Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Warning!  Some graphic photos!!

Back in January, I had my vet look at a lump on Gem's chest.  It was located on the fatty area of his breast.  I noticed it last September and actually thought he had been stung by a wasp.  My vet looked at it and recommended that it be removed and a biopsy done just to close the loop, but his first impression was that it was nothing serious.   I trust my vet.  I booked the surgery for the end of April.   All went well.

Beautiful, even stitches.....
The 2nd morning after surgery, barn staff arrived to discover that Gem and Noah were loose in the barn and had been eating, pooping and pulling stuff off the racks during the night.  They were also shocked to see that the top door of Gem's stall was still locked!!!  The bottom door, however, was wide open.  What the heck?!   Yep, Gem limbo-ed under the top door to escape...and then he let his buddy, Noah out.  As far as they can figure, the very tall visiting horse in the stall next to Gem's, reached over and unlocked the bottom door bolt.  Sigh. You cannot trust Gem when it comes to containment.

Of course, he pulled out all of his stitches during his escape leaving a huge, gaping hole.   So, I hosed it (couldn't be restitched because it had been open too long), flushed it with iodine and then coated it with honey.  Eventually, I stopped hosing it but continued with the honey for a few weeks.  It was a very deep wound and has taken a long time to heal, but it has healed from the inside out with no complications.  Yay!   Thank you honey!  I do appreciate that he's robust and a good healer.

 * * * * *
Our bridge was like this one.
This horse does not like the noodles!
By early June, Gem's wound was nicely scabbed over and I was able to join some friends on a trail ride.  I love that I can trust him to be sane after a long absence from riding.  He lived up to his name and we had an awesome ride, staying out about 1.5 hours.  On the way back, we walked by the obstacle course.   A long "tippy" bridge caught my eye, a leftover from the clinic earlier in the week.  DH's Mom started to tell me to let Gem walk up and sniff it and allow him to ease into stepping on it, etc., etc.   Pffft!  Gem and I walked up to it and just walked across.  Even when it tipped forward, he didn't hesitate.  We turned around and went back over it again just to prove it wasn't a fluke.  :-)   Then we walked through the hanging noodles.....DH's Mom was, well....impressed.  :-)  I know that I can trust Gem to have the confidence needed when it comes to things out of the ordinary.

 * * * * *
In July, DH's Mom asked if I would go offsite with her and ride a local trail (what?!).  Apparently, TS and SS are not interested in going offsite this year.  I declined; riding in 30C weather has no appeal to me, but said that I would go later in the year.  I did however, agree to allow Gem to go offsite with another rider.  MC rides a Clydesdale, but the owner (she leases) would not allow the horse off the property.  I volunteered Gem as her mount so she could go with DH's Mom.  I looked at this as an opportunity for Gem to experience another location without risk to myself.  :-)  MC is a more experienced rider than I, more physically fit and confident.  I showed her his tack and then wished her a good ride.  I trusted her to take care of Gem and she did.  He actually loaded and unloaded with ease and rocked it when they were on the trails.  The only time he refused to walk on was when they came to a big puddle.....strange...  But they did not force him because this ride was for getting both horses familiar with the trails.  MC couldn't say enough good things about Gem.  :-)

* * * * * *
One of my goals this summer was to get comfortable riding on my own.  I don't want to be dependent on others.  I have been out on Gem "by myself", but usually within sight of others.  There is still a safety net, so to speak, when you can see other riders.  We needed to get out there alone.   I tried!   There were a number of times that I did not make arrangements with my riding buddies to meet up so that Gem and I could go it solo.  The best made plans....sigh.  People I hadn't seen in weeks seemed to jump out of the woodwork when I arrived, asking if they could join me on the trails....of course they could... :-)  Eventually, the day came when Gem and I were alone.  There was no one, with the exception of LA's mother, at the barn.   I was excited...this is it!....not a nervous bone in my body!  What the heck?!   No issues with mounting; stepped right up and on.  Off we went.  Well, sort of.  Gem started off fine, but once he realized it was just him and I, he walked vvvverrry sloooowly and kept looking behind us, searching for our usually riding companions.   I could almost hear him say, "Wait a sec...where are the others??"   :-)  He eventually came around, after a lot of encouragement, and we walked around the open fields (I wasn't quite ready to go into the orchard or forest).  One thing about riding on your own is that it's quiet....really quiet...  So I chatted a lot with Gem, just to make sure that the critters could hear us and nobody got spooked.  Strangely, I think he sort of liked my chatter. Note to self:  Find Gem's bell necklace.   My heart really swelled as we headed back to the barn and I had a big smile on my face.  I think our partnership was truly sealed with that ride.  I trusted him and he trusted me.  I felt that we could do anything after that ride.   What a wonderful feeling....


  1. Glad that his surgery went well and it was nothing serious. Honey is a great healer. He is quite an escape artist though. I have a few of those and it sure makes life interesting.

    So happy for you and Gem that you got out alone and had a great ride! I usually talk or sometimes even sing to my horses on rides out. I think they prefer the talk though since I can't carry a tune to save my life. I feel that talking to them keeps them calm and focused on me and not on other stimuli.

    His off site ride sounds like he was a star. I had two horses who refused to go through puddles too. I've been told, but don't know if it's true, that they can't tell it's a puddle because of their vision and think it's a hole in the ground to avoid at all costs. Who knows, maybe they just don't want to get their feet wet.

    It was good to hear from you. I was actually thinking about you today and wondering how you and Gem were doing. After reading this it proves that Gem is ...well, A Gem!
    Love that horse.

    1. Hello GHM! So nice to hear from you.....

      His surgery site is almost completely healed. Apparently, it takes a long time for that area to heal because it's so fleshy. LOVE honey....I had heard of it's healing powers and my vet actually recommended it. It looks like there will hardly be a scar...the hair has grown back nicely.

      At one point during our solo ride, I started belting out "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack....I have no idea why....but I remembered all the words!! I think Gem appreciated my effort. :-)

      I heard the same thing regarding large puddles; horses don't know where the bottom is so they avoid it. What I find interesting is that Gem has no problem going into a pond and spashing about.... :-)

  2. Glad his wound healed up OK.

    Great that he and you are doing so well together - warms the heart.

    1. Hi Kate! Yes, it's looking really good. Thanks for your kind comments. I feel really good about where Gem and I are in our relationship. When I took up riding a few years ago, it was to have something to do in retirement. With retirement right around the corner, I can see my dream of riding trails on my trusty steed become a reality. :-)

  3. Aw Wolfie, what a beautiful post, I've got the biggest grin!!

    Gem, otherwise known as Houdini! :) I'd have loved to see him doing the limbo though. And people say animals don't have character; great teamwork is what I say! So, so pleased that the op was fine, and that's he totally healed.

    And your solo ride - wow!!! Superfantasticallyfabulous!!!!! You guys really are a team supreme now :) Your gorgeous boy is aptly named. xxx

    1. Hi Joy!

      Even my vet was shaking his head about Gem limbo-ing under the door. :-)

      I feel really excited about my riding right now.....it seems like the last couple of years was just getting the "scary" stuff out of the way....been there, done that now lets get on with it. :-) Giddy up!

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