“Bear … what have you done?”

Somewhere out in Poet’s Paddock (for that is what I lovingly call Shakespeare’s playpen), there is a chunk of skin — about 4″ by 1″ — with my horse’s hair on it.

Alas, a horse is a horse, of course, of course … 😦

I noticed as I was grooming him yesterday afternoon that his right foreleg below the knee was puffy. I felt around with my fingers. He flinched a little.

“What have you done, Bear?” I asked him in as stern a voice as I dare.

He gave me the wooly eyeball and stretched his neck out as he yawned.

I moved around to his left foreleg and crouched behind it to get a backward look at the afflicted right leg.

“Oh, Bear!” I wailed, the stillness of the frigid barn air amplifying my misery. “How did you do that?”

He bobbed his head up and down. Not complaining just … miserable. He’s not used to injury.

I reached out my hand and gently touched the area around an ugly red, but now dry (because of the cold), scrape that stretch from just below his knee to halfway down the inside of his cannon bone and neighbouring tendon and ligaments. It was puffy with inflammation. He flinched again, slightly.

I felt his left leg to compare. It was nice and smooth and tight. I patted it and stood up.

Bear didn’t need to tell me how he’d managed to hurt himself. I had a pretty good idea of  my own.

He and his buddy, Sam, had likely been play fighting to keep warm. I imagine Bear had been rearing at one point and as he was coming back to earth his left foot, with its metal shoe, came scraping down the inside of his right leg, tearing a chunk of his beautiful skin right off.

We’re lucky, I dare say, that the damage isn’t any worse.

I took a deep breath and wondered what to do next. In all the years I’ve had Bear he’s been an incredibly easy keeper. First aid has become fourth aid I use it so rarely. Trouble is now that particular nurturing muscle is, to put it lightly, weak.

I decided to summon Paul, the go-to guy at the barn, who was busy bringing horses in from the cold.

“What do you think I should do?” I asked, slightly bewildered.

He thought a moment. He is a gentle man of few words.

“Wrap him up. The cold weather will help.”

Now, I haven’t applied a stable wrap in years and I wondered, as we stood in the barn braced by the cold, if I would even be able to find my set of bandages. For a moment I felt frozen in time. Then, while Paul mulled where he might find some extras, I strode purposefully to the tack room and dug through the storage bin above my locker.

It didn’t take long to recover the four white cottons and bright red stable wraps neatly packaged and protected in a clear plastic bag at the bottom of the container. Thank goodness! It was like greeting an old friend you hoped never to see again because their presence always spells trouble. I had not looked at them, literally, in seven years, but in that moment I was relieved to have renewed our acquaintance.

But now I had to remember how to use them?

It’s important to wrap a horse’s leg properly so as not to cause any [further] injury. And not just one leg, but two! Both front legs needed to be wrapped to create stability. Horses, beautiful as they are, are full of design flaws. Two much stress on the compensating leg will mess it up too.

With cottons and bandages in hand I crouched down beside Bear’s right front leg. After some basic re-orientation with my tools, I began the unwieldy task of securing a cotton around Bear’s boo-booed leg. Then, carefully, I wound the wrap around it, at an even and firm, but not tight, tension. It should support the leg, not cut off circulation. When I was finished and satisfied with the result, I secured the bandage with masking tape. I surprised myself … the quality of the bandage was, I dare say after so many years, good.

Bear, bless him, was a brave boy. He stood quietly the entire time, only looking at me askance when the intervals between carrots were becoming too long.

When I was finished grooming, (and as is our usual daily routine because, I’ll admit, I spoil him rotten,) I soothed his spirits (and mine) by giving him a lavender aromatherapy facial massage. He loves that. And, once back in his stall, Bear happily indulged in his pile of precious hay and impatiently whinnied for his treat bucket as if nothing was amiss.

For my part, I guess, I shall have to stop by the tack shop on my way to the barn today and pick up some turnout boots. If I can’t trust him not to hurt himself he’ll need to wear suitable armour.

And, I dare say, I shall need to give my little darling a few more days to rest, relax and recuperate.

Truth be told, I have a feeling Bear knows exactly what he’s done … 😉


The miserable quality of the photograph says it all …

Poor Bear

Poor baby …

Nurture what you love …

Horse Mom


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

15 thoughts on ““Bear … what have you done?”

  1. I just love animals, but I prefer the birds, but the English names are hard for me… But what do you call this, same family as the horse, but an animal known in Grece, charged the man goes to the market and let him returns alone, not a mule, the other. You know a mule is half horse and this animal… They are so cute with theirs ears… “Âne” in French…

    But I like to photograph the wild horses of Mongolia, once again I can’t find the English word…

    • Perhaps you’re thinking of the “donkey?” … The wild horses of Mongolia are the Przewalskis (not an English word). What a wonderful experience it must be to get to photograph them. … Thank you for visiting and following my blog. … (I was in Paris for eight days in 2008 and hope to return again. It is a beautiful city, to be sure.) … Be well, Dorothy 🙂

      • Donkey, I believe so… The Prsewalskis, Les Prsewalskis, science name… I love wild horses, but as I told you, I love animals… I don’t care, a dog, a cat or a turtle, they got all something special… My parrots here are beautiful, a long life… Bianca is the female… And Jimmy is talking to me right now…

  2. It’s awful, when our “kids” are injured or sick. Good you found it so quickly and may Bear recover speedily. Love your writing. I can smell the stable from here. I love that scent, a warm, animal scent. It brings back many fond memories.

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