Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Horsey Weekend

I had a horsey (and for some parts, catty) weekend--just the way I like it!

On Friday, I went to a dressage show with a new friend. The location was beautiful (Lamplight in Wayne, IL), the weather was beautiful, and the horses were stunning. There were warmbloods, Lippizaners, Friesians, and none of them were under 16 hands tall. The best horses seemed to barely touch the ground, the best riders seemed to barely move.

Don't let dressage fool you--it's one of the most difficult equestrian disciplines. It takes immense strength, balance, and coordination from both horse and rider in order to be done well.

Here's one of my favorite examples of dressage. The trot on this horse is out of this world!

Dressage on YouTube

I went straight to the barn and practiced my own dressage skills! It was a great day; eight solid hours of horses. I woke up that morning still bummed, my head aching from grinding my teeth all night. But I forgot my worries until I returned home from the barn that evening.

On Saturday, I set up some small fences in the outdoor arena. They were truly tiny but better than the ground poles I usually go over. I couldn't resist! It's probably the fourth time I've jumped Limerick since 2002. I was using my dressage saddle (of course, what else?) and I was wearing running tights (I had run to the barn). My husband stopped by and took some pictures with his cell phone.

My form isn't too shabby considering the circumstances, I think!

Today Lim and I went on Trail Ride Number Four. We went with Lim's boyfriend, Nick, and his owner. It was just the two of us and I was a bit apprehensive because Limerick is still new to the trails and Nick could be unpredictable on the trails. I had to take the lead. On the past trail rides, Limerick would follow behind the other horses. But today, Nick was too nervous to be up front so he followed us.

Limerick was great, she looked around a lot more than she normally does though.

Oooo I'm all alone up front, it's my turn to look out for trolls and boogiemen she must have been thinking.

At one point we were walking by some enormous houses (a part of the trail goes behind the backyards of some houses) and one of them had a real estate sign facing the trail. Nick didn't like that bright, white sign too much and spooked when we were almost done passing it (he had to eyeball that thing real good first), and Limerick in turn jumped forward a bit. But it was no big deal.

Now the catty part...

We have four cats: two Maine Coons named Travis and Ivy, an orange tabby named Brewsky, and a mostly-white calico named Lexi.

Every year we take them to the vet in sets of two for their yearly exam/vaccinations. For some reason, since we adopted Travis and Ivy, Brewsky has started to go ballistic whenever we haul out the cat carriers. Expecting more of the same, we took Travis and Ivy to the vet first, on Saturday morning.

Since it was a new vet, we explained the situation to them and asked if they could give us some tranquilizers for Brewsky. The vet gave us some tablets of acepromazine. Yay. We hadn't used tranquilizers on Brewsky before but I was hoping they would make the whole experience a little more bearable for us, Brewsky, and the vet.

When I say he goes ballistic, I mean it. If you set a carrier in front of him, he will turn into a 15-lb steel coil of raw feline muscle and power, lashing out with claws and teeth and spit. He'll maim you if he can. You know those houses with 600 cats that the people on Animal Cops go into sometimes? You know how some of those cats just flip out and go batshit crazy, all teeth and claws and flying fur, when they loop the cat grabber thing around them? That's Brewsky and carriers. And vets. Scary.

Travis and Ivy had an uneventful visit at the vet's. We arrived back home with ace in hand.

This morning, it was Brewsky and Lexi's turns to see the vet. I chopped a tablet of ace in half and tried to hide it in Petromalt--this hairball remedy malt stuff that my cats just loooovvee. Brewsky licked around the tablet. I tried hiding it in cheese. No dice. Wet cat food? Nope. Finally I told my husband to hold him and I shoved the half-tablet--which was a goopy, pink mess by then--down Brewsky's throat. He spit and raced off. I expected to find chunks of pink all over the front of my bathrobe but there were only two tiny flecks. He had consumed about 2/3 of the half-tablet. Good enough for me.

I showered, got dressed, and checked on Brewsky. He sat in the hallway, eyes muddled and wet, his third eyelid peeking up. When he saw me, he stood up and lifted his tail in a "hello", his hind end wobbling a bit. Aww, I hated seeing him that way. Orange terror aside, I was used to seeing him behave a certain way--sharp and ready to play or run, eyes gleaming with energy, not glazed over by acepromazine.

Getting him in the carrier was a breeze in comparison to past events. I threw a blanket over the carrier so only the opening was visible. I set it on the bed and as my husband held the carrier open, I pushed Brewsky into it. One hiss, a little balking, and he was in. W-o-w.

I put Lexi in her carrier and we were off.

At the vet's we opened the carriers once we were in a private examination room. Lexi scooted onto my lap and hid her face in the crook of my arm. She sheds--a lot--and sheds even more when she's nervous. Before long, I was covered in white fur.

My husband got Brewsky out of the carrier somehow (I'm not sure how, I was busy petting Lexi) and Brewsky hissed and growled. Oh joy. We let him go back into the carrier. Let the vet take care of him, we said.

The vet arrived and examined Lexi. I watched her face when my husband warned her about Brewsky. It pinched for a split second. It was a different vet from the one that saw Travis and Ivy the day before. My husband and I said we would rather let the vet assistant hold Brewsky; if we did it, Brew would hate us for a long, lonnnng time. The vet picked Brewsky up, grabbed the scruff of his neck to keep him steady, and whisked him into the back.

Screeching and howling ensued (or so my husband told me--I wasn't sure if I heard it or not; I heard something but I can't always trust my ears, ahem, ear).

The vet came back in a few moments later to tell us that Brewsky had an ear infection. A scratch and a blob of blood dotted her cheek. Yikes.

We got Brewsky back. Turns out his teeth are bad, too--he has some gingivitis along his back teeth. He's going back to the vet next Saturday for a teeth cleansing, which he will be knocked out for. The vet told us to give him a whole tablet of acepromazine this time.

On the way home, Brewsky pooped in the carrier. My husband let him out the carrier and saw some small, dark balls in the carrier. Thinking they were cat treats the vet left for Brewsky, he reached in and picked one up, only to realize they weren't the type of cat treats he was thinking of. Ha.

Don't get me wrong--Brewsky is normally a sweetheart. He's my favorite of the four and he adores me. When I'm on the computer, he will often sit on my lap and purr and drool on the keyboard. When I watch TV, I like to cross my legs and put a blanket over them. He will jump right up and settle down, especially on cold winter nights. And if he's in the right mood, I can pick him up and he will boost himself into a comfortable position and rub his cheek on mine.

Brewsky on non-vet-visit days:

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