Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bombay and I Get Back to Work

I'm finally feeling well enough after my series of illnesses to start doing something physical. I took a couple of sick days last week. My mother and uncle were coming to take me out to lunch as an early birthday gift. I contemplated canceling, but my illness wasn't contagious and I thought I could sit through one lunch without too many repercussions to my health. I thought it would do me good to get out.

That backfired when my mother found out that I was on a sick day, and she decided she wanted to stick around and socialize most of the afternoon. I was feeling weak and tired and really needed to climb into bed, but I didn't want to be rude. When they did finally leave, I passed out. The visit zapped more energy out of me that I expected.

By Saturday I felt strong enough to run some errands in the city, so I prepared for a trail ride on Sunday morning. I really wanted to take Bombay, because it has been so long since he's been out. You may recall that he's been out of commission after a couple of accidents in which he fell in the trailer and cut up his legs. I decided to prevent that by wrapping his legs in polo wraps and then wrapping shipping boots around those.

However, after 45 minutes of struggling to just wrap one leg, I gave up. No matter which way I rolled and unrolled the wrap, I always ended up with the Velcro strap either on the inside or upside down. My trainer taught me how to apply them years ago, but the drugs I'm taking to control my blood pressure and help me sleep make me fuzzy in the head and a task as simple as applying leg wraps was just too complex for me. I couldn't just put the shipping boots on, because they are too large (despite being the smallest size) and slip down.

I decided to just put him in his usual splint boots and Old Macs and see if he'll load into the trailer. He did after a few false starts and I closed the center divider on him. I stayed with him in the trailer to see how he would behave. He was standing fairly quiet, so I praised him.

Then it happened. I could see him bringing all four hooves close together as he backed up as far as he could in the trailer slot, then his head came up over the center divider, then he reared up and tried to jump it, getting his front leg caught over it. There was a lot of thrashing around and then he settled down on all fours again. I opened the center divider and he turned around so that he was facing out the back of the trailer, but he was shaking all over and too afraid to jump out. I had to put pressure on him to get him out.

I realized that he was more traumatized regarding those bad trailering experiences than I thought, and it is just too soon to take him anywhere without risking further injury and more vet bills. I changed my plans and decided to ride him in the round pen at home. What he needs is to start over from scratch and slowly build his confidence by stepping out of his comfort zone in smaller increments.

However, my nosy neighbors were being a pain in my neck, as usual, taking an hour to get into their truck to get to church. Here's the sound of a normal couple leaving for church: Front door closes, click of a key as it turns in the lock, driver's door and passenger door open and close, engine starts, rrrrrrrrrrrrrr as they drive down the street.

Then there's my neighbors: SLAM, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM (multiply this by 20), engine starts, loose belt squeals, truck starts to back up, but wait, they forgot something, truck pulls forward, SLAM, engine is turned off, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM... engine starts, belt squeals, engine stops, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM... engine starts, belt squeals, truck backs up, drives down the street, turns around, comes back, engine stops, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM, SLAM...

I don't pay much attention to what they are doing, but it's impossible to miss the noise that goes along with it. Every once in a while I glance over to see what the latest slam was about, and I'll see them standing by the truck staring at me. I usually have to go in the house before they will finally leave for church. It's like whatever I'm doing is always more interesting to them than going to church, and so they won't leave until I'm no longer doing something.

They did finally drive off, and my other neighbor was kind enough to send her roofers home for the holiday weekend so I didn't have to compete with that activity. The outhouse is still up against my front yard fence though, so they'll be back.

I lunged Bombay in the round pen. As he passed the horse trailer, he bucked and kicked out at it. He's really got an attitude problem when it comes to that trailer. Then I rode him and found that he forgot all about WHOA. Good thing I didn't take him out on the trail. It would be nice to have a horse who remembers everything after a long hiatus, but the reality is that time away from work is not a good thing when it comes to horses. We have a lot of retraining ahead of us.

Gabbrielle started rubbing on a fence panel so hard that I could see she was going to break it in half. She was ignoring my verbal commands to get off the fence and I didn't have any rocks in my pocket to throw at her, so I had to race Bombay over to the gate, open it and race out of the round pen to chase her off. We rode for a while around the paddock, then returned to trailering.

He refused to put more than his two front feet in, because he feared me closing the divider on him again. So, I closed the divider and loaded him in the back with the window open so he could hang his head out. He was much more comfortable with that, but it's not safe to pull a trailer with just one horse in the tail slot. It puts the weight out of balance. I would have to load another horse in the front slot and practice driving around that way.

However, I had no more energy left and had to call it day with Bombay. Though I didn't get a trail ride, at least I know where he stands and where I can safely work with him without having to worry about thousand-dollar wrecks.

I put the horse away and walked into the house to find my husband crippled in a back brace. He didn't even do anything and he got hurt. He was just sitting in his desk chair and his back gave out. Now he's getting around the house on a crutch with the pain killer of a glass of gin. It doesn't look good. I wish he had better health insurance. We're still paying off the bills from when he sprained his wrist. Back pain is the worst. It takes a long time to get past it.

In other news, Scrappy the Wonder Dog is in the doghouse. He jumped up on my son's desk and ate his entire Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. He's been really good about staying away from people food up until that incident. Now he's going nuts sniffing out all the locations where food most recently rested, licking table tops and climbing on dressers. I guess he's all better after his surgery, but yikes! Now he's a handful. It would be so much easier if he were still drugged out like the rest of us.


Breathe said...

Poor Bombay! Sounds like the rehab will help. We load Lily in the rear of the trailer because she bolts out, but I never though of what I'll do if I just have one horse and it's her.


Dogs really can't resist philly cheese steak. It's like dog alfalfa. :)

Glad you are on the mend and got some horse time in. Lily loses her whoa after a few weeks off. Smokey loses steering and whoa. Guess we'll just have to ride!

fernvalley01 said...

Wow it never stops! Glad you are feeling better , and getting somwhere with Bombay.I wonder why he thinks he should try to jump the divider? And Scrappy stealing food , no no! but as you say at least he is well

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Naughty Scrappy. Dobbie did something similar once right after I adopted her. I had some pizza on my bedside table and she was on the bed. I went into the bathroom and came back to her eating my pizza. gah!
She got yelled at for that and hasn't bothered anyone's food since then. But I don't leave food within her reach just to be safe and not to tempt her.

I'm sorry you're hubby is siffering from back pain. That's the worst! I hope he feels better soon. And I'm glad you're beginning to feel good enough, especially to get out and ride.

Poor Bombay. If only he could just relax about the whole trailering thing.


Paint Girl said...

It is always so scary when horses get scared in the trailer. I sure hope Bombay can learn to relax and not be so afraid of it. I am sure he will, it will just take some time!
I have just started trailer training my filly. I can't believe how well she did on her first day! Hopefully it stays that way.
I am glad you are feeling better!

achieve1dream said...

I feel for your husband as I just had a battle with back pain. I got muscles relaxers from the doc and used ice on it. Lots and lots of rest. It took about a week to get better. I still have issues with it, but it's much better. I hope he heals quickly.

Poor Bombay. I hate that he's scared of the trailer now. I'm sure you'll be able to get him over it with time. It's scary when they start doing stupid stuff in it.

I'm glad Scrappy is feeling better. That sucks about the stealing food though. I guess that's one of the bad parts of adopting an older dog is dealing with the lack of training, but it's still worth it because you saved his life.

I hope you feel better soon.

Jeni said...

I'm glad you figured it out with Bombay and now just have to get him through it.

I'm giggling at your dog... He'll come around I'm sure.