Taking Our Medicine

Coyote came up lame. He’s twenty now so I guess I should expect the effects of a life time of hard work to start showing up. He spent most of his youth as a ranch horse on a ten thousand acre ranch where no four wheelers were used. He has never worn a pair of shoes and, until this year, never been lame except from injury. Trying to kill himself because he is delightfully neurotic type of injury, bleeding needing the vet type of injury. Earlier this summer he was favoring his right front a little. I watched him and didn’t ride, decided that he had been stomping flies too hard. He was better in a couple of days.
Then a month or so later I went out to find him standing with his front leg held out and shaking. The leg not him. I called the vet, she sent Bute home with a friend. Coyote hates Bute. The first time of giving it to him was ok and it went down hill from there. I couldn’t catch him anymore, having a very lame horse run away from you is an interesting experience, I had reached a point of putting the medicine on my fingers and shoving them into his mouth as he tossed his head in the air trying to avoid it. I was talking to my mom about it and told her that I knew there was a way to train him to take it willingly but it seemed like too much work. Then I listened to myself and realized how stupid I was being. The next time I went to doctor him I took along my treat bag and went to work.
First I clicked and rewarded him for touching the syringe with his nose, then his mouth. Once he was no longer trying to run away we got down to slipping the tip into his mouth, then holding it there. In no time at all I could put the syringe into his mouth and he would stand. That made me think that I should have been filming this. So I decided to get the last little bit on tape. Better than nothing at least.
Of course as soon as we worked on this the limping went down to nothing. I think he is mostly better. We don’t know what caused the issue but it appears to have been a soft tissue injury. It could have been stomping flies, sticking his leg through gates, like he likes to do, wear and tear or any number of things, hopefully he is done with that now, I plan on him lasting well into his thirties.


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