Just about a fortnight ago, my beloved Ferrier went on vacation. Now, that is always connected with a huge amount of panic on my part, after having owned my darling Amalia, the dark mare we had that died in December 2011 because her heart was failing.
Now, Amalia had the worst hooves ever, when she lost a shoe, she became lame instantly, and not just a tiny bit, no, it was a mind numbing, can-not-touch-the-ground-with-the-hoof kind of lame. Her hooves simply crumbled. We fed her all the right things, we danced and jumped and did every magic trick in the book to keep that horse walking. Most of the time we succeeded, but when ever my Ferrier had to be allowed to take time off, I always felt horrified. What on earth do you do with a horse like that, if she lose a shoe while he is gone?
I’ll tell you want you do. You wrap her up in cotton and duct tape and anything else that might stick and help her take the pressure off.
One could argue that you could call another Ferrier, but no. Not for Amalia. There was no way I was letting another Ferrier touch her hooves. The damage someone less skilled than mine could do to her hooves… It could have killed her if the wrong guy had been allowed to touch that. No, we duct taped, fed her pain killers and waited for the Ferrier to come home and fix her if it happened.
Now, as I no longer have Amalia, it still sticks with me. Clearly a little more than I first thought. When my Ferrier left this time, I told myself that we would be fine. Saleem can lose a shoe and survive 14 days. He does become sore, but it won’t kill him. Do not panic, we will get through it. If worse came to worse, I could have another Ferrier fix up Saleem until my own got home. I have done that before.
Saleem has a problematic position in his front legs, which requires a lot of skill in the Ferrier to straighten up without causing lasting damage to the horse, but Saleem won’t die instantly if someone less skilled replace a shoe once in a while, especially not if we have it redone as soon as possible.
So, I was totally cool when my Ferrier left this time. Really, I had a backup plan, in another sweet Ferrier I know, which I probably wouldn’t even need. Still, my Ferrier had only just left when I had the first nightmare.
I dreamed that Amalia had lost the left hind shoe. Now, that’s the one with the white hoof. That is the worst possible scenario. That white hoof would simply disappear once it was without support.
The horrifying thing is that I remember that hoof perfectly, every shade, every angle, every bruise, every nail hole… I know it down to the last detail and I know exactly what it looks like when it falls apart as well.
I woke up crying. Yeah, welcome to my head.
Now the 14 days have passed and my Ferrier is coming home, only I just realized yesterday that my back-up Ferrier had left on vacation this week, meaning that Saleem and I are without back up. It’s cool. We can handle a week. After all, it has been almost a year since Saleem lost a shoe last. It would be extraordinary bad luck if he should lose one now.
Still, knowing that the back-up was gone, clearly triggered something in my head. I had the same nightmare this night, dreaming about Amalia, but this time it was not the white hoof, no this time it was the black hind hoof, the right, AND the right front shoe as well, rendering her utterly incapable of moving or standing or excising.
I woke up with my phone in my hand, all set to call my vet’s and beg for painkillers for her.
Yeah, I think my phone had better move away from my bed side in the future, at least when my Ferrier is away. I am pretty sure my vets would laugh their asses off if I called them in my sleep begging for pain killers for my long diseased horse. They would laugh, right after they had me locked up somewhere I wouldn’t hurt myself…
So, here I was thinking that I would breather easier once Amalia were gone, and most of the time I do, but clearly not when my Ferrier leaves. I don’t think I will ever get over that. It was ever always one of the most terrifying times in my life. Clearly, it is going to haunt me forever. I am just so happy that Apocalipse, Amalia and Saleem’s son, do not seem to have inherited her lousy hooves. Hopefully, the horror of Ferrier vacation will fade in time…
But for now, it really does, quite literally, remain my worst nightmare.