Monthly Archives: November 2013

Twink’s Day Out

was all about a tooth. When she had her annual dental back in the summer, Veronika muttered darkly about a bit of receding gum. When she looked again last week, there was only one way to go – down to the surgery for an extraction.

Twinkle is an old hand at going places. She has been to more competitions, weddings and carnivals as a driving horse than you could shake a metaphorical stick at! So when she got her bib clipped last week and her mane and tail tidied, she rather thought she would be going to a show. And when the legwraps went on yesterday morning, well! She is sometimes worse than me at getting excited, and that’s saying something. Anyhow, she almost trotted up the ramp and off they went.

Down at Priory Vets in Cardigan, there is a big new shed with a roller door. Veronika gets up to all sorts in there, and is gradually adding to the services that the practice can offer to horses, ponies and (not forgetting) donkeys. Twink walked into the stocks and was loosely pillar tied.She still thought there was excitement to come, but then Veronika gave her a big jab of sedative and she drifted off into a nice little daydream – had to be reminded to stand up now and again, I heard.

Pillar tied in the stocks

Pillar tied in the stocks

 

Looking at teeth without using stocks is tricky and procedures can be dangerous for the vet and handler. A dental gag is used to hold the jaws open so the vet can get at those scary back teeth. While under sedation, the horse’s head can be lifted so the vet can work more easily. Twinkle is a terror at getting out of the tooth gag, so Veronika had arranged a new design of headcollar to fit snugly around her jaw. She then had a nerve block and some pain killer to last a few hours.

Twink's head is lifted gently into position, with gadget which awaits patent!

Twink’s head is lifted gently into position, with gadget which awaits patent!

Our back teeth neeed to be extracted with extreme caution. Although this one of Twink’s was quite loose, an extraction could damage several lots of ligaments and her sinuses if the vet is not very careful. So a lot of wiggling and loosening has to go on, as well as flushing and cleaning as we go. Twink had started a course of antibiotics in advance of this day, as a safeguard against infection as well.

Her head is lowered for the final stage.

Her head is lowered for the final stage.

Twink’s sedation was carefully timed and had to be topped up at this point. Veronika places great emphasis on her patient’s comfort and welfare – that’s why we all like her!

At last, the tooth emerged and we could see that the gum had receded to a dangerous level. There was already food impacted into the root and this would certainly have caused a sinus infection if it had been left. Poor Twink!. No wonder she had been chewing carefully lately.

Better out than in!

Better out than in!

 

After all this, her mouth was cleaned again and she got more pain relief to last her until the morning. She recovered quietly, leaning against the side of the stocks and was soon able to walk back into her trusty trailer for the journey home.

Twink recovers slowly before the journey home.

Twink recovers slowly before the journey home.

Then came the worst part of the day – no food for four hours! I kept her company and sympathised. After another mouth flush, she was able to go out to the field with Hooligan and graze on some long grass. This morning she was at the gate, honking for her grub as usual. We have to go carefully for a few days now, with more pain relief and antibiotics, but our dear Twink is home and safe.

Not the day she had imagined, but I’m not sure she remembers the nasty bit at all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great News!

Today we have had some results. Hari amd her mum Paula are happy and healthy again. After their month in isolation, they had to be retested to make sure they had shaken off their infection. Last Tuesday, Veronika arrived on the yard wih her box of tricks. She stuck things up Hari’s nose and took blood from her neck; then she took blood from Paula’s neck as well. Hari was tied up by the wall, while her mum was tested. She had not been tied before, but it was OK; she liked it. Luckily she liked the rest of it as well and also liked having her feet picked up. Next Friday, the farrier will come to trim her feet, and Paula’s as well, before they set off on the next stage of their lives.

Hari

Hari has had her microchip as well. This is a very important thing! Her passport application has been been filled in and sent away. Now she will have a proper identification document for the rest of her life.

Paula was scanned and she already had a microchip. Unfortunately, her microchip was never registered by her owner or the vet who inserted it, so we will never know who owned her originally. Is that a stupid situation or what?

Some more donkey thoughts

As Hannah, Chico and Florence make their triumphant return to Aberystwyth (1000 miles, Hooray!), I have been reflecting on my new donkey friends. I can see there is a lot to know about them, because they are not ponies like me, although they may be equine.

Good morning team!

Good morning team!

The thing is, those two donkeys are quite different and both deserve my respect for their enduring qualities. Chico is a ‘go to’ man, with a distinctly Mediterranean air about him. He is a big, rangy donkey with a long and steady stride. His coat is fine and shiny, as though he comes from a hotter country than this one. He wears a rain jacket because his coat contains no grease to keep him warm like mine does. Hannah weighs the luggage carefully so that his pack is always properly loaded and he carries it with ease. He likes to meet new friends and is always up for an extra carrot, but then he walks again. He knows his job.

Florence joined the team near the end of their walk. She is a traditional British looking donkey with a thick coat, well-designed to protect her from the elements. She has taken to walking really well and seems very interested in each new experience. I am sorry to say that she did NOT appreciate my showing off, and turned her back when I pranced about. But we share a quality – our skill in PR. Flo is definitely the donkey diplomat of this pair. She greets new people with affection and prettily pricked ears, and endures any amount of hugging and admiration, carrots or not.

