Monday, April 30, 2012

The Ben Report, 4/30: The Joy of Placid

Ben is placid. Placid, placid, placid. Calm, quiet, laidback, easygoing, mild-mannered, relaxed. Placid.

Which is a darn good thing because he’s going to need every scrap of placidity to retain his and my sanity for the next couple of months.

He got vet-checked on Friday, and the assessment was good: Some pitting edema and heat still present, but coming along very well. Kelly had her assistant trot him a few steps in the driveway and you could see he wasn’t right, but he wasn’t blatantly wrong.

Now, Friday was viciously windy and not very warm. There’s Ben, being led out from long confinement by someone he doesn’t know well and asked to trot into and away from biting wind. A recipe for boinking bouncing joint-stressing capering disaster, right? Ben was blase through the whole thing. “Trot? Yeh, whatever. Stop? No problem. Stand here? Fine by me.”

 So, that’s the good news. The bad news? He still has to stay imprisoned for at least another month. Oh, his out of the slammer time has increased from a few minutes’ hand-grazing while I hose his fetlock to small amounts of hand-walking. Five whole minutes per day for the first week! Up to ten next week! Woo-hoo! Continue the Previcox, continue the Surpass, continue the cold hosing. Re-vet-check in four weeks, and if all systems are still go, then we can maybe think about allowing him some turnout at last, at long last!

 Turnout: Walking him down to the run-in and closing him into one of the stalls thereof, with Commander confined in the area in front of and beside the shed so he can’t get out of Ben’s sight, thus sending the big doofus into a frenzy of abandonment terror. Turnout in there for maybe an hour at first. Because, as calm, as easygoing, as placid as he is, when he’s finally let off the lead, even if it’s only into 20 feet by 30 of freedom, he’s gonna boink. I know him, and I know it. But at least he’ll get some fresh air, some time outside the barn, some mutual grooming and face-fighting good times with his good buddy Commander.

 In the meantime, we walk. Saturday and Sunday, the wind continued biting and Ben continued calm – eager to go, to look all around, to inhale the outside air, to stare greedily at the grass, but obediently earthbound. Our exciting routine is twice around the big bank barn, pause to cold-hose and gobble grass; once or twice more around the barn, pause to hose and gobble again; back inside. I plan to increase the circuits gradually till we hit the magic ten-minute mark, then check with the vet about enlarging the time if Ben tolerates it well.

 Ben clearly enjoys these limited outings, even when he isn’t inhaling greenery. When I turn him up the slope to enter the barn he stops dead, looks mournfully at me, looks all around at the wonderful world he’s being dragged away from; I break his feet loose by turning him aside, then lead my placidly resigned horse back into captivity.

 And so it goes. Placidly.


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