Work

Teddy aka “Dumb Ass”

December 27, 2007

Well, my new little job is never boring. Whether it’s braving the weather (it was snowing sideways the other day), or dealing with a person who has specific and exhaustive expectations for the care of their horse (3 blankets and a weather chart?) or dealing with a gi-normous brat, there’s always something.

But last night took the cake. Absolutely.

The players:

Teddy: Red, warmblood, doesn’t get ridden much since his “girl” is at college. He jumps anything and is the darling of his owners, worth about 50k, 17.1 hands, (that’s 5’7″ at the shoulder), easy going.

Suzie: Brown Thoroughbred, 16.2 hands, chronically lame, doesn’t get ridden ever. H.O.T and excitable. Retarded. Owners are absentee. 12k

Elmo: Black Thoroughbred, 17 hands, injured and bored. N.A.U.G.H.T.Y horse. A troublemaker.

Heidi: 5’2″, cold, fighting a cold and wishing she didn’t have to walk horses in 18 degree weather. Hating the wind and the frozen, snowy/icy ground.

Scooby: 1 year old boxer, running in circles around everyone and occasionally eating a horse turd. Yes, eating. Dogs are gross.

Mr. C: Boarder with slow reflexes who is worthless in a crisis.

Dan: Owner of the barn, irreplaceable in a crisis.

Jenny: My boss/barn manager

So. Shall we begin?

Heidi, Teddy, Suzie and Scooby are walking in to the barn from the paddock. Teddy is desperately trying to eat ANYTHING in his path and will not listen to Heidi. Suzie is trying to run in circles around Heidi, Teddy & Scooby. Scooby is being an ass and not listening.

I’m in the middle of these two horses. Left arm pulling Teddy forward, right arm holding Suzie back. A normal 6 minute walk is turning into 20. She’s throwing her head and fighting when all of the sudden her lead releases. Gremlins? All I know is I’m standing there holding a lead and Teddy who is completely ignoring me. She throws her head and gallops off. Bad idea. There is snow/ice on the ground and she’s wearing metal shoes. All I can see is her running onto the main road, slipping on the ice and breaking her leg. Teddy won’t listen and now Suzie is running back and forth in front of Elmo’s run and they are getting loud.

I really didn’t want to get fired yesterday and I can’t drop one horse to deal with the other so there I am. I walk toward Suzie slowly. Note: When catching a loose horse, you never run. You move slowly and calmly. Acting like you don’t care they are loose and talk softly.  IF you chase them, they will think it’s a game and they move a hell of a lot faster than we do.

She runs back and forth. I almost catch her and don’t paying close attention to Teddy. Until I feel a tug on my left arm. He and Elmo are nose to nose. They squeal, they go up and Teddy comes down with his foreleg through a wire gate. His knee is hooked over the metal frame bar and we are freakin’ screwed. At this point, Suzie doesn’t matter. He’s fighting this gate, rearing and pulling and I’m screaming for Jenny. I’m imagining broken pastern, sliced tendons, dislocated shoulder, you name it and Mr. C is gawking. Must have been quite the show. I yelled at him to get Jenny, Dan came running with wire cutters and by the time everyone got there I had Teddy calm. Dan cut a section out of the gate, Jenny helped keep Teddy still and when he reared up again his leg came free. And dangled. That’s not ok. Horses don’t “dangle” their front legs. Mr. C continued to stare.

But when we checked Teddy, the wonder horse? Totally fine. Scraped up, sure, but fine. And he’ll be sore for a few days. I was shaking like a leaf and more than a little embarrassed to have screamed so loud and frantically.  But there was no way I was leaving Teddy and thank G_d there were the right people around at the right moment. Mr. C apologized for slow reflexes.  Slow?  Try none.

Teddy got wrapped up, loaded up on bute and he’s fine. Dan went home to deal with his septic and get ready for 70 people at his house for a holiday party, Jenny went home to get ready for the party, I finished my shift and we all met up later at the party where the first thing Jenny said was “You aren’t going to quit because of this are you?” HUH? I replied, “You aren’t going to fire me because of this are you?” We laughed. And after all that excitement, it looks like I fit in better than I thought.

But, damn. Teddy. What a dumbass. Albeit a really pretty one.

  • Something I learned from our own horse ownership is that horses are stupid. They can and will injure themselves ina padded room. My wife remarks that it is amazing that they have even survived as a species.

    Humans caring for them should never be penalized when horses do dumb things and hurt themselves. Humans should be punished if they do dumb things, cruel things, or negligent things that will predictably lead to horse injuries (like leaving the gate open or permitting the 3-yrear old children, dogs and horses to all “play” together in the same paddock).

  • I’ve told my husband, who doesn’t know much about horses, that these horses are like 1500 pound 3 year olds.

    Amazing.

    Still, horse movies where the horse does acts of brilliance make me giggle.