So, I had a (mostly) quiet week and a half. It's been a tough time of tests and paper, so I haven't had a lot of time with the horses. But right now, as long as I show up every once and a while with cookies they're happy. A little obsessive and zombie-like, but happy.
On Friday, I had some time between class and work, so guess where I was. I wanted to play with Royal on the 45' line in the hopes that he would not be all crazy-like. He was slightly more sane, but still wanted to zoom around like a maniac. He also has a habit of hitting the end of the line (usually close to the gate), interpreting that as a "come-in-to-the-center" signal, and trotting in all snorty. The progression of bolt-come in has made it had to progress. So, this time my strategy was to allow him to hit the line, come in for one or two seconds, and send him straight back out. We kept at this until he was able to canter around a complete circle without bolting or pulling on the line. Progress!
I was working on getting him to go sideways over a small log when my barn owner started calling for me. Her old horse was choking and she didn't know what to do. I went to them and felt a hard lump in his throat, by the junction of the esophagus and trachea. I tried to message it down while my BO talked with the vet on the phone. The poor horse was miserable, coughing with half-masticated food coming out of his mouth and nose. The vet said to keep trying to push the block down and help it break up. For an hour and a half, we keep rubbing the old guys neck, trying to break up the block and help him swallow. It seemed to work; the lumps went away and he seemed more comfortable.
At this point, I would love to stop here and say the horse got better, thanks to our intervention. Unfortunately, that was not the case. My BO had to call the vet out later when the horse stopped getting better. It turns out we did move the blockage... down to the entrance to the stomach. The vet had to pass a nasogastric tube and manually break up the blockage. In addition, he had aspirated some of the food, giving him a high chance of pneumonia. He's better now, but it could have been really bad.
The other vet came out the next day for the second half of spring shots, so the boys got jabbed. BJ was good, but Royal threw a conniption fit while he was tied up. Great. He's been so good about it, so I haven't really had to teach him tying etiquette yet. That may change. He also did okay with the shots after I played with him a bit. Luckily, it was just vaccinations and nothing else. No sedations or drugs to mess with his head.
Pictured: Not Royal
But the whole choke event basically made up my mind. I felt so powerless, but also that what I was doing was the right thing. I know I want to do this sort of thing for a career, so for now, it's vet school or bust. I don't know how I'll get there or where I'll go, but I'll make it work. Somehow.
Speaking of vet stuff, Royal's face keeps getting better.
But, he likes to keep life interesting. I found this, probably gotten during a fight with one of the other geldings. No broken skin or tenderness, and I think the hair will grow back fairly quickly
Never a dull moment.