Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting Rid of the Evidence

The evidence of Maggie's ill-fated leap over the paddock gate is slowly disappearing. The scars on the fence (the splintered posts, and kicked-down boards)have all been repaired-- thanks to Dave and his dad Fred, who was in town this past weekend. His jaw dropped when he saw how much damage Maggie had actually done, especially to the otherwise sturdy metal gate. He and Dave lifted the gate from its hinges, laid it on the driveway, placed two boards on it, and drove the truck over it in an attempt to straighten it's warped, bent, twisted frame. It's not perfect, but it is usable again.

The scars on Maggie's body aren't so easy to erase...though she is improving. On Saturday, Maggie trotted for the first time. Well, perhaps "trot" is a bit of an overstatement. I was throwing a fresh flake of hay into her paddock, and instead of the toe-dragging shuffle she has been using, she gingerly jogged about 5 steps toward the pile. She was very lame, but I still consider it a small step forward on the road to recovery.

Her cuts and scrapes are healing well, but her stifles are still puffy and sore. She pins her ears, swishes her tail, and spins her head toward me violently when I try and touch her left stifle-- very out-of-character for this laid-back, "laissez-faire" girl.

Unfortunately, as a side-effect of her lack of exercise, and of my sympathy toward her, I'm pretty sure Maggie's full-figure is expanding once again. I've tried cutting back her grain, but even when I'm riding her six days a week, she only gets a handful of sweet-feed plus vitamins. If I give her anything less, she won't get anything at all, and then I'll have a cranky, door-banging, tantrum-throwing, head-tossing mare on my hands.

But worse than the grain, is the belly-fattening hay. Murray and Maggie are in separate paddocks now, (until Maggie is once again able to defend herself against Murray's constant harassment). I thought this arrangement would be a perfect opportunity to offer skinny Murray all-the-hay-he-can-eat, while keeping Maggie's hay consumption to a minimum. I'm trying, but Murray eats so slowly, and Maggie devours her smaller portions so quickly, that she ends up standing at the fence watching him eat. Then, every time I step out of the house (or even if she sees me through the window) she looks longingly at me and bats her long black eyelashes, and I think about how helpless I felt watching and listening to her gasp for breath while stuck on the fence, and I cave. I open a bail, and I toss her another flake--which she of course devours at hot-dog-eating-contest speed. Then the coy, pleading looks start again.

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