Okay, so I’m still very sore around the ribs after my horse kicking last week. I’m pleased to say (and pleasantly surprised) that my bruised ego has healed much more quickly. You see I was very embarrassed and frustrated that I’d gotten a kick in the first place. I mean, I know that horses can kick and I know to be careful behind a horse. I never actually stand behind any horse and tell the kids the same repeatedly. Last week I was standing next to Robert’s rear leg to give him his penicillin shot (a consequence of a late night bout of ‘choke’ that we had to call the vet out for). I had just gotten the needle in and was about to connect the syringe when he went off. Before I knew anything he’d shifted and all I can remember was seeing his hoof coming toward me in a flash. It thumped into my rib cage, skidding off with a thwack into my right bicep. The force threw me backwards and to the ground. I realise now that I had been severely winded but for one split second I thought “Oh my God, he’s cracked my ribs!”. The only thing more crushed than my ribs was my pride – I had failed to administer the injection that Robert needed and was now having trouble breathing. I didn’t get angry at Robert – I know his actions weren’t intentional. I made sure I gave him a pat before retreating inside and leaving Alyson to put him away.
Alyson rang the vet the next morning and explained what had happened. “Oh, it’s easy to do” says the receptionist. Fantastic. It seemed easy yesterday too, until it all went wrong. The vet agreed to come out that afternoon and administer the next injection, showing us what to do. Apart from the extra expense this really underlined that I had not been able to do something I thought I could. Slightly depressing…. not a nice feeling. I’m going to get out my violin and start playing to myself. The vet came and as we’re walking down to the bottom paddock he says “so, you got a kick did you?” To my confirmation he then added “yeah, I’ve been kicked many times”. I’m not sure if this was meant to help but two things occurred to me straight away: first, I wasn’t getting any sympathy from the vet and second, I wasn’t looking for an encore performance. As the violin kicked in again I watched the vet administer the needle with ease and control. As he explained everything step by step he actually stuck the needle into Robert a second time to show how easy it was and to rub salt into my wounded ego.
The next day came and Alyson and I were very nervous. My confidence was at rock bottom. After Alyson had spent quite a bit of time grooming Robert I joined her. The vet had said to grab a fold of skin in one hand and to squeeze hard – “think of an old teacher you didn’t like, pretend you’re wringing their neck!” My first grab was half-hearted, Robert tried to pull away. I remember the vet then squeezing harder to assert who was in charge. I didn’t feel in charge but I squeezed harder. He remained still. With the other hand I quickly reached for the syringe in my back pocket, popped off the lid and injected Robert just behind where I had a tight handful of skin on his neck. The needle went straight in, he didn’t move. I plunged the penicillin in and removed the needle in a fluid movement. We had done it!
Elated and very pleased with ourselves I wasn’t at all bothered that I had achieved something that many people do every day without thinking twice. For me it was a very satisfying achievement, a challenge met. As we relaxed later I said to Alyson “well it’s true, you do learn something new every day…….”. That was a great feeling.