Gandalf Who?

I got the boys’ Coggins papers today, negative of course. It’s nice to have that out of the way, although I never really worry about the results. But I couldn’t help being amused at the cute vet tech’s spelling of the names. (OK, grammar police .. does “cute” refer to the vet tech, or her spelling?) That’s okay, Heather; you can spell my horses’ names any way you want, as long as … oh .. never mind.

Actually, I should give her credit for 1.5 out of 3. “Arthur” was a no-brainer. If she’d screwed that one up, it would be pretty obvious why she was hired. (Actually, in all fairness, I should say that, spelling aside, she was extremely competent and efficient in addition to being easy on the eyes.) And, really, “Don’t Cross Bow” was an understandable error. With a cutesy name like that, if you don’t ask, it’s really a tossup whether the “w” belongs or not.

But “Shadow Facts”? Either she’s even more out of touch with popular culture than I am, or she’s such a Tolkien fan that she knew he couldn’t be “Shadowfax” because he’s the wrong color. In my own defense, I’ll just say that when I named him 17 years ago, not many people even knew who Shadowfax was, let alone what color he was. (And, speaking of color, it was a little surprising that she listed both of the chestnuts’ color as “brown”.)

And, as long as I’m babbling about horses, I suppose it’s time for a Crossbo update. I’m sure you’re all waiting for reports of how much fun I’m having with this awesome horse that has the Bitch Pack drooling before they’ve even met him in the flesh. (Julie, you’re right, he is a hunka hunka burning horse). Unfortunately, whoever said Murphy couldn’t have been a horseman because he was too optimistic was right. I’ve only managed one uneventful ride on Crossbo before the big beautiful SOB tried to cut his foot off.

He’s got a real ugly deep gash on one hoof, probably a wire cut. The vet who looked at it about ten days ago said that it was healing nicely, and in two weeks I would never even know it had been there. For that to be true, it needs to do a hell of a lot more healing in the next 4 days than it’s done in the last 10. And realistically, at best it’s going to leave an impressive scar; there’s no way I’ll “never know it was there”. But it does seem to be healing, although probably more slowly than the vet predicted.

Surprisingly, he doesn’t seem lame on it at all. He’s been blasting around the pasture like he doesn’t know it’s there. But somehow I just don’t feel good about riding a horse with an injury that I don’t even like to look at closely.

The possible silver lining to this is that, if this is any clue as to his overall temperament, he’s even nicer than he looks. One of my favorite trainers says “They all go in a snaffle until you hunt ’em”, and it’s true that hunting often reveals some excitability in an otherwise calm horse. But Crossbo’s patience with this injury and treatment really makes me feel good about him. I can’t claim he’s been a perfect angel. (Note: when applying ointment to the back of a hoof, even if it looks like the easiest way to approach it is from in front, remember that when he jerks that foot up and his knee catches you in the jaw, it will hurt). But he’s been a hell of a lot more tolerant than I would be if I was sliced open like that. He was past due for shoes before the injury, and I’d called the farrier before it happened. When he showed up after the injury, I was really pessimistic about the chances of him being able to hold that foot up long enough to nail a shoe on it. I really expected him to recommend just pulling the shoes and coming back after it healed. But Crossbo was a real trooper; he didn’t complain a bit. I also have to give some credit to Brian for making it as painless as possible; at one point he was kneeling and holding Crossbo’s leg on his knees as he nailed the shoe on.

With luck, and no more return visits from Mr. Murphy, maybe I’ll have better news in another couple of weeks. In the meantime, I guess I need to make sure Arthur knows he’s not totally retired.

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