“I think there’s something in her ear.” Savannah had just got the bit in Velvet’s mouth and was about to loop the poll band over her ear. The base of Velvet’s left ear was crusty and oozing. I grabbed a tube of antibiotic and headed over. I expelled some ointment onto my finger and started to reach up towards her ear, but Velvet threw her head up high in the air. Velvet is one of the more co-operative and amenable horses I’ve ever met. She stands stock still as you squeeze any number of compounds; wormer, bute paste, banamine; into her mouth. You can dress wounds, give her shots or spray her for flies without her even flinching. But apparently she does NOT want her ears to be touched. Savannah Yee is a naturally gifted horse trainer with far more patience than I as well as a great deal of kindness. I handed Velvet back to her and said, “See what you can do about getting her to let us touch her ears.” She spent the next twenty minutes on the project. Velvet glared at her menacingly the whole time.
Later in the day, after sending Velvet backwards up the driveway when she threw her head up and by also moving very fast, I was able slap some antibiotic on the ooze. I did not, however, get a good look at it. After a couple of days, it was clear that the vet needed to come out and sedate her in order to get a good look. Even with sedation, Velvet was not exactly co-operative. The vet injected what was most likely an infected tick bite site with antibiotics and left us with steroid antibiotic cream. That was a month ago.
Velvet loves Shana. Or at least I am under that impression. Velvet is a particularly agreeable, big hearted horse, but she does prefer Shana. She softens and her eyelids half close when Shana strokes her neck. That Shana loves Velvet is without a doubt. Shana used to say, “I have a spot in my heart of all horses, only I have a bigger spot for Velvet.” Recently, Shana had a dream that Lisa, Velvet’s owner, had to sell her. Shana woke up sobbing. We are hoping that is just not going to happen.
Today Shana noticed that the ooze is back. Only Shana would have noticed it because it is only a tiny bit of ooze, but the tick bite site is undeniably starting to fester again. I tried to examine Velvet’s ear: Nothing doing! The Saturday crew was all assembled and getting geared up. Putting everyone on hold for an hour, maybe more, while I played “wrong thing hard, right thing easy” with Velvet and her ear was out of the question. I turned to Shana as said, “I need you to see what you can do about having Velvet be a little better about having her ears touched.” At best, I expected Shana to be able to get her hand within an inch or two of Velvet’s ear without her pulling away, but not more. Two minutes later I looked over at Shana and Velvet to find Velvet’s head dropped practically into Shana’s lap. Shana had her hand on Velvet’s ear and Velvet looked like she was thoroughly enjoying having her ears scratched and massaged.
Well I’ll be!