No, we didn’t get another horse. We rang in the New Year with important equine procedures for our newest rescue, Freedom. He came to us as a stud and since we are not interested in breeding horses, we decided to move forward with gelding him. In other words, removing his testicles. I know, it made me cringe too and I wondered how it was all going to take place but it ended up being a pretty smooth process for Freedom and for us.
Freedom and Sparkle began their morning as usual, grazing alongside our neighbor’s cattle and alternating nap times.
Freedom had no idea what was in store for him. He would wake up later in the afternoon a new man, with level teeth and a little less hanging between his legs. Our amazing vet Dr. Jason St. Romaine with The Animal Center in Zachary, LA made a visit to Cypress Bayou Farm with his trailer equipment and performed everything on Freedom almost in our front yard.
Since Freedom joined us back in October, he struggled to eat his protein feed and we continued to watch most of it fall out the sides of his mouth. He still had his baby molars and sharp points that prevented his teeth from rubbing properly which in turn caused food to fall out. The interesting thing about horse teeth is they continually grow and grind further down as they age. It’s extremely important for a horse’s teeth to be a flat surface so that they chew their food efficiently. Otherwise, their digestion is greatly hindered. This can result in weight loss and poor absorption of nutrients. We thought Freedom’s dental situation might improve as he lost his baby molars but sadly, it didn’t. Dr. St. Romaine suggested floating his teeth or smoothing the sharp edges, making the surface relatively flat.
The floating procedure was the first part of Freedom’s big day. He was loaded in Dr. Jason’s portable holding pen and slightly sedated so that he was calm and comfortable.
Of course Freedom’s laid back attitude helped when Dr. Jason starting inserting the mouthpiece needed for the procedure.
I hate to see my sweet boy with that horrible thing in his mouth but he wasn’t uncomfortable and because he was slightly sedated, he didn’t fidget.
Not really the most pleasant looking contraption but it’s one of those necessary evils in this case. I don’t like the mouthpieces at the dentist either. I can’t ever figure out how to breathe through my nose initially and end up choking. It’s ok, I know I’m weird.
If you can’t stand the sound of a drill, you may not want to play the video because the floating procedure is certainly reminiscent of a horrible trip to the dentist for a filling.
Freedom was such a champ during the procedure and I’m pleased it didn’t seem to be a horrific experience for him.
Now to the more gruesome part of that afternoon, Freedom’s gelding procedure. As you can imagine, Dr. Jason put Freedom completely under for the surgery.
Because this is such a large animal, Dr. Jason tied a rope to one of Freedom’s hooves and then to his portable holding pen for easy maneuvering during surgery. Pretty neat set-up. Andrew’s best friend Andy is in the shot to the right and found the afternoon interesting to say the least.
WARNING!! the video and pictures below contain a few unsavory words and graphic material.
And that was that. Freedom’s testicles were removed and they rest in peace.
Dr. Jason clamped the area and allowed Freedom to sleep off the anesthesia.
After some sweet dreams, Freedom awoke and Andrew immediately helped him start walking. It is crucial to have a horse resume activity after a procedure like this, to allow proper clotting and circulation.
Because swelling ensues with this procedure, the incision was not stitched up and allowed to drain over a couple of days. During chores the following morning, I was in a panic as I greeted Freedom, only to find blood dripping down his leg. Aagh!
After checking the draining a little closer, I could tell it was slow and still trying to clot which is exactly what Dr. St. Romaine said would happen. We confirmed with our vet just to be on the safe side. Freedom was back in the pasture with Sparkle later that day and by this week, he resumed scurrying after Sparkle like his old self.
The remainder of our holiday weekend was pretty wet and spent inside watching football and catching up on Netflix. It rained from Saturday morning until Monday afternoon, flooding the pasture a little more each day. Our Dixie girl didn’t seem to mind the companionship while we waited out the rain.
Even with the flooding, Freedom and Sparkle were able to still enjoy parts of the day grazing.
You would think after the immense amount of rainfall we received in the year 2016, we would catch a break in the New Year. Nope! I’m grateful we have seemed to resolve the water draining under our house but now, our issue is improving drainage of our pasture. We are in a special flood zone, prone to flooding, but there are better ways to divert the rainwater that we are looking into as a long term solution for the farm.
We tackle each hurdle one at a time. We pray for God’s strength to help us through our frustrations because we can’t do it on our own. Our farm is slowly getting back into shape, piece by piece, but it hasn’t been easy on us emotionally or financially. We have taken a break to save more in preparation for roof maintenance, barn repairs, fence overhaul and pasture improvements in this next year.
Hunting season is coming to an end soon and I will finally have my cowboy back. Even though farm projects are put on hold during hunting season, there are many blessings that are provided to us. We have meat in our freezer and added wall decor because of his hunting success this year. It may have been quiet on the farm front lately but we are just about to get going again!