The farrier came on Thursday and shod all the horses. Then, as you know, we did the dressage on Friday. I got Zak in on Friday evening for Mr O to ride. As soon as Mr O got on him he knew something was wrong, but set off on a litle jolly and was back in five minutes, with Zak very lame.
The Chimes of Doom soon start rattling in our heads with this boy because of all his past tendon problems. The farrier had said Zak has a bit of seedy toe, has cut the infected hoof away and we had ordered hydrogen peroxide to treat it with. (Difficult to buy from a chemist these days as apparently you can make bombs with it!) But when we looked at Zak, it was clearly a back leg that was giving him grief. Missis wondered about an abscess, so we text the farrier.
He came on Monday and took the shoe off, and sure enough, a very blatant abscess had formed. Revolting pus oozed everywhere, it was disgusting. So we drove round trying to find a tack shop open to buy some poultice material and bandages (and gaffer tape - technical term!)
So now Zak is booted, bandaged and poulticed up to the eyeballs. We can see he is better already, putting weight on the foot again, and more relaxed. I think he's been very stoical about it, considering the amount of pain he must have been in, he just walked like a horse who'd lost a shoe. When Fudge had his abscess, you'd have thought he'd broken his leg, with the level of drama he put into it.
So Mr O is very relieved, as you can imagine. He hates it when something goes wrong with one of the boys, and instantly goes into depression mode. But I managed to avoid it this time, because...
I rode Barnaby out on Saturday morning, round the usual way, but he was in a very funny mood when I got him in, and clearly didn't want to be ridden. He must have thought Zak was coming with us, as once we turned left he looked behind him, realised Zak wasn't there and started whinnying like crazy. He carried on a little bit further, but got to Lucy Goosie's house and refused to go any further. Horse riders call it 'napping' but really it just means they try to turn round and run home. As you can imagine, Barnaby is a lot stronger than me, but I was determined not to give in. In the end I was riding him backwards down the road, but he turned a couple of times until he ran into the dry stone wall. I decided to get off before we got to the rearing stage, but there was no way I was going home, so I led him further and further along the route I'd planned.
I stopped and tried to get on, but my saddle slipped. I could feel the moment my feet left the floor he was going to turn for home again anyway, so I sorted the saddle out and kept on walking. Eventually I thought he must realise it would be quicker to go home walking forwards than it would be to turn and go back the way we'd come. By this point I'd found a perfect branch. I snapped it off and Barnaby started eating the leaves off for me, but when it was bare he suddenly realised it would make the perfect whip! After that he was putty in my hands and we continued on our way, but I was so cross by the time I got home, I shouted to Mr O, "Get your hat!" I hopped off, put Mr O on (much stronger legs than me!) and made Barnaby go round again. By the the time he got back, Barnaby looked slightly more humble (not an easy look) and perfectly on the bit.
On Sunday we should have done a pleasure ride, but I wasn't very well in the morning, and, to be fair, the wind and rain were howling round the house. Obviously Mr O couldn't do it, because Zak was lame. I just felt that if I took Barnaby he would take the lorry apart, as he's not keen on travelling on his own at the best of times, so we stayed home.
I decided it would cheer Mr O up no end if he went for a hack on Barnaby, so off they went for an hour together. Mr O came back grinning like a schoolboy and Barnaby looked like he realised he knew when he was onto a good thing and would rather go on a hack with his dear old mum any day!
So yesterday I got on him and took him past the place he'd napped on Saturday and he was perfectly behaved. To cap it all, I took him straight into the school afterwards and he delivered a practically perfect dressage test. I honestly didn't know he had it in him. Life's full of surprises, isn't it?
Tomorrow it will be time for something completely different, which I hope you will like.