The never-ending abscess is mostly gone, I think. I hope. I hopped on her on Sunday for the first ride in weeks and I might have felt a misstep or two but I think we’ll be back into it properly over the next week or so.
We’re back to the beginning with picking up hooves though, the abscess treatment has really caused Birdie to regress in her willingness to let me do anything with her hooves, especially her back ones. I mentioned in this post here about trying to poultice her hoof after the farrier visited and having to give up due to her starting to kick. Unfortunately, before we called it quits, she connected with my grazing owner’s ear with one of her kicks. At the time she said she was fine and it barely got her, but after a week with a mild headache that wasn’t ending she went to the doctor who sent her for scans and it turned out that she had a tiny fracture above her ear. I obviously felt terrible and apologised profusely and she was as kind as one could be in this situation but I still feel so bad about it. She has already healed and is fine now but it really drilled home how careful you need to be with a stressed horse who doesn’t want you touching her hooves. I now always wear my helmet when doing anything that deals with her hooves and will keep doing that until I’m absolutely sure she won’t do anything like that again.
It’s going to be a bit of a journey back to her getting over the angst around having her hooves dealt with. She’s not an easy going horse who will accept what you are doing quietly or be bullied into it. You really have to get her to trust you for her to allow something and to work with you. We have already had some progress though, I can now touch all over her legs and hooves with no issues as long as I don’t try to pick them up but as soon I ask her to lift them up, she starts getting stressed and paces all over the place. I can eventually get her to lift her front hooves but the back ones are still a no-go.
At one point while asking her to lift the back ones, I obviously pushed her too far because she pulled back, breaking the bailing twine and cutting the inside of her nose somehow in the process. I felt terrible again and was terrified she had done some real damage to herself but after I got her calmed down and irrigated her nose with saline I could see that it was just a shallow cut in her nasal passage. It clotted up quickly so I spread some antibiotic cream on it and gave her lots of pats and apologised profusely. It’s going to be a long journey I think, but we’ll get there.
Like I said above, Birdie isn’t the easiest going of horses. She’s opinionated and tries to dominate and doesn’t trust easily. I’ve been doing tons of groundwork with her to get her to trust and connect with me and I think it’s finally starting to happen. Her ground manners (aside from the hooves) are so much better and she doesn’t pace endlessly when taken from her mates anymore. She actually wants to spend time with me instead of going back to the paddock and her friends. She’s also started to come over to me in the paddock instead of walking away and will leave her horsey mates and follow me around when I’m doing stuff in the paddock so I think we’re finally turning a corner.