you can’t win them all

I have drool on my shirt, horse drool. It’s a sign of happiness. Stoney got his hocks injected today. That’s not what made him happy. We’ve been planning this for a long time. Had the x-rays in February and have been saving for the injections ever since. His right hock was severely compressed so he should be feeling a lot better very soon, at least in his hocks. But that’s not what made him drool.
Nine year-old Sophia joined me for the vet call. She actually wanted to be there when the hocks were injected, which is a good thing because Kristin (the vet) needed someone to hold the syringes and bandages and Sophia, being the meticulous, attentive girl that she is, was just the person for the job. (I’m sure I would have dropped a syringe or a spool of gauze, if not in the manure, than in the bucket of soapy water being used to clean the injection site.)
Being attentive and meticulous, Sophia had also commented on the fact that Stoney’s eyes were a little red. She was spot on with this observation. He did not have an infection. (I would have caught that.) He has allergies. On my own, I never would have thought to bring this up with the vet.
The on and off redness in Stoney’s eyes has been going on for more than a month. After examining his eyes with the proper magnifying equipment, Kristin put steroid ointment in his eyes. Seeing as they had just been carefully examined, he was sedated and Kristin was doing the application, I felt confident his eyes were not being put at risk (from the steroids). It was just the ticket for Stoney. He felt better almost immediately. He deliberately put his head over my shoulder and drooled on me because he finally had some relief from his itchy eyes.
Kristin said that regular application of Clear Eyes should give him all the help he needs. (We suspect the irritant is probably from sycamore tree that is adjacent to the barn.) But for today, the steroids were just the ticket.
I’m so glad Sophia was there. A lot of the time I feel like the kids are half my brain. Sophia is the one who labelled and organized my grooming supplies. (Haley keeps the medication schedule. Shana keeps the calendar.) Sophia also posted a an envelope to the wall in the tack room that says “horse salary”. It’s where they kids put the “lesson” money, which, since it all goes to the horses anyways, is entirely appropriate.
Sophia will also no longer be coming out to the horses. She swims four days a week, is a perfectionist with her schoolwork, travels frequently with her family and often has swim meets, like she did yesterday. Both Saturday and Sunday, all day, were spent at the swim meet. This morning, on her way to the horses she said she didn’t know if “horses was her thing”. Maybe they aren’t, but it’s hard to imagine that being burned out from the weekend didn’t have anything to do with her reluctance to come to the barn this morning. In any case, I cried and I will miss her.

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