Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Horse Heads on My Shoulder

I spent all afternoon holding horse heads on my shoulder while the vet floated their teeth. Despite my best efforts to avoid scheduling on a snowy day, this day did start out snowing. My husband said there were accidents where people slipped off the road or crashed through the center divider all over the highway. By the time the vet arrived, it was dry, but very cold outside. He did a thorough job of checking up on each horse. He kept questioning if Lostine has been sick. I said she occasionally gets loose stools and diarrhea. He said she could be developing an immunity to her wormers and suggested that I bring a manure sample into his office to get it analyzed.

Each horse got a 5-way shot for immunizations, a West Nile Virus immunization, blood drawn for a Coggins test, and their teeth floated. I was disappointed that the Coggins is only good for six months in California. My vet said that in all the years he's tested horses for the disease, only one horse actually had it.

We made it through all of Lostine's procedures without any incident. She was a dream to handle, as always. Gabbrielle was being a pest by calling out the entire time we worked with Lostine, so I decided to bring her out next. I swear there is something about Gabbrielle that attracts activity. Every time that I work with her or walk into her stall to put on or take off her blanket, half a dozen cars come racing up and down the street behind my barn, neighbors come out of their houses, and emergency vehicles with sirens race past. Today was no different.

As soon as I got Gabbrielle into position for her sedative, our sleepy neighborhood turned into Grand Central Station. Gabbrielle started getting jittery and looking behind her. Then my nosy neighbor jumped out from behind my barn. I think she was trying to run past my camera, but still somehow get into a good position for eavesdropping. She ran her dog to the end of my driveway, then walked slowly to get a good long listen in on my conversation with the vet. From that point she just loitered around, sneaking from one hiding place to the next.

The vet was trying to put the needle in Gabbrielle, but Gabbrielle was so distracted by my nosy neighbor stalking us that she jumped and spun when the needle went in. The vet let loose of the needle. Usually, it hangs in the neck, and he can plunge it after the horse settles down, but this time Gabbrielle shook it out of her neck and it landed in the dirt. I don't know if he had to throw it out of if he sanitized it.

He twitched her and I had to hold her by the lead rope in one hand and the twitch in the other, which is no easy feat with a sprained wrist. I turned her head away from my neighbor, and the vet was able to get the needle in successfully that time. I decided that I had to say something to get my pesky neighbor out of our hair or we would just continue to have problems. I could see that she was coming back down the street for another pass, even though her dog had already done its business.

I said out loud to my vet, "She gets upset whenever that neighbor is around. The lady is always sneaking around and scaring my horses. She's nosy."

Almost as if she heard me, she spun around on her heel and turned back toward her own property.

My vet whipped around and looked at my neighbor, who quickly bolted behind her house. He said, "That's not (name), who lived there years ago, is it?"

"No," I said. "She moved out, but the new neighbors aren't much better. There's something about that house. Crazy people keep moving into it."

He burst out laughing and openly agreed with me on that point. I said, "I had to put a camera behind my barn, because every time someone comes over to my house, that lady comes outside pretending to walk her dog, and then hides behind my barn and eavesdrops on my conversations. If I'm out here for an hour talking with someone, she'll stand behind my barn for the entire hour."

"Is she senile?" he asked.

I looked over and saw that she had come around from the opposite side of her house and was listening in, so I spoke a little louder. "No, I think she's obsessive-compulsive. You can't reason with her. She just follows these predictable, repetitive behavior patterns."

I then saw her slink along the side of her house and climb up the side of her porch, then go into her front door. The silly thing about it is that she was just by her back door, but couldn't resist coming around front one more time to get in closer on our conversation.

From there, the vet and I got on a jag telling our mutual stories about the crazy lady who used to live in the house many years ago. It turns out that I wasn't the only person she was stealing from. She used to just drive onto people's ranches and "borrow" their horse trailers without permission. She'd always return them when she was done, but she did get into trouble with the police for it.

By the time it was Bombay's turn, the neighborhood quieted down again and Bombay was a good boy. For the first time in his life, he didn't try to kick the vet while he cleaned his sheath. My boy is growing up. I'm so proud.


fernvalley01 said...

Maybe someone should check the water in that wacky neighbors house! 2 different sets of people in a row living there and both nuts? could be something to it!

Sydney said...

What a pain, neighbors.
I am proud to say all mine are excellent for the vet though I do all my own shots,minus rabies. Cheaper that way. My horses also do not need sedative to have their teeth done. Such good little horsies. The vet will come for them in another month.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

What? You don't grease yourself up with Excalibur and do the sheath cleaning yourself?!

I know mares aren't perfect, but boy howdy, I don't even want to have to do a sheath cleaning. ewww.

Good for you making sure the weirdo neighbor could hear you speaking about her to your vet.


Leah Fry said...

I take mine to the vet (only a mile) for teeth floating, so an assistant holds their heads.

Whenever they're doped up, I take the opportunity for some "deep cleaning," but they're to the point where I can stick a hose up there when they're wide awake. Jaz dances a bit, but not bad.

That's funny that your neighbors have a reputation.

JeniQ said...

Good for you for "raising the volume" so your nosey neighbor could hear you talk about her.

Stephanie said...

So glad you were able to make yourself HEARD! and too funny about the vet remembering the other crazies from that house.
and Bombay sounds like he was a star!

Rising Rainbow said...

We have weird neighbors too but at least their weird from a distance. Not often do they come onto our property. I can't imagine having to put up with that.

Anonymous said...

Good for you!

So, why did he keep asking if Lostine had been sick? I think I missed something....

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm not sure why he kept asking if Lostine was sick. He listened to her gut a long time and said he didn't hear any sand in there. Maybe it's because she's colicked so often in the past? Or maybe because she's 22?

achieve1dream said...

That neighbor woman would infuriate me! I do not like having my privacy invaded! Maybe she's related to the other crazy woman. Is she actually on your property? Can you get her for trespassing?

Glad the horses did so well. :)

cdncowgirl said...

Left you something on my latest post. It will be up Friday morning.

photogchic said...

Your neighbor would drive me nuts!! Can you plant a wall of bamboo??

Jen said...

Seems to be some sort of bizarre neighborhood requirement (the requisite nosy neighbor). We have one too, except that our houses were built far enough apart that he can't catch conversations.
When we added on to the house, and finished up with the outside work I think it almost killed him not to be able to see what we were "up to" anymore. He finally came up with a plan: he showed up dragging a pitiful looking leftover piece of insulation from his construction to see if we needed it. It was ridiculous and pretty darn desperate (the insulation was very ratty looking and had footprints all over it) but kinda funny all in all. Oh to be that bored! :o)

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see. I had completely blanked out on her age - she looks so youthful in your pics! I would think he's looking for any early signs of age-related probs so early action can be taken. Good vet!