Sunday, 6 September 2009

Feets for treats

Today was a little stressful again for Quadi.

He'd had a good night in as far as I can gather. Not much hay remained and several signs that he'd had a good lie down and snooze. Very grumpy mind you, doesn't matter what I do with him, it's just not the same as working and getting out and about. He has taken to having his neck muscles slapped! It's very strange, strapping him with the palm of your hand elicits the same nose-twitching and neck-arching that scratching does. I even stuck the points of my knuckles above his scapula and he was in heaven. So he's definitely tight through there. An area we have yet to fully unlock but I think has worsened with all the horrible things happening to the poor boy just now!

Because I haven't my own transport thus far, Kate offered to drop him off at Horsepital tonight in order that he's ready for examination tomorrow, and she can collect us on the way home :)

I didn't feel nervous about travelling him today as he was such a superstar on Friday. I prepared some Magic feed (just regular mix, not something he's ever fed so very tempting!) and my pockets were brimming with herb treats. Suited and booted, we headed for the trailer. He was understandably apprehensive but did advance and retreat, making progress each time. But we never really progressed. The trailer doesn't bother him, it lovely and light and airy inside and he clearly had no problem being in there. I think we was more concerned with where he was headed! We explained that he was going to the vets but no horribleness this time, only one injection for sedation and that would be it. We also explained that horses who have their feet in the trailer get edible prizes...Feets for Treats. And that horses standing outside get no treats, no prizes for being outside the trailer!

He wasn't buying it, eventually he stopped responding to treats. We decided to take a few steps back and opened up the partition as much as it would allow with the aim of walking him through a few times. This proved equally fruitless! We were offered a small Shetland to give him a lead through, said Shetland is particularly good at this task and Quadi just adores Shetties. Just not enough to go into the trailer in this instance.

I remembered when he was collected from the vet in Devon that our lovely transporter used a lunge line around his back end to encourage him forwards. At this point Quadi was stood on the ramp of the trailer with a blank expression on his face. He wasn't going to play anymore. We figured we had to apply a little pressure but obviously being careful in doing this, so I fetched a lunge line. I hooked it into the side of the trailer and had it ready around his bottom, the idea being it would only come into play when he backed into it and pressure wasn't being applied to his headcollar. Although really we were using food to encourage him in, I don't think anyone's ever loaded a horse by dragging it in by the head!

Well, he backed off and stepped into the line. I held it so that there was no slack but not firm against him. He paused and walked in! I deftly applied the bum bar and we were set, much praise for a clever pony! I don't think we would have been so successful using the line earlier, but I'm so pleased that he complied knowing that we probably headed to the V.E.T.

He travelled beautifully and unloaded calmly, settled into his stable with a mouthful of hay and that's where I've left him for thie night. We resume investigations tomorrow afternoon.

I really want an answer, I have a horrid feeling we'll get nowhere and they'll assume soft tissue injury with lengthy box rest.

Also visited our new yard today, after tomorrow and hopefully a diagnosis the details of our move should be clearer.


  1. Safi used to be a pain loading until after watching us faff about for 1/2 an hour as Safi happily squirmed everywhere and leapt and avoided or just planted herself my YO came out, said, mind if I try something... Got a lunge whip and just gave it an almighty crack on the floor behind her - Saf was on the box before I was. Helps I guess only with certain horses and is dependant on why they won't load - wouldn't work if they're genuinely scared or not used to it....I think If I'd tried that with B she'd never, ever have forgiven me.

    What are they actually going to do with Q tomorrow?

  2. I have previously employed the trick of using a dressage whip to tickle each hind heel in turn when he was reluctant to walk forwards. Sadly Quadi doesn't respond to cracks of the whip, he's very 'resilient' on the lunge!

    I think we can practice more with positive reinforcement once this is all over with, and keep a lunge line to hand just in case. He responded calmly to it which is the main thing, he understood that we really needed him in that trailer.

    Tomorrow is x-rays and ultrasound, we just ran out of time on Friday. We really have nowhere to go after that.

  3. Au contraire you could still have the joys of a bone scan, or mri, or gait analysis, or thermography....depends on the deepness of your insurers pockets and what the nearest vet hospital have available!

    Funny what works on the persuasion front - Bally won't entertain the idea of food / treats to make her load at all, it's just been an ask and release, let her work it out - I know damn well that upping the pressure on her would just make her fight. It's good that he got the lungeline idea straight away, means it's still do-able if you had to manage on your own :-)

  4. Very true, but the nearest such facilities are in Glasgow and that's probably not an option in terms of my vet bill maximum claim limit, and time and logistics. A sad but true fact :( I shan't worry about that until it is something to worry about!

    Quadi is obsessed with food. It ties in with the anecdotal ties with realyl foodie horses and their predisposition to things like ulcers > leaky gut > laminitis. He could probably do such things without the food but it's such a reward to him it makes life a lot easier! Glad we have a Plan B in the form of the lunge line though.

    I think mares are often a little sharper than geldings, which is perhaps why Bally can't be bribed ;)

  5. It's always hard to tell how much pressure, or what sort, to put on to get past an impasse - each horse is different and what works with one may really upset another. Glad you were able to work out a way to get him on the box, and best of luck with the examination!