Monday, June 1, 2009

Fells to the rescue!

Yesterday Linda's four horses arrived for a little visit, as she's off to a nursing conference. She had to bring them in two loads, and first to arrive were Coco the mini and Albus the donkey. Cute and no trouble at all. Linda, herself, was looking a little flustered, and had a tale to tell about how her Bassett hound, Louie, had a bone stuck fast on his lower jaw. So as well as two 80 mile round trips to my place hauling her horses, she also was going to have to fit in a trip to the vet. She had spoken to the vet, who said she would have to bring Louie in for sedation to cut the bone off. Eek!

Linda said that Louie was pretty calm about the whole thing. I couldn't believe that what went on Louie's jaw wouldn't come off again with a little coaxing, but Linda assured me that it was stuck fast. "Hmmmm," I said, "don't you have a Dremmel?" So when Linda returned with Ducky the quarter horse and Dakota the Appaloosa/Paint, she also brought Louie and her Dremmel. Louie brought his bone.

The only problem was, we couldn't figure out how the darn Dremmel went together. We were about to phone JR when Sara phoned us. They arrived shortly armed with JR's drill with a cutting wheel, a can of non-stick cooking spray (worth a try) and of course the girls. We gave Louis a couple of doses of Rescue Remedy. A short wrestling match on the porch with the can of spray (mmmm, butter flavoured!) confirmed the diagnosis of Acute Stuck Bone. So Sara held Louie's head and Linda sat on him while JR got to work with the power tools. I entertained Summer and Samantha and we watched the action out on the porch through the front window.

The operation was a complete success, and not a drop of Louie's blood was shed!

Ducky and Dakota are able to go out on the track with the Fells, as they already know one another from the months when I lived at Linda's place while I was househunting. However, as they have not been on grazing for years, I only turned them out into the current grazing cell for a few hours yesterday. We will work up to them staying out all the time over a few days, if all goes well. Linda stayed long enough to help me catch them, which was great, as they were a little awkward about it. Only about 10 minutes worth of awkward, though, so that wasn't too bad. They all settled in nicely for the evening. That is once I lowered the bottom strand of tape about 4 inches after I retrieved Coco when he slipped under trying to get at Ducky's feed bucket.

The little guys will have to stay in the visitors' yard, though, as they would just scoot under all my track fencing, and probably get too fat anyway. I will do my best to keep them entertained. A couple of small elm branches blew down this afternoon, so I threw those in for them to nibble. Coco is quite indignant that his big friends are out running around and he is stuck in the yard!

It was interesting to watch Ducky and Dakota exploring the track today. Bruce and Iona were having a lazy morning in the loafing shed, and so D&D stayed quite close to the yards. (Dakota, in particular, loves spending his time in a shed. Maybe Bruce and Iona thought if they left it, he would move in!) They looked a little unsure of where to go with all that freedom, but the were obviously enjoying it.

When the Fells finally decided to head out for a walk, D&D sort of got driven along in front of them. The track is wide, but the Fells have always been pretty bossy with them. Although, I couldn't see that they were overtly driving them, I think the big guys just thought it was wiser to keep moving. And moving, And pretty quickly they got the grand tour! I was out working on the fence, and I think me hammering spooked D&D a little, as they got near the end of the current finished track. They managed to squirt back past the Fells, however I noticed that they didn't have the confidence to go very far from them. Later they came back to where I was working, and I was able to stroke them a bit, hoping that it would work in my favour for catching them later.
When catching time came, they were all still near the cul de sac. Predictably, the big boys didn't want to know. The track is about 25' wide, and I figured I could catch them pretty easily once I got them worked down to the end. The Fells didn't seem to be paying much first! However, when I got them down to the end and had to put a little pressure on to keep them there, the Fells came streaking over and very thoughtfully helped me out. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. Iona stayed near me, Bruce went right to the end, scooped them up and sent them to me, and Iona made sure they didn't squirt past. What a slick operation! D&D were volunteering to get their halters on. Bruce and Iona even seemed to judge how much pressure to use and not overdo it. I was relieved about that as I didn't want the new boys to get pushed into the hot wire. I was pretty amazed by the whole episode - and very grateful. I haven't really heard of horses doing this before. Years ago, I did think that Iona "worked" a horse once or twice when I was playing the catching game in a big field and she was around, but I thought maybe it was wishful thinking. However, this was blatant! I still can't quite believe it.

D&D were great walking back to the yard. They are pretty cool dudes, and amazing calm considering the big change we have thrown at them. Back at the yard, I gave them their buckets. They ate up, then as I was putting them in the pen with the little guys for the night, Coco made a run for their buckets. I guess it was just too much for his sense of justice that after they had been out all day in the pasture, he should have to watch them get big buckets of stuff, too! Fortunately, by the time I got organised with a rope to catch him he had made a beeline for the open feed room, which made him easy to catch. However, I hang my head in shame and admit it took me two attempts to get him back into the pen. What a rascal! I think that I have learned my lesson now about letting Coco see feed buckets outside the pen! I am enjoying this!

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  1. Love the piccies Kris and I absolutely loved reading about your two helping with the catching game...a couple of collie dogs you've got there. Great stuff, will be interesting to see if they help you out again. Horses teach horses! Cool ;-)

  2. Hi Shelley -
    There have been no repeats of this, but also no need to. Ducky and Dakota are now very well behaved. Having said that, I haven't needed to catch them for a couple of days, and I should probably keep that going a little or things might get interesting when Linda comes to collect them.