cranky bitch, and to tell you the truth I wouldn’t want it any other way!

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