Who says horses don't have a sense of humor?

For some time now I have been meaning to take a look at Rusty‘s lip tattoo. I wanted to get the number and look up his history from the Jockey Club. He came to me with a sketchy history and no idea of his original name. He is a real character with a quirky personality so naturally I was curious about his background.

Well yesterday was the day. I got him from the pasture and brought him to the grooming/tacking area. After liberally applying fly spray (the bugs are awful this year), he was able to stand still long enough for me to curl back his upper lip. While this doesn’t hurt the horse, Rusty definitely doesn’t like it. After several false starts I finally got the lip in a position where I could read his tattoo.

I barely got the whole number when Rusty let loose with a big sneeze and blew gunk all over my face and head. Ewwwww. That was no accident. Rusty was laughing so hard that I half expected him to fall to the ground. Of course horses are way too cool to actually do that but all you had to do was look in his eyes to see the mirth.

Rusty has a twisted sense of humor.

After that we had a lovely arena ride. He gave me a super smooth collected trot that more than made up for his earlier antics. All in all it was a very good day.

Herd Dynamics & Compassionate Herdmates

Like many parts of the country, we are getting a serious winter storm today. With a layer of ice already on the ground, the heavy, wet, snow has made it even more likely to inadvertently go ice skating.

When I checked the horses, they were happily eating hay at the west end of the pasture, sheltered by trees while snow piled up on their backs. As the storm grew in intensity, they decided to migrate to the east end of the pasture where they have a run-in shelter. That is all except Merlyn, theĀ  16.2 Thoroughbred.

In order to get to the run-in they must cross over a small stream. Merlyn was convinced that the ice was too bad to cross. He paced and pawed and snorted as he watched the herd now comfortably waiting out the storm in their shelter. This went on for more than an hour.

Finally, Arlo, the mini stallion, accompanied by Jasmyn, headed back up to Merlyn. Arlo calmly trotted right across the stream and went up to Merlyn and invited him to wrestle. Then he turned around and went back across the stream. I could hear him shouting “Come on, it’s not so bad. If I can do it, you can do it.” Emboldened by his friend, Merlyn hesitatingly jumped across and rejoined the herd at the run in.

The entire episode was incredibly fascinating. It was a clear demonstration of the camraderie that exists in the herd and their ability to reason and figure out a solution.

I knew that Arlo and Merlyn were buddies but I had no idea the depth of their relationship. What a privilege it was to witness.

Mystery Swelling on Thoroughbred

Overnight Rusty, an eight-year-old Thoroughbred, developed a very strange swollen spot at his navel. There was no evidence of injury, just the swelling. He was too upset from discomfort to communicate, so I decided to monitor the situation before deciding upon a course of treatment.

Hours later the swelling had extended along his underside past the midline. Now there was heat and tenderness and the area around his navel had swollen so that it looked like two testicles! One of the most bizarre things I’ve seen. Since he has an outie, my mind leapt to scary thoughts of a ruptured umbilicus. He loves to romp and maybe he strained himself? I put those thoughts aside and decided to focus on a less frightening cause, like an insect bite.

Pet Chatter Rusty Belly
Swelling from navel to midline.

I cold hosed him, then liberally applied clay to all the swollen areas. I administered a natural antibiotic remedy orally and another mixed with his feed. This routine continued, minus the oral antibiotic, for 12 days.

Pet Chatter Rusty Testicles
Testicle-like swelling at navel.

The swelling along the midline was totally resolved within three days. At seven days the “testicles” were hugely reduced and the heat was gone. By day ten the “testicles” had disappeared. I continued the treatment for two more days just to be sure. Whatever it was has totally resolved.

Pet Chatter Rusty
Rusty back to normal.

Have you seen anything like this? What was your experience? Please feel free to share ideas and your experiences by clicking the comments link below.