Mya the Wonder Pony has been demanding treats every time she sees me. “Demanding” may be too strong a word, since Mya is quite polite about it, standing a few feet back, tossing her head, and nickering. But for her that’s pretty demonstrative, and I like it.
Thursday night, Mya gave me a scare when she wasn’t interested in hay. Here we go again, I thought. I was on tenterhooks for months after she got kicked in the head in January. Finally, after five months of close observation and decreasing amounts of treatment, I thought I finally had her cured. My heart sank the other night then when it looked like she had relapsed. As it turned out, Thursday night was easy compared to Friday morning. I got her interested in hay quite easily that first night, but the next day she only showed faint interest in eating at all.
I’ve been working with my friend Doug “Doc” Hammill on an article for Rural Heritage magazine. When I talked to him Friday morning, I let him know I was distracted because of Mya’s situation. He immediately began asking questions, and I remembered that while Doc is now a clinician teaching people to work their horses more naturally, his first career was as a veterinarian. Doc gave me pointers on using a stethoscope for diagnosis, but the most important thing he said came at the end. “Keep an open mind when you’re next with her, Jenifer.” He was cautioning me that I was assuming a relapse when instead I could be dealing with something new and different.
After we finished talking, I went out to see Mya and tried to put out of my mind what I thought was wrong. I realized from watching her with fresh eyes that she was in pain, though not necessarily the colicky variety since she’d been passing manure. So I treated her for pain, and within twenty minutes she was eating hay again. I treated her three more times during the next twenty hours, and she finally seemed back to normal.
When I talked to Doc next, he asked how Mya was. I told him she had an attitude, and he said, “Good!” I agree. I’ll take “demanding” over her being in pain any day!
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2011