Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Horse Health Warning!

We get those emails with the warnings of holiday things toxic to our dogs and cats, like essential oils and pointsetta's for cats, and of course dogs and chocolate, turkey skin, holiday decorations and plants.

But does anyone ever put out a holiday warning for horses? I've never seen one, but had the opportunity to experience one first hand.

We're getting our first real snowstorm of the season. I thought "Yeah! Finally I can get some decent Christmas horsey photos without mud!"

So after we got a good 6 inches, I trudged on out with my bag of tricks -- my Santa hat, some red bows, and a new item this year, a strand of gold garland. I've seen photos of horses with the garland wrapped around their halter, and it looks kinda nice.

My first victi.... er I mean model, was Lakota. (Well, actually Whinney was first, but she was so intent on getting her mush I barely got a shot with a bow on her, she couldn't manage to stand still knowing that big bucket of nice warm hay cube mush was waiting for her). So I haltered Lakota up, wrapped the festive garland around her halter, and took a few photos.

So then I added a red bow, and took more shots. Then I took off the bow, and added the Santa hat, kept rearranging her in front of the barn doors for a nice background, and kept snapping away. Jen was very interested in the entire process. In hindsight I think she was assuming there would be cookies involved and wanted in on the deal.

So Lakota is tied up, looking horribly bored and wishing her annual torture to be over, and Jen was standing inside peeking around the corner, and looking interested in Lakota's adornments. I thought that would make a cute photo, she had her neck all arched, stretched out sniffing Lakota, so I stepped back and commenced to shooting and missing most of the shots because of the camera delay

Then suddenly, Jen reached out, grabbed the garland off Lakota's halter, and took off with it! I went after her, attempting to grab it out of her mouth, but she was furiously munching it down! I then started to get pretty worried, as I'm chasing a non-haltered previously abused mare down who is frantically chewing a 2 foot long strand of garland and gnoshing it down as fast as she can before the insane human catches her (as if I actually could outrun a horse). It was something out of an Abbott and Costello movie, as Jen kept running around one side of the barn, I came out the other door to head her off, and she spun around and wheeled off the other way, still chewing, and repeat a half dozen times. The next thing I know, I see nothing hanging out of her mouth. Uh-oh.

I am now mentally dialing the vet to find out how badly I should worry about 2 feet of garland down the hatch of a 14.1H mare. Lakota, in the meantime, has pulled loose (her lead was only draped over a ring, she wasn't tied tight), because the insane human must certainly be after her next. She is running off trailing her lead, in a rope halter, with garland remnants trailing from her head. I put her out of my mind at the moment, because I know that if she steps on her lead she'll just stop and give to the pressure and not freak out, which of course she did, she is such a good girl.

But Lakota is getting a little worked up because her herdmate has been captured by the insane 2-legged, and has poor Jen by the mouth (still sans halter), reaching into her cavernous gob digging out wads of garland.

Jen took exception to the intrusion, and was running backward, while I've got her lower jaw in my left hand and my right arm reaching into her mouth as far as I can without getting bit. I did get munched once, and when I yelled OUCH!!! she ran faster (backward). I pulled a couple of wads out, then had the presence of mind to grab a halter. It took a bit to convince her to let me halter her, but she eventually (after some impromptu roundpen-esque body language quick change of directions until she stopped moving). I haltered her, then reached in and pulled out a couple more gobs. When I got far enough back to start hitting hay, I knew I had gotten it all. I never saw her swallow, so I'm pretty sure I got all of it, and even had to pull bits of the plastic pieces off her tongue and the roof of her mouth. Jens' mouth is pretty messed up and lots of scar tissue, from whatever reason, harsh bit in harsh hands and/or lack of dental care, and she holds big gobs of hay in the sides of her mouth, then spits them out in the water tank (yuck). So once I got to hay I was pretty convinced I had all of it.

That was my afternoon. I then caught Lakota, re-dressed her up, and thats when I think I got some pretty decent shots. I did ditch the darned garland, though!


Funder said...

I laughed so loud my husband asked what I was reading! Glad you fished that tasty tinsel out of Jen's throat, though!

LJB said...

Yikes! And amazing that Jen let you catch her at all -- must be she understood your intent! LOL

So what can we use for garlands and pretty decorations that won't attract the mouths of horses???

Michelle said...

Lasell -- try using something that doesn't look like hay, LOL!