Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Three Hundred Dollars Later...

It was the big day. The day that Sunny had an appointment with both the farrier and the vet. Still not willing to allow me access to her feet, the vet needed to be called in to administer a tranquilizer so that she'd relax enough for Cheryle, the farrier, to trim those long over due toes.

We'd discussed using Ace, a mild tranquilizer that slows down an anxious horse, or whether or not the option to just put her completely under would need to be used. When Cheryle called me the other day, she told me she'd twisted her ankle and her doctor had her in a leg brace. It seemed that putting Sunny all the way under was going to be the best option. However, when Cheryle arrived it was without the brace and she was willing to give keeping Sunny on her feet a try.

The trouble with Ace is that while it works well on a horse who's issues are high energy, it doesn't work as well with horses who are dealing with fear. Sunny's problems are fear based, not due to an over abundance of energy, so we weren't sure just how effective it was going to be on her. The drug would take ten to twenty minutes before she'd begin to feel it. In the meantime, we gave Quiet Storm her vaccinations.

Quiet Storm did not like the vet. He smelled funny! But it was just a quick jab on the left, then another on the right, and it was all over for her. Lucky girl...

Meanwhile, the drug was beginning to take effect on Sunny. Her head was dropping and there was a bit of drool dripping from her lips. She hadn't liked the poor vet, either. He was just an unpopular guy, no matter that he was there to help. Even with the Ace, Sunny wasn't too certain she wanted strangers up close and personal, so Dr. Anderson administered yet another drug. This one started with a T, but I don't recall what it was. He wanted to try to keep her on her feet if he could as things would be easier all the way around if she didn't need an IV. Easy is good!

Sunny feels drowsy...look at the angle of those hind legs! I thought she was going to fall over and land on Dr. Anderson.

Once Sunny began relaxing even more, we went to work. Dr. Anderson held up the hoof while Cheryle worked with the nippers to shorten the toes. Sunny couldn't balance without Dr. A holding her up, but at the same time, this made it difficult for Cheryle to see the hoof. Thankfully, a pretty job isn't what we were after. We started easy, meaning the left front hoof. The left is Sunny's easy side, and of course one doesn't get kicked by a front foot. From the left front, we then worked our way to the right front. Having strangers on her right side brought Sunny back to life, but she honestly didn't have the energy to fight and it was just a few moments before she was back to her droopy headed drugged out state.

Trying to nip off the tip of the toe from an unusual angle

The back end was a different story. Since they were on the right side, they naturally gravitated towards her right rear, and again Sunny bounced back to life as Dr. A attempted to pick up her hind foot. She didn't attempt to kick, but she was frightened and yanked her leg out of his grasp as she made an attempt to jump away. I suggested perhaps moving back to her left side where we knew she'd be more comfortable with them.

To help take her mind off the fact that they were working on her hind feet, Dr. Anderson grabbed her tail and brought it up over her back. I think it may have helped hold her too, like a rope, lol! But mostly it helped shift her attention to the opposite side they were working on so that she wasn't focusing on what was happening to her feet. No sense getting Cheryle kicked in the face, that would never do!

We must have looked like a 3 ring circus, with me holding the head, Dr. A holding the tail and hind leg, while Cheryle chomped away at overgrown toes.

It took about an hour, probably a bit more, to get the whole thing done. The drug would begin to wear off, we were told, after about 45 minutes, but it seemed to be taking longer than that. It was quite some time before I was able to get her back to her paddock. Of course, we left her alone and didn't pester her any more except to bring her a pan of grain last night (normally not thought of as pestering, but I held it while she ate, and to Sunny that's a bit of a bother.) I'll give her a day or two to relax and forget about the negatives before I begin work with her again.

Darling took pics throughout the process and more than once found herself having to jump back as Sunny went careening off to one side or another in an attempt to escape what was happening. Thanks, Darling, for doing such a terrific job! You're going to make a wonderful photographer!


photogchic said...

Great story--I like the trick with the tail. I also like that you have a female farrier--girl power! Tell Darling wonderful photos:-)

smilnsigh said...

That's one scary Title to this entry!!!!

But what an entry is was!


Lady Of Chaos said...

I finally found pics.. Okay so I've been busy today and couldn't look, but I stopped here first.

Good job. Wonderful pics Darling! Sunny will forget all about it and may even be easier to handle on the legs after all that too... Time will tell.

Katee said...

Tracey, Carl had some fear with farriers at first, too. What I always found interesting was that he would never kick at the farrier, he'd just pull away. He didn't want to hurt the farrier he just wanted to get away from those clippers! Most of the farriers I dealt with told me that they'd much rather spend the extra time working with a horse like Carl than a horse that seems to just want to hurt them. Katee