The last 4 days have been really stressful - We have had a lot of bushfires ablaze in New South Wales, and Victoria.
Sadly, Victoria's death toll is well over 100 and expected to rise.
There has been a substantial fire burning about 10 kilometres away from where Sante is agisted, which has been causing me nothing but greif & worry for the last 3 days. Temperatures have been around the 40 degrees (celcius) mark, and with the road closures and smoke, I haven't been able to go down and check on him.
The news of the bushfires has been very traumatic, its been quite horrific in victoria, and all we are hearing are heatbreaking story after hearbreaking story - I decided that today i would get down and spend the day with Sante, to clear my head.
When i saw in on Friday, he was lame - I wasn't surprised - I'd just put him back into the paddock with the rest of his buddies (he's been out due to injury) so I'm not suprised that he got a bit excited..
So I went to see him today - and lo & behold, still lame.
The day started out badly - little bugger wouldn't have a bar of me - didn't acknowledge my prescence until i tagged him on the backside - even though i was call out, makign noise and generally letting him know i was there! We wandered out of the paddock at liberty, and he decided that he liked me a lot more when he saw the feed bucket :)
So, gave him a feed, and spent the whole time rubbing him, brushing his mane & tail, talking to him, and just "relaxing"
After that, I trimmed his feet, which were in need of doing. He was REALLY GOOD about it, normally he plays little games "Lets see how many times i can take my foot of the hoof stand before mum cracks the shits" and the like..
Today, he just stood there and let me do what I needed to do. I gave him lots of rests, and spoke to him the whole time so he was good.
But I discovered a really large splint on the inside of his cannon bone. I don't remember seeing it before. I'm starting to doubt myself "has it always been there, and i've never noticed... if so, you ought to be ashamed that you've never noticed it before" and "That wasn't there before, its SO BIG surely I'd have noticed it"
It didn't feel hot, i poked and prodded it, and rubbed it, and it wasn't sore. Its not the leg that he's lame on - he's lame on the other front leg, but I'm thinking that, he's actually sore on the leg with the splint, and he's over compensating on the "good leg"
One more thing for me to worry about... Thanks Sante!
Anyway, I took Sante back into the paddock, and just did friendly, and helicopter games (am working on my New assessments) after a few minutes, i sat on the ground and just let him graze.. After a while of that, he started to wander away, so i got up to go over to him. Not quite sure what happened, but he spooked and ran off.. with his 12ft lead rope trailing behind him.
He's in a paddock the size of about 10 football fields put together, complete with hills, fallen trees and lots of obstacles... I was slightly worried..
But i calmly walked after him, calling & whistleing to him in a calm manner.. He periodically stood on the leadrope, and he had to think about which foot to move to get himself unstuck, which i'm proud to say, helped him go Left Brained, and not launch into a full Right Brain Extrovert episode. I got within about 30 metres of him, and was able to disengage his hindquarters and get him to face up. He locked his ears on me, and waited for instructions.
I laughed at him and wandered over with my hand outstreched, and he was quite happy to let me approach him (normally he fears that he's "done something wrong" and loses confidence.. the approach I use never ceases to blow his mind). I rubbed on him a bit, and took a really deep breath, exhaling with a big slow "snort". Sante followed suite. Niiiice. :)
So we stayed where we were. I took his halter and leadrope off, and sat in a patch of nice green grass, and picked grass for him for the next 10 minutes. It was really awesome. After a while of that, I just lay down and decided to let him wander off... but he didn't.
Normally when i put him back in the paddock - even when i try to do undemanding time, he wanders off - its like "Thanks - see ya later" and off he goes, but today he was just happy to be around me. He even got to a point where he grazed a certain distance, realized he'd gone to far, turned around and came back! He did this for about another 20 minutes.
Eventually i got up, gave him a big rub, and left the paddock.
It was just a really beautiful session for us. And i really needed to spend some undemanding time with him, not so much for his benefit .. but mine.
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