This is a strange period of inactivity. In the UK despite the grim wet weather, the spring holiday weekend brings everything to a halt including the veterinary practice. We await authorisation from the insurance company to use a magic pill which will slow the progress of DiDi’s disease - however it is very expensive medication and they may not agree to pay. The full six week treatment would cost more that DiDi is valued at. However I suspect the vets are keen to try the medication out to see if it works, since they won’t have many EMPF patients on their books. But we all know that lesions on the lungs don’t heal.
A horse is what it represents to humans because of three fundamental attributes:
- the horse can be trained by man to be ridden and controlled;
the horse is incredibly powerful in its hind quarters,
and the horse has a massive set of lungs which give it the ability to run.
If any of these attributes break down then it becomes unfit for man’s purposes.
We have all heard of the expression ’no feet, no horse’ - in a sense we might just a well say: ’no lungs, no horse’. A horse which coughs should not be worked as the act of repeatedly coughing brings on distress. DiDi is coughing more and more, yet all she is doing is walking around her paddock or standing in the corner of her field in the shelter of the tall hedgerow. On other occasions she will have a ‘freak out’ and run around the field which presumably is when she is feeling some form of distress.
One day she shows lethargy, the next day she will have bursts of hyper activity and be fractious.
With hindsight, it was this very pattern of behaviour, be it to a lesser extent, which started us out on this journey of discovery and despair. The unexpected ulcer infestation accounted for some of the odd patterns of behaviour but the mood swings must be associated with the lung condition, unless there is some other ailment lurking about we have not yet discovered. At times she stands oddly.
The question of moving her to the fresh green valley has been put on hold and only partly because of the length of the journey. I don’t want her going off out of my sight and control. Anyway she can’t be moved far out of the reach of the vet which already knows about her illness unless there is some improvement in her condition. That green valley might have a role for rest and recuperation but to move her there only makes sense if she is showing signs of recovery. If the medication does its magic then we can think again but she is best left where she is for the time being.
I sorted and cleared away her ‘things’ yesterday. She won’t be needing her saddle or bridles nor all the numbnahs, and the winter stable blankets. Even the nearly new purple lunging surcingle and its blanket will not be needed until she can be exercised again. I sorted them, cleaned them and put them away in storage containers in the tack room at home. All she needs nowadays is her waterproof raincoats and perhaps her fly sheets for when the sun does start to shine and the flies come out in force. Her summer coat has grown on well and from a distance she is looking good - be it a little lean. And to think just a couple of months ago I was starting to enquire about a new dressage saddle for her.
I have noticed that there is no smiling when we talk about her - which is often. I have stopped trying to explain to local well wishers who ask after her well being. If they do ask then invariably my voice breaks and my eyes start to water. I make some brief comment and quickly change the subject.
There is a framed photo of DiDi and me on the shelf opposite my armchair in the lounge. I don‘t like to move it but at the same time I don’t like to look at it. Alongside is a photo of my terrier bitch who went on her way a few weeks ago. Also on the shelf is a photo of my ten year old Rottweiler who is booked in shortly for an operation to remove a fatty lump.
My little family is going through a bad patch, that is for sure.
Writing helps me to clear my mind. I apologise to the readers for the sad tone of this article but as I have said many times before, if we owners had not enjoyed the companionship of a horse (or dog) then we would not feel this awful, debilitating pain when they are in trouble. The grief is perhaps part of the price we pay for owning them.