Okay, so basically, I thought that things were going pretty well. I mean, I slowly started settling in, getting to know the people around here, Pinú’u started settling in and getting friendlier with Pan, spending long hours out in the field and it all was just actually quite good. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? Right?
Exactly – why wouldn’t it be? Well, Denise, because this is real life and not some fairytale happy ever after story, so something had to be wrong, okay?! I mean, yes, I did see signs of Pinú’u lifting his hind legs more and higher than usual. But I thought he was just disgusted by the mud – because he is that type of horse, you know. It had been raining almost non-stop for days and the fields got muddier and muddier. But not too bad. The mud was about ankle high. We’ve seen worse over the years to be honest.
But then, when I tied him up to get him ready for a ride on Monday last week, I immediately knew something was wrong. He just stood there on the yard, on concrete, having his right hind leg pulled up almost all the way to his belly. For minutes. Oh no… no no no no no no no no NO! This is SIMPLY. NOT. HAPPENING! Okay, so, worried as I was I googled the symptoms but got no clear results. Because Dr. Google sometimes is a pretty confused dude. So I called the vets and when they came they confirmed my fears – mud fever.
Oh great. Well, thanks universe, this was exactly what I needed right now! How did you know that I love treating mud fever in late winter with no dry fields, paddocks or whatever to turn my beloved, dust-allergic, I-wanna-be-out-24/7-or-I’ll-kill-you pony out on? Well, I guess a universe just knows what you need… #NOT!
And then of course my mind started racing again – Will we be able to treat it properly? Will it come back? Will it endanger the journey? What if it comes back during the journey? All these questions and me doubting once again if the journey is the right thing to do…
So, Pinú’u on stable rest, Pan going nuts being turned out alone, Pinú’u going nuts being inside alone. A different solution needed to be found. ASAP. Before Pinú’u hurts himself spinning and rearing in his stable. I turned to Dr. Facebook for help this time – and I must say, he did a way better job than Dr. Google. Times are changing folks!
So on Facebook I found this great company, Ecohoof Equine Health Care Products and their Pink Hoof Clay and after reading some honest reviews I was hooked, contacted them, got a reply straight away and ordered 500ml Pink Hoof Clay. It arrived the day after. I was impressed! (Should you wonder – yes, the vets gave me something to treat the mud fever as well, but I don’t like rubbing his scabs off and putting antibiotic cream containing steroids on afterwards – I’m more like the all natural, yo-peace-bro girl, so the Pink Hoof Clay was more my thing).
Good, so I got something to treat the mud fever with, but where to turn agitated Mr. Pony out now? Hm, well, we have a pretty big outdoor riding arena (or “school”, how they call it here), and it seems to be dry enough. After speaking to Ecohoof again I am reassured that it shouldn’t be a problem turning him out in the arena. Good. Talked to the super supportive yard owner, she says it’s okay. So I do that. It’s awesome. Both ponies are racing around and playing and I can tell Pinú’u is super happy he can stretch his legs again (he’s been in the stable for 36 hours only, but in his mind he’s a wild mustang that can’t be locked in and I actually love him for that)! So if pony is happy, I am happy too. Until I realized something – I can’t feed them in the riding arena. Damn it! What now?
➸ Hence the super great, not at all time consuming solution I came up with:
6:00am: Denise wakes up, doesn’t want to get up, fights with herself until
6:30am: she finally gets up
6:45am: Denise outside, feeding the ponies
6:55am: Denise brings Ponies in the arena
7:00am: Denise starts mucking out, cleaning, preparing hay and bedding
8:30am: Ponies back in, eating
8:45am: Breakfast – finally!
10:30am: Ponies back out in arena, cleaning stables again, preparing hay
1:30pm: Ponies back in to fill their bellies with hay again
3:30pm: Ponies back out, and/or some training or riding out
5:00pm: Denise back outside again preparing stables for the night
5:30pm: Ponies back inside for good now.
So basically I’m living for the ponies now. It’s kind of nice, but kind of also not. Because there is nothing else I do, expect for running around like an idiot, leading the ponies here and there, making sure they get enough food and movement and stay happy and healthy… And I? Haha, erm, let’s just not talk about that right now…
And then last weekend, Pinú’u thought it was an absolute amazing idea to thank me for all my efforts by stepping on my foot – but of course not like other horses do, nooooo, he had to do something special for his beloved human – he stepped on my foot with the tip of his hoof and put a FREAKING LOT of his weight on it. I never, in all my 22 years of horse-experience, have ever experienced anything like that. My foot didn’t stop hurting for hours and felt like it was on fire.
But to my surprise, my mood was actually very good through all these turbulences. Okay, in all honesty, the day Pinú’u got diagnosed with mud fever and the day after were pretty shit, because there were so many uncertainties and insecurities again. But then it got so much better! And you know why? Because I’ve got an incredibly amazing family I can always turn to AND I’ve got the most amazing friends who came all the way from Belgium and the Netherlands to visit me and the ponies. They were here exactly a week ago and I cannot put into words how much this has helped restore my faith in myself, in this journey and that everything will turn out just fine in the end.
Because if it is not fine, it is not the end!