The other day it was cold and windy outside, which makes for a slow business day. Luckily, I have my personal horses close by. It was a great opportunity to take care of the things I had neglected such as; dentals, vaccinations, deworming, sheath cleaning, clipping, doing an eye exam, etc. It was really fun AND mostly SATISFYING to finally have them in top shape for the upcoming summer of roping and riding. My grey horse (Trey) had been throwing his head when I was holding him back (in the roping box), and so I suspected he had sharp molar points. Yep, sure enough. So the next time I roped, there was a noticeable difference, and improvement in his demeanor and performance. Believe me, I was watching very closely to evaluate what difference it would make. My other geldings, AL and Jim, hadn't had their sheaths cleaned for over a year. I am a bit embarrassed to say the they had very large "beans" in their urethral orificees!! If you're not familiar with that, call me and I will explain it to you. But needless to say, I felt better every time they urinated, as I am sure they did.
There is a new vaccine that combines Brain fever, Tetanus, Influenza, rhinopneumonitis, and West Nile virus in one injection! It is $10 less also, what a bonus (finally)! And the protection lasts for over a year. So even this early in the year we can vaccinate and be assured that all will be well for the summer. I also felt much better about just stabbing my horses just once, instead of 3 times! (second bonus!)
While I had them in the clinic, and had the time, I took my opthalmoscope and looked at the inner structures of their eyes. I had just attended an opthalmology seminar (eyes) and so I was "up to speed" and wanting to see something strange. Luckily, I didn't see anything abnormal, which is a relief. So the next time Al, my old bay, spooks at the same rock he has spooked at for 15 years on Antelope Island, I will know that it is not because of any vision problem!
As I stood back and looked at them, I took out my clippers and clipped the long fetlock hairs that catch all of the mud in the spring, trimmed manes, bridal paths, whiskers, and anything that looked out of place. This was no "show clip", but for a old vet and roper it was pretty "shiny".
So with all of the annual "spring work" done on my horses, I feel really good about how they will perform, knowing that there are no obvious physical impediments. I had finished shoeing them, and am up to date on that also (extremely important). So guess what? I am left without excuse, any performance deficiencies that might arise in the next few months will probably be MINE!
I feel a pretty good level of satisfaction knowing my horses are all tuned up, fed well, comfortable when they are asked to perform, and in optimum health.
If you have been thinking that you need to get the same "stuff" done for your horse, come in now while business is slow. That way I can lend you my clippers, we can look in those eyes, you'll save $10, and we can take all the time we need. Then you can have that feeling of satisfaction that all is well and you're ready to go!