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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Living on a Farm is Traumatic Part I

I probably had this epiphany a while ago and just never bothered to write it down. But it's totally true. We are the sum of our memories, and our past makes us who we are today, and I gotta tell ya: living on a farm is a traumatic life experience. If you've never lived on a farm, well... you might be lucky, but you might have also missed out on some cool shit. Like, watching your pony get his teeth shaved, and you were close enough to breathe in the enamel dust. (Btw, the smell of tooth dust is not very pleasant... at all.) Although, I would have to say the smell of pony pee is much worse. Ever heard that term "I gotta pee like a race horse"? Yeah, there's a reason that saying came into being. Our two stalls had your basic dirt floor covered in pine shavings. Being as ponies don't move around a lot in stalls, they usually pee in the same exact place. Their pee is like turning on a garden hose. And after a while, that garden hose of urine is going to wear a nice big hole in that dirt. And then, when it's time for you to clean that stall, where is all the pee? You guessed it. The pine shavings are soaked to the brim, deep in that hole. Along with some urine mud. Yeah, that's right: urine mud. Yeah, good memories, that. *shivers*.
I should point out though, that even though I grew up on a farm, it wasn't exactly a farm. More like... a large area filled with a bunch of animals. So yeah, I didn't milk cows, or birth cows, or get eggs from chickens or that kind of stuff. Oh-ho-oh I'd have much better stories if that was the case. But no, we just had dogs, cats, ducks, goats, rabbits, and ponies. At one time, we had llamas too. First time I got thrown off a llama I never wanted back on. Those things can be vicious, spitting on you and crap. We had nice ones, but we had some pissy ones too. We switched to ponies for dad's business and they're much more docile.
Have you ever watched an animal die? If so, you know how traumatic it can be. Especially if that's an animal you've known for almost your whole life. My parents were at Costco, and I looked out the window and noticed Rambo, one of our Shetland ponies, sitting on his knees and kind of biting his shoulder in jerky motions. Concerned, I went out to take a look. He was ignoring me, and he kept biting his shoulder. Not like it was an itch, but like he was in pain, maybe. I ran back inside and grabbed a hoagie roll, which most ponies would just love, but he didn't eat it. I was getting scared, and tried to find the phone number to Beau, our vet, in dad's office, but couldn't. I settled for calling my parents. I told them I thought Rambo might have colic, but only because that's the only sickness I knew of that ponies could have. In retrospect, he didn't have any signs of colic. (Colic in ponies can be very dangerous since they can't vomit. If their intestines get blocked, they could die). They told me they would be home soon and would check him out then. So, I went back out there and just knelled down next to him and petted him. Rambo's head was on ground and he was on his side, now. His breathing was labored and very shallow. I could barely even tell if he was breathing. Then, he was gone. Right before my parents got home. They called Beau, and I told my parents that I didn't think he was breathing anymore. Beau said it might have been an aneurysm. Tough stuff for a kid to deal with.
And then there was the time were we almost did lose a pony to colic. Snickers was our amazingly awesome, sweetest, and prettiest pony ever. He'd apparently done rodeo clown things before settling in with us, so he was a perfect no-fear type of pony. Nothing could spook him (besides the opening of an umbrella), and that was perfect for the job we needed him to do. That, and he was a pinto. Perfect for pictures. I loved Snickers to death. But one day, he got colic and it was bad. We had our vet come out to treat him. The solution to it, basically, was to flush his system with IV fluid when it couldn't go away by itself. He was in the horse trailer for a long time, being flushed with fluids, but Beau said that he just wasn't getting any better. It was getting late at night, and he thought it best to put Snickers down. But, he had to take his daughter home first. While he was gone, we all cried. It was a horrible thing. Snickers was suffering, and he'd been so good to us. But, we had to accept that he was just really sick and this was the best way. Then, Beau came back, and checked his vitals again. It was a miracle... Snickers was turning the corner and getting better. The fact that Beau had to leave and come back... saved Snickers's life.
I've got more stories... but we'll save them for another time. I'm feeling a bit sad at the moment.
Oh, I should probably say that Snickers lived a long, good life. We retired him a bit later and he lived out his remaining days in relaxation not having to work all the time anymore. I think he developed Cushings, and we finally had to put him down, but he was quite old for a pony... 26 or 28 I think. A VERY long life. I still miss Snick-snick.

                                                          Yeah that's me, on Snickers

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