Thursday, August 16, 2012
I did something this morning I would have never thought I'd do.
I helped mi maestro (my teacher/groom) kill a young opossum.
This, from a woman who captures spiders in her house and releases them outside.
I arrived in the barn this morning and one of the first things mi maestro did was show me this opossum hiding out near our stalls, behind some bags. I looked at mi maestro with wide eyes he didn't understand.
"That creature has to go!" I exclaimed. He looked at me quizzically and I explained to him that opossums were the carriers of EPM (equine protozoal myeloencephalitis), then his eyes got big, too.
I took the manure fork from him and chased that pestilence-carrying opossum right out of the barn, with an extremely rare cuss word on my lips. I would have kept chasing him, but the critter scurried under the manure bin.
Sometime later, the opossum appeared again, right outside our barn behind a trash bin.
That was it. Something had to be done.
"Kill it!" I exclaimed once again.
Mi maestro said he would do it, used a rock and then asked me to remove the carcass, as he was feeling a bit bad. I scooped up that plague-causing critter and tossed him in the manure bin, but saw he was still moving. So, I finished the job with the manure fork. That was the end of him.
We have horses worth thousands of dollars in our barn and this creature has the ability to give them an infection from which few fully recover and some die.
I won't lose any sleep over it. Amazing how your perspective can change given a certain set of circumstances.
Also in, "There's a First Time for Everything," catagory: This morning marked the first time I taught mi maestro something about horses. He now knows opossums are the carriers for the potentially deadly, definitely life-altering and almost always performance-affecting EPM, from which there is no real cure.
This week marked my two-year anniversary on the backside. I'll never forget the date, as I have a win photo that was taken on my very first day backside. Surf is a mare I always recall with love, as she had so much heart. She also has the distinction of being My First Win.
I am starting to see where the time spent backside is starting to pay off with invaluable experience.
I've become adapt at saddling a horse, bit, bridle and all. I would be able to find work as a groom today, if I so desired.
The next step is preparing myself to be an assistant trainer, which is where I would like to segue from my current job as a flight attendant.
I'm a book learner, so reading trade magazines/books and finding study materials online comes natural to me. But all the books et al. in the world don't match simply being in the barn, a few days here, a few days there, adding up over time, getting the practical experience.
Then something occurs and you have an ephiphany, being able to draw on your two years of experience and expand your knowledge
This happened to me with the news concerning I'll Have Another's alleged osteoarthritis and joint injections. A Twitter friend conducted an interview with a highly regarded equine orthopeadic surgeon and blogged about it here: Q. and A.: Understanding Joint Injections
All of a sudden, I was remembering seeing joints tapped and injected with hyaluronic acid or IRAP (Interlukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein). I was recalling Doc teaching me by dropping synovial fluid onto my fingertips, to check it's viscosity (it should have the consistency of motor oil). I was remembering specific horses I had seen in various stages of osteoarthritis.
Eureka! That blog post by my Twitter friend started me on a whole new course of study on osteoarthritis, of which I have yet to complete. The book learning is complementing my practical experience, plus I'll run a question or two by Doc when he comes around.
Day by day, I'm learning a little bit more.