So, New Years Eve. Well, its never that awesome when you have young horses and no strong Alpha to keep the herd in check- missing Poseidon and Amalia every year.
I will say though, that this year, Apocalipse was their son. I bet they were watching him, and I bet they were proud.
He has been spooking less than the others the last years, since Poseidon died. Clearly, he has been raised to not fear fireworks, because his mom and his step dad, didn’t, but he was young. This night though, he was ice cold.
Aston had him in a halter, come midnight. I had Tardis and Saleem. The two little ones were left to roam free, since I was certain that if we could just keep the three elder ones from running around, it would be okay.
Funny thing about halters, really. I have been using them all my life, fitting them used to be second nature to me. This year I haven’t used them at all, and for me to take them out of the closet on new years eve, speaks to how much I didn’t want my horses to spook and, I guess, how little I trust my skills as a trainer. The halters felt like the safe choice. Like a life line I have relied on since 1994.
I did come to realize though, that only Saleem, who is the eldest, still fitted into his halter. All the others had grown, and all of a sudden, I had to re-fit them on their faces. It was a strange experience. Much like with rugs. They never really fit, but if you use them every day, you get so used to it, you don’t really see it anymore. And then, once you stop using them over the summer, you forget how horrible they are to fit, and when winter comes, you stare at your horse and all of your rugs and wonder how you ever subjected your poor horse to wear this. But you get used to it, if you stick with it.
I can honestly say, I am glad we are not using rugs anymore. Or halters. Truth be told, they really don’t look all that comfortable on any horses’ face. I know that I found myself apologizing in the dark, promising my horses that it was only for an hour. Just until the fireworks stopped. And then, never again. Next year, I would be braver. Next year, I’d trust how far we had come.
Okay, enough about halters. Stay focused, V. Right.
So, once the fireworks started, Aston and Apocalipse stood by the hay wheel, through it all. Saleem and Tardis were able to remain eating hay with them for a long while, but in the end, the two little ones got too nervous and once Marble ran off, Ablaze chasing after her, both Saleem and Tardis decided that they were done eating hay, so I let them, (and me,) follow the little ones.
We ended up in the middle of the pasture, fireworks lighting up the darkness all around us. I had my two Arabians in my hands, and my two babies seeking shelter between the two elder ones, which meant that Ablaze and Marble ended up between Saleem and Tardis, behind my back.
Ablaze still licks my hands when he gets nervous. Or, just licks me. I always thought that was a remnant from the night he was born, when the first thing he touched was me. (Dragging him out, desperately helping him breathe…) To my surprise though, Marble began licking me as well, and at some point, Tardis joined in. I ended up ringing in the new year, surrounded by four of my horses, three of them whom was busy licking my hands, my face, and my jacket. That was a pretty beautiful experience.
Saleem doesn’t lick, but when he got too nervous, he did poke me with his muzzle, asking me if this was okay. Amidst the three wet ones, I made sure to answer Saleem every time he asked for help, and he actually calmed down very quickly.
In the end, he was the one who asked if we could go back to Apocalipse.
Apocalipse was, of course, by then, dying to get rid of the halter, doing his very best to knock Aston over, while frantically scratching his face. He really hates halters. Much, much more than a bit of fireworks…
Once Ablaze realized that Saleem and Apocalipse weren’t afraid anymore, he manned up and left the girls and me, to join them by the hay. A few minutes later, Marble decided to join the brave part of the herd, and left us as well.
Tardis had, by far, the worse night. I know that she is a mother, and the beta mare, which gives her a lot of responsibility, that the others don’t have to carry, but that is not all there is to it. She isn’t as used to taking her cues from humans, as the others. She didn’t grow up with me. She was three when I got her and even though she trusts me, perhaps more than many of the others, it doesn’t necessarily calm her all the way to the core, when I tell her that things are going to be alright. She did join Marble for some hay eating though, once the fireworks died down.
But she was tired, even the whole next day. As much as she was pretending to relax, she really didn’t. Not like these guys…
I discovered that Ablaze had an eye infection on Dec 31. Yeah. So after spending most of the last day of the year, jumping through hoops, getting medication for him, I set about to treat him as well.
I have been sick for a week now. I have reached the point where I am just about ready to cough up my lungs every time I try to breathe. Now, that doesn’t make it much easier, treating your two year old for an eye infection.
Today, he said “hell no. I am done with you. And you can’t breathe, so what’s you going to do about it?”
I always know that I am in trouble when Ablaze says no. There really is no arguing with him and if I keep pressure on him, he gets so sad and miserable and makes me feel like the dirtiest traitor in the world.
I nearly gave up today. I know, not thinking straight. My head feels like it is full of cotton… Come to think of it, it probably is… Anyway…
So, while I was moping around my pasture, doing my chores, wondering if it was worth the battle, or if my vets may have any other ideas for treating it, this scene from Supernatural poped into my head.
Thanks. Leave me alone. Can’t I just give up, for once? Really?
Of course, the answer is no. If I do, Ablaze may go blind. I had to figure out how to treat that eye, no matter if I had to spend the rest of the year, apologizing to him for saving his eye sight.
So, I cheated. I have a small handful of treats lying around the stable, for Saleem. He is usually the only one I train with treats, because he needs the extra encouragement, to believe how awesome he is. Ablaze and the others are usually impossible to train with treats, because they become wild, foaming at the mouth, dragons, ready to take my head off if I don’t feed every time they bat an eye. Yes, I knew I could get his attention with a treat.
I put one in my front pocket, on my chest, right were he would have his nose when I tried treating his eye. It worked like a charm. He smelled it, paused, and then he bit onto my chest, taking the treat, the pocket and most of my jacket into his mouth. And, knowing Ablaze, once something is in his mouth, he can’t let it go. He still have not figured out how to release things. So, he was stuck…. *insert evil laughter here*
One treated eye later, I helped him let go of my jacket and he did get the treat. After all, it turns out, we can do this without him hating me. One little treat, and all is forgiven. I’ll have to remember that…
This turned out to be a bit of a long post. So, I’ll wrap it up with a picture of someone who couldn’t care less about fireworks.
Life and her pony.
All in all, I am not blown away by the new year yet. It feels an awful lot like last year already. But I guess that there is only one person, who can change that.
If I can’t do something, giving up is not the way. Changing the way I do it, is. I’ll have to remember that.