Monday morning Gwinny went to the Bracken Equine vet to have her prepurchase exam. Sandee, my riding instructor and stable manager, assisted me with her truck and trailer. Gwinny walked right to the back of the trailer like she was going for lunch without a qualm. It was almost as if she was like Kira who gets excited about going for a ride. I’ve never been to an equine vet facility before so I was excited for my new adventure. Think big. Dr. Sap’s first words when she encountered Gwinny was “ohh, pretty”. It made me feel proud, I think so too. Then she went to work checking her vitals.
Going to the vet for a horse isn’t like going for a dog or other pet. Horses are not usually considered pets, they are investments and money makers. And where money is to be made corruption will abound. Dr. Sap withdrew a vial of blood and asked me if I wanted to have her drug tested. I said, “for what”. She replied, “Well she is really calm”. I looked at Sandee and she explained that people who are trying to get rid of a troublesome horse will drug it during the trial period so the new owner thinks they have a dream of an animal. Since Sandee is friends with Gwinny’s owner she shook her head, no need for a drug test.
After all the corruption I’ve encountered in Uganda one would think I’d be wiser to the ways of this world, but still, I remain naieve. There might not be much hope for me. I’m trusting, but in this case with good reason. But think of all the people out there who buy a horse on line sight unseen, it arrives perfectly calm, three weeks later when the money has been delivered the real horse begins to wake up. And their nightmare begins.
The other differences about a vet check for a horse versus a dog, is that the way they move is highly scrutinized. Gwinny was put through an hour of exercises so the vet could evaluate her movements and look for signs of lameness. They did flexion tests on every joint in her leg. This is where they hold the joint flexed for a minute or so then trot her off on it immediately. If she is lame it will show in the first few strides. She passed all her tests. A horse is considered to be more about whata] she can do for me, what she can win, how she can perform, and what she can be worth some day. Not so much about being an object of my love like my dog.
I think Gwinny is the lucky one because for me she can be both, but first the object of my love. That might just push me out of the horse world, but I don’t care so much about what other people think. By loving her I will want to develop her potential and help her be happy and healthy, that translates into training, time together, and lots of riding and jumping.
After Gwinny passed all of her tests with a winning record of most congenial patient we had her teeth floated. Horse teeth continue to grow, and with the circular motion of chewing sharp points develop on the outside and inside of her molars so they need to be filed down once a year. She even had ulcers on her cheeks from her sharp points. To watch this procedure was fascinating for me. I’ll let the photos do the talking. To get her into this apparatus they give her a mild sedative and she got a little goofy and happy on it. While she got her teeth done she watched me the whole time without any fear. Dr. Sap plunked the last of her baby teeth onto a tray.
At the end of her appointment Dr. Sap said the only thing she can say about Gwinny is that she’s a little lazy, or it could be she’s out of shape, and I’ll have to ride her to “go”, which to me means my legs will work harder and they just might end up looking better too! Sandee said having a horse that you ride to “go” is much better than having one you ride to “whoa”. I couldn’t agree more. The thought of riding a horse that takes off and ignores my directions doesn’t sound like any fun at all to this woman. What I love about riding Gwinny is she is so eager to please me. She responds immediately to my requests. We are going to be learning partners. I’m the one who might confuse her with conflicting messages, and it’s my job to straighten that out right away so she doesn’t get frustrated with my novice abilities.
When I told Craig that Gwinny passed all her vet checks, he said, “well it looks like we’re buying a horse”. He gulped. I leaped in the air like I won the lottery. I made the appointment to meet her owner. Craig confirmed I now have the “horse glow”. I occasionally text him and say, “still glowing.”