Audrey Pavia
July 23, 2012

two horses running in corral

Photo by Audrey Pavia

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Rio (left) and Milagro couldn’t be more different when it comes to dealing with the vet.

I’ve been very fortunate that my two Spanish Mustangs, Milagro and Rio, have been healthy so far. I’ve had my share of sick horses in the past, so it’s a real blessing to have two horses that have only ever needed routine vet care.

Today, my vet, Dr. Gibbs, came out to check my horses’ teeth and give them their annual inoculations. Although Milagro and Rio are the same breed and very similar in many ways, they couldn’t be more different when it comes to dealing with the vet.

Milagro was the first patient and completely at ease and relaxed in his stall until he saw Dr. Gibbs walking toward him. I don’t know it if was the tell-take smock or just the way the vet carried himself (Milagro’s memory from a vet visit a year ago) but my 14.3-hand horse grew at least 2 hands taller the minute he spied the vet. He rocked back on his hind end as the vet approached, sheer terror in his eyes.

Dr. Gibbs has great bedside manner, and put Milagro at ease as best he could. All that the doc needed to do was inject a sedative. Everything after that would be a piece of cake. At least, that is how it’s supposed to go.

After getting the shot into Milagro’s incredibly tense neck, my handsome gelding began to go limp, his head hanging nearly to the ground. Dr. Gibbs held up Milagro’s head and began filing his molars. Milagro tolerated the front molars fairly well, but by the time he reached way into the back of his mouth, Milagro protested. He tossed his head from side to side. Granted, it was in slow motion because of the sedative. But he still had enough umpf to give Dr. Gibbs a workout.

Next, it was Rio’s turn to visit the vet. My extroverted youngster was watching Milagro’s entire ordeal with great interest, and couldn’t wait for his turn. When I went to lead him out, he eagerly walked out of his gate and marched right up to Dr. Gibbs, completely unfazed.

Dr. Gibbs shot him up with sedative, but I honestly didn’t think Rio needed it. Having a giant metal file shoved into his mouth actually sounded like something Rio would enjoy. Sure enough, he didn’t resist Dr. Gibbs in the least. Where Milagro tried to back up and shake his head to rid the vet from his mouth, Rio leaned into Dr. Gibbs, clearly enjoying his drug-induced stupor and the vibrating file on his teeth.

When it came time to put the still doped-up Rio back in his stall, he sleepily balked, not wanting to go inside. He was apparently having way too much fun.

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