Do you know my friend Maciej? He is my vet. We all like him but we try not to invite him to the yard too much, because if he arrives, it usually means that something is wrong with one of us animals.
He pitched up yesterday with a determined look. Tawny did a lot of walking about with her bad leg and then he said ‘We’ll do the first dental’. I had been observing from a safe distance, but I was summoned. ‘Good Boy Tim’ she said, as he stuck a needle in my neck! After that it was all fine.
I was vaguely aware that something metal was being put between my front teeth. I expect that is so Maciej could see my back ones. There was a cold mouth wash and then a far-away but persistent noise in my head. It was all fine really, because I had her to lean on as I got sleepier and sleepier.
I woke up a bit later, to be told I was a good boy again – that can’t be bad can it? My stable was completely bare. All my hay had been taken out because if I had tried to chew on it while sleepy, I might have choked. I was ready for my tea a couple of hours afterwards I can tell you!
Tawny did a bit more walking up and down, then Paddy got his dental. He didn’t have the needle and he says his was a lot noisier than mine. He is a really brave pony. I try, but sometimes that doesn’t work.
Maciej says my teeth are a bit wonk and perhaps I had an injury to my head in the past. All these years later, I don’t remember being in the boot of that car now, but maybe this is another battle scar from my past!
Today is the day I celebrate my arrival here. It’s not my real birthday; more like my official one and this year, I want to share it with all of my friends on the social network. Since last March, I have had my own Facebook and Twitter accounts and I have so many friends! We talk to each other most days and share our thoughts. Some of my friends are other animals and some are people – it doesn’t matter, I love them all. There is the great Twitter herd of horses, the Border Terrier Posse, my people, not to mention all of the good charity officers I got to know when I was an RSPCA chap. We are all very sociable and we all care – if someone is in bother or lost, we can help with our sharing and retweeting. I am hoping that a lot of my friends will post photos of themselves today, so we can all be together for my special day.
On this day in 2007, things were not going well for me. I had undergone a journey in a car boot, with all of my legs lashed together. None of your posey 4×4’s by the way; this was a modest saloon car and I shared the boot with a tool kit and some other rubbish. It was lucky for me that someone saw me being unloaded, and made a report to the RSPCA. I was just nibbling some grass at the side of the road when the brave Inspectors Richard and Nic came for me. She came with them, in Wilf the horse box. Once she had parked him up, I could smell other horses; I spoke but the box was empty. My people were not around, so she and the Inspectors encouraged me to go into the horse box. They had to help quite a bit because I was feeling pretty poorly, but once I was in there, I found a lovely straw bed and I could still smell horse.
The journey was short and she went very slowly. We were soon back at this yard, where she helped me down the ramp into what is now my home. It was warm and cosy and there were little bits of yummy food. She spent a lot of time with me that night and we soon got used to each other. I slept and slept on that comfy bed, sometimes with my head on her lap – she didn’t seem to mind and it was good to have company.
The following day, the vet came. It was all very scarey, because quite a lot of me was hurting. I had a collapsed back leg and a huge abscess on one of my fronts as well. What with that and the lice and not much condition to speak of, I was a bit of a mess. When I had some injections, I felt much better!
There was more stuff over the next few days. There was delousing, worming (yeuch), cleaning the abscess (double yeuch) and x-rays, which luckily said that my back leg wasn’t broken. Funny, but she started to look a lot more cheerful after that. The vet thought that I must have been tethered by that leg for most of my life (I was three) and the tendon had become all slack and useless. My feet had never been trimmed either, which added to the problem. The farrier tidied them up and I could hobble a bit better.
The vet then had a Good Idea. You know when you break your arm and they put a cast on it? When the cast comes off, the tendons have shortened up? Well, he made me a little plaster cast for my leg, which she could take off every so often to check there was nothing bad going on underneath. After a while, my leg started to behave much like a normal leg? It will never be brilliant, so I can never be a working pony, but it’s pretty good I can tell you! Clever vet!
Tell you what. I will show you my movie – you’ll see what I mean.
When I blow out the candle on my cake today, I shall wish that all horses and ponies will be valued and cared for like I am.
It’s not a new situation; we have all seen this news before. The difference is the numbers involved – and the time of year. These poor creatures are ailing and dying on a warm October day – what hope for them and their kind when the cold weather begins to bite?
And if the charities are forced to use their resources now, what hope for all those other ponies and horses, which fall upon hard times – as I did – during the winter?
It’s ironic to me that this is happening in the same week as the Horse of the Year Show. Over in Birmingham, there are the top flight, swanky boys, winning prizes worth a fortune – and here in Wales these poor things are dropping dead for want (probably) of a worm dose, some supplementary feed and a bit of basic management.
These horses are not worth a great deal – there are so many coloured cobs about that their owner probably doesn’t care whether they live or die.