Monday, 12 October 2009

Pony tales

I had one of those moments on Saturday when your blood freezes in your veins. It was all courtesy of Bullseye (above, showing why we called him that - it's also the horse in Toy Story.)

Bullseye is our shy little 11hh Welsh section A pony. I found him courtesy of a story in Country Living magazine about the RSPCA appealing for homes for a herd of Welsh ponies they'd rescued. How could I say no?

The RSPCA had rescued 56 ponies. There were so many that they ran out of names and when the rescuers stopped for a meal on the way home they catalogued the ponies using the menu as a guide. So Steak and Chips it was - Steaky for short - when he arrived seven years ago.

He's a scaredy cat. He's scared of his own shadow. He doesn't like women much, has respect for Brian, and has adored R5 since she was old enough to toddle in his direction and try to fit her little pink fist up his nostril. (She used to do that to every horse she met. She still has all her fingers.)

On Saturday Bullseye was lying down in the field. That's not unusual, the sun was out and he likes sleeping. H7 and R5 ran off to climb their favourite trees and I strolled along patting the other two ponies as I passed and filling my pockets with hazelnuts.

Then Bullseye hauled himself to his feet and that's when I had my frozen blood moment.

His off side hind leg was dangling in a nasty swollen sort of a way. When I approached him, full of trepidation, he dabbed his hoof to the floor, did a whole body pain spasm and nearly fell over.

I rounded up the girls and we looked at his leg from a distance. It looked horrible. There was no way he was letting me near him or his leg, so I had to leave it to Brian who put a head collar on Bullseye and led him gently to the yard.

Fortunately we had a sachet of the horsey painkiller, Bute, in stock, so he had that, and all the homoeopathic remedies I could think of (arnica, belladonna, apis, bryonia), some cool mix and a carrot or two. After a while the heat subsided in the leg and he let us near enough it to have a careful feel. He a lump the size of a hen's egg on his cannon bone, probably from a kick. There was nothing else to do but give him box rest and more painkillers.

That's when the ridiculous things started happening. Since July 1st 2009 you can't just ring up the vet explain the problem and arrange to collect some Bute. Now the vet has to Come and See (£££'s). First he has to look at the pony's passport. Then, and only then, can he examine the pony, find the lump on his leg, diagnose that he'd kicked himself (we knew that) and prescribe Bute and box rest (we knew that too). Then Brian had to Sign Things to promise that we wouldn't eat the pony, sell it for someone else to eat, or eat the Bute ourselves. Then Bullseye could have three days worth. Honestly it would have been easier to score him a line or two of cocaine.

So Bullseye's in the stable punctuating the peace with regular shrill whinnies at the girls in the field who are not in the least bit bothered that the third member of the herd has disappeared. He's got Baary the Ram for company, a nice net of this year's hay and he's high as a kite on Bute.


  1. I can just imagine how stomach-churning a moment that was. I agree with you about the stupidity in having to get the vet out for completely obvious things too - heavens above, it wasn't THAT long ago that horsey books had a list of what you should have in your medicine cupboard in the tack room, and it included colic drenches, poultice stuff, sulphanilamide powder etc. It's all about MONEY (we've just changed vets . . . for that very reason, as the bills DOUBLED). I expect poor Bullseye is feeling very sorry for himself, but I hope he will soon be mended and back out with the girls again.

  2. Sorry to hear this sad tale. Hope Bullseye is a whole lot better, and very quickly.

  3. I do hope Bullseye is on the mend - though I fear your bank balance must have taken a hit too. (Love the image of R tying to stick her hand up horses' nostrils... er, rather her than me!!).

  4. Another example of bureaucratic overload when all you want to do is get help to the animal asap. Hope he's now on the mend.

  5. Get well soon Bullseye. Poor chap.
    (I would have kicked the vet, probably).

  6. Bullseye didn't consider kicking the vet. The vet is the nicest person you could wish to meet.It's not his fault, its those faceless rulemakers again.

  7. Hope bullseye makes a quick recovery and needs no more vet visits. Daft rules from Europe again, we don't eat horses here do we! I have an ancient horsemanship manual from the 1880s, it would be banned nowadays.

  8. Having spent a large part of last night attempting to catch a mad panicing pony in the dark in 54 of hectares of unfenced field I coudl do with a hit of bute, whatever it is, glad for your pony he found a safe home.

  9. Bute? Sounds like an island to me. But I'll have some if you're offering...


I am sorry to have to add word verification thing again but I keep getting spammed.