Since his arrival, Atticus has grown quite the reputation for being a sweetheart of a horse.
He is easy to catch, lead, load on the trailer, and care for in general, with two exceptions: getting shots and leaving Winn-Dixie.
When Atticus came to us he had a terrible runny nose and a bit of a cough. The best way to treat these issues is with antibiotics administered via syringe. Horses are big animals, so the shots are really big. As we quickly learned, no amount of grain or peppermint treats could keep him calm once that syringe appeared. It took a shortly-tied lead rope and fast hands to administer Atticus’ antibiotics. When it was time to immunize him from standard horse illnesses, the shot was slightly smaller, but his reaction was much larger. We got the job done, but it was no easy feat.
As his runny nose and cough subsided, it was time to give Atticus a dose of the strangles vaccine. This preventative medication is administered into the horse’s nose through a long tube and is discharged from a syringe. As you can imagine, my sweetheart horse was less than agreeable to having a long, thin tube shoved up his nose, especially since it was at the end of another syringe. After an impressive song and dance routine, where she rubbed the tube gently across the front of his nose as he was tied very tightly to a steel post, our hero Amy D. deftly inserted the tube into his left nostril and with Wonder Woman speed squirted the vaccine into its necessary orifice.
I’m happy to report that Atticus is healing nicely and putting on weight well. He enjoyed two weeks of refresher training at Healing Horses and made fast friends with our mare Winn-Dixie. In fact, he and Winn-Dixie are such great friends that Atticus does NOT like to be separated from her.
Now that they are both back home, much of our training time has been spent on helping Atticus get over his buddy-sour state. Each day I have to feed and care for all the horses, AND THEN I separate the other horses from him. It takes working him in the corral until he forgets about his horsey friends and settles down, but the time it takes to gain his focus has grown less and less with each workout. But, you better believe that when I lead him back to pasture, he giddy-ups right back to his girlfriend. I guess you could say he’s settling in with his new herd and we are excited to witness his progress and are definitely ready for more adventures with Atticus.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Atticus has made more than one buddy. Stay tuned for next week’s report of his social successes and a few flops.