Now that I have a few days distance from it, I can write about what happened with Siete on Thursday and Friday. It doesn’t seem as horrible now as it did at the time, so I’m trying to get a more philosophical perspective on it. Here’s the story:
Thursday afternoon, before my husband was rushing out of town to work, I begged him to help me put “soft” boots on Siete’s back feet. The vet really wanted me to use the poultices on both feet at the same time. So, I put together these very nice little booties of duct tape, vet tape and Animalintex. I discovered that the sound of duct tape being pulled off the roll is one of the only things that has ever spooked Siete. We managed to tape one bootie on her back right foot. It was getting late, there was a train to catch, and most of us were getting very testy and tense. Suddenly, my 94-year old mother waltzes out of the house waving carrots at us, wanting to “help”. I yelled at her to go away. Siete saw the carrots and reared up trying to show her enthusiasm. Yes! Carrots! No! Booties!
The battle began. I wasn’t about to let her have the carrots after she behaved so badly. There was no way that the other bootie was going on her left back foot. She was really mad at us. My husband was pretty steamed too. He managed to get her back in her stall, but she reared up again when he was in there with her. She freaked out rolling and struggling to get the duct taped boot off. Finally, she managed to break through the bottom of it so that it was wrapped around her ankle like a bracelet. It was a nightmare. Fortunately, no one was hurt. I drove my husband to the train station and decided to leave Siete with the bandage around her leg until morning. My mother refused to believe that she had done anything wrong. She called me a control freak.
Friday, when I was all alone with the horses, Siete was a perfect angel. She stood still while I took a scissors and cut the bandage off. I finished all the hoof related doctoring that needed to be done. I did some groundwork with her, and she responded like a good girl. Then, it was noon, and Silk wanted to come in from the pasture for her lunch and a siesta. The horses were at the gate. As usual, Silk stood ground tied while I led Siete out first. Again, my mother appeared out of the blue, shouting that someone had called while waving a cordless phone and a handful of carrots at me. Siete noticed before I did. I yelled at Mom to go back in the house, but she’s almost deaf. She was determined not to be dissuaded from her mission. Siete was prancing like crazy. I was turning her in circles. My mother was feeding carrots to Silk. I couldn’t see letting Siete have a carrot while she was so riled up.
I managed to lead her into the barn. Amazing that she went with me. Again, once inside the stall, facing the back, she tried to rear up. I just lost it, yelling at her and jerking the lead rope as hard as I could. She stopped, snorting loudly and I was able to turn her around so I would eventually be able to get out of the stall safely. I didn’t really want to reward her by letting her go eat out of her feed bucket, so I made her stand still and wait. She wasn’t happy, but she didn’t try to push me out of the way. I counted to thirty and then let her eat.
I was shaking when I got out of the barn and went back to Silk who was still standing patiently at the gate. My mother had huffed back into the house, angry at me. After leading Silk to the barn, I stormed into the house and had a big argument with my mother. She has no clue what she did wrong, and I realized that there’s no way that I can make her understand that she must not do that carrot waving thing again EVER!!!
So, I’ve waited until my mom was napping to bring the horses in for the last two days. Fortunately, she usually takes a siesta herself every day. I’m going to try to sit down with her and explain why what she did was dangerous. Unfortunately, it’s like trying to talk to a child. She is so stubborn that she can handle herself around the horses and mad at me that I don’t allow her to help me anymore. The reality is that she has very fogged vision from her macular degenerative disease and refuses to wear hearing aids so she can’t hear what anyone says. I appreciate that she wants to keep pretending she’s fine, but it terrifies me that she - or one of us - will get hurt.
Siete’s feet are doing much better, and she’s not being a punk. I understand why she reacted the way that she did, but I don’t want her to think that she can behave like that. I must work on her stall manners. I pride myself on having horses that are safe to be around. It’s amazing how fast that can change and a bad habit can develop.