How are we doing, donks?

How are we doing, donks?

Hannah is lucky to have found two such interesting friends to share her journey. I hope I will see them again one day.

Farewell Hobbits

Today, the three hobbits came in for their breakfast as usual. Little did they know they had an adventure in store. Today was their last day with me, and the first of their proper lives. They have gone off to the centre to be rehomed.

When I think of how clueless they were when they first arrived, I am quite proud of them now. Bilbo is gentle and sensible and rarely panics; Frodo follows Bilbo. Merry is a free spirit and tends to lead the way. They are lovely boys all, and I hope they will find the homes they deserve.

Fare well Hobbits! My work is done.

Be good boys and have a happy life!

Be good boys and have a happy life!

It’s a sad day

Here on the yard, we are all a bit subdued today. This morning, our dear Glitz, the yard cat, was found dead on the cross-roads; she had obviously been knocked down by a car. It was unheard of for Glitz to go far from the yard, let alone half a mile, and we think she must have been frightened by the very loud and very local fireworks last night. There was no warning of the fireworks – we live in the back of beyond – and there isn’t a way of confining a free spirit like Glitz anyway.

She was a particular little cat – very pretty but of uncertain temper. That is how she ended up being a yard cat. Nobody wanted to adopt her and the independent life of a farmyard suited her. She was fed twice a day and wormed regularly, so that she would be healthy and strong. She patrolled the buildings and brought a ‘present’ to the feed shed most mornings

Good Morning!

Good Morning!

 

Early in her life with us, she would bite and scratch and her tail twitched a lot, whatever that means in catspeak.  However, lately, she had settled into a lovely companion and was always around, when something was going on at the yard,

She will be sadly missed.

Found a sunbeam!

Found a sunbeam!

 

Donkey Walking

is my new favourite thing! On Friday, I set out in the rain to meet Hannah and Chico, he is the famous Seaside Donkey. Hannah and Chico, by the time I met them, had already walked 960 miles around the perimeter of Wales. They were now on the home stretch; I had never met a donkey, so I joined them for the day on their walk. They have used the coastal path where possible, but today, I needed to show them the bridleways, because the path has stiles.

First off, I brought them back to my place for a coffee stop and a rest – they had just climbed one of our famously steep hills from Tresaith to here.

Hannah is loading Chico's saddle.

Hannah is loading Chico’s saddle.

After an hour, and lunch for the donks and me, we set off for Llangranog (I wore my poppy today, to remember all the brave horses who suffered in the name of freedom). DId I mention that Chico and Hannah had gained a donkey only the day before? They met Florence at a camp site and decided to take her back to Aberystwyth with them (she has never been there).

Briefing the donkeys about the route

Briefing the donkeys about the route

As long as we are off the road, Chico is allowed off the lead rein. He is an old hand at walking and would follow Hannah anywhere. Florence is new to this game – this was only her second day! While Hannah bothered with her, Chico was quite happy to follow me. Brainy guys, these donks.

On our way up the lane we passed Paula and Hari. I don’t think they had seen a donkey before either!

What on earth are they?

What on earth are they?

The rain continued, and Hannah was busy on her phone, sorting out her accommodation for the night. This is a great and simple freedom, just walking with donkeys and ending up somewhere different each evening.

Mum, bring me some dry pants please!

Mum, bring me some dry pants please!

Negotiating the steep Parish Road down to Penbryn was easy for me and the donkeys, but entailed a bit of swearing from others about the muddy bit. When we got to the beach car park, the Cartws Cafe was open and they treated the muddy ones to a drink. We said ‘Hi’ to a few fans and moved steadily on our way.

How are we doing, donks?

How are we doing, donks?

Next was the best bit. We found a path up the hill and through the trees!

What a brilliant track!

What a brilliant track!

Then Hannah said she wanted to lead me –  she is not familiar with pony walking. I was pretty well behaved, all things considered. I like Hannah; she and I have a lot in common – we both have positive mental attitude.

Hannah and I (I am NOT a donkey)

Hannah and I (I am NOT a donkey)

We are both good walkers as well. Quite soon we were well ahead of her and the donkeys, but fortunately, they managed without us.

We don't hang around, Han and me.

We don’t hang around, Han and me.

I think she was having a bit of a daydream actually. I could hear her rabbiting away to both donkeys, like she does. It’s a lovely gentle thing to do, is donkey walking.

Sally is in charge of the donks for a while

Sally is in charge of the donks for a while

Soon we reached the turning onto the lane to MaesyMorfa, where Hannah and the donkeys were going to stay the night. I set off for home, because it would soon be dark.

I met a new friend on the way home!

I met a new friend on the way home!

This was the furthest I had ever walked in my life and I had the best time! She always comes to see I am OK, late in the evening when we have had a day out. That night, she brought a carrot and she said she was proud of me. Well, I can understand that.