Tuesday, July 30, 2013


My lip is way less swollen today, though it is just painful enough to be putting me in a low-grade bad mood all day, which I really didn't need.

I've been a bit quieter otherwise because I went through a very frustrating few days with Tristan. I arrived at the barn last Thursday to see that he had new shoes, and that we went back to glue-ons. Hooray for new shoes, uh-oh for glue-ons. I texted the farrier to check in and ask if Tris had behaved or if they'd had to tranq him again. Farrier said yes, tranq, and he hadn't really behaved and that he'd go over it with me in detail when he was back from his trip.

I checked in the next day and chatted with the barn manager who had been there for the whole escapade. Tris started acting up right away, so they gave him a bit of sedative, and he got through the RF that way, which was by far the more complicated and tricky one to do - farrier had to clean out the abscess cavity and then refill it with epoxy/glue.

When they did the LF Tris got progressively worse, and they added a bit more tranq. The tough thing about glue-ons is that at a certain point in the process the horse can NOT put his foot down or it will not dry properly. So Tris started breaking through the tranq at that exact wrong moment in the process and the farrier held on.

Tris responded by laying down. Yes, you read that right. He laid down on his shoulder in the crossties, and when the farrier let the foot go and stepped back, he laid down in the back too. And didn't get back up. He laid there glaring at the barn manager and the farrier - as a friend described later, "like a toddler throwing himself to the floor and holding his breath."

So the barn manager held his head and the farrier took off the not-set-right LF shoe and trimmed it back a bit. Tris tried to get up a bit while he was doing this, but the barn manager was firm and kept him down, and after the minute or two it took they let him back up and backed his butt into a corner.

And then he was good as gold for every second of the entire rest of the trim. Like it had finally filtered through his brain. I've semi-affectionately called him my 2x4 horse in the past, but this might take the cake.

Farrier and barn manager are consummate pros, and they both went out of their way to assure me that their read on him was never fear, aggression, or anything dangerous - simply stubbornness and a massive case of the don't wannas - which he is certainly more than capable of! He has not shown the slightest inkling of reaction to the whole thing in the days since: still good as gold to handle, and I have turned his feet every which way looking at his new shoeing job. If anything, he seems happy to have new shoes, as he is landing a bit better since his feet had grown out quite a bit.

I apologized profusely to them and they told me there was no need, they still thought he was great, and they  have every confidence that he has finally gotten the message. I took him outside and walked and trotted up and down many hills until he was puffing as a productive way to vent some of my frustration, and then I went home and cried and cried. I hope that he really is progressing now, but I don't know what to do anymore.


  1. Oh my! That is a story! And from the bottom of my heart, I send you virtual hugs... horses are soo frustrating. When Sugar had her trailering "incident", I went through 3.5 months of her trying to kill herself in the trailer until finally we said, "go ahead!" She started to and then stopped. She's been good ever since. Me? I still have PTSD anytime a horse missteps in the trailer...

  2. Trailer-dancing inspires fear in me like little else. I am a nervous hauler to begin with and even kicking the back gate to object to a tight turn sends a spike of adrenaline through me.

    Tris is 99% of the time so beautifully behaved that I often take it for granted. It's really important to me that he behave for the professionals in his life, too, and acting up so badly for people I respect and like is just...ugh.

  3. If it is anything like parenting, the professionals in his and your life have seen more, and worse, behaviour, in larger and scarier animals and had much less useful reactions from clueless owners. I think you guys all did fine. The aftershocks are hard to weather, but still - fine.

    1. I think they have definitely dealt with far worse, and I take small comfort in the fact that they reassured me they never felt aggression from him, just sheer willpower.

      Still, I place a very, very high premium on his good behavior. It's a combination of his having been so bratty when he was started and of having been the barn worker who's had to handle bratty horses.


Thanks for commenting! It's great to hear from you.