Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been uncomfortable around horses. My uncle has always had a few and with me being so small and them so big things just never felt right. Throughout my undergrad years, I worked at a few horse barns but it wasn’t much more involved than turn in and turn out. Since I want to be a large animal veterinarian, it’s time to get accustomed to working with horses. So I was excited to sign up for my school’s large animal medicine and surgery rotation.
My first equine patient was in isolation due to diarrhea of unknown cause. Isolation meant that I’d have to gown up every time I went in to work with him. His case was pretty simple, so no difficult treatments were needed but he was quite feisty before we became friends. Every time I would listen to his heart or brush him off he would reach around and try to pull off my blue suit. As I looked forward he would snap his face forward again as if he wasn’t doing anything to begin with. Once I went back to my task he’d start the same thing all over again. No matter where I went he would follow me. If I left the top half of his stall door open, he’d have his entire head into the adjacent room watching me. Filling up water buckets meant he would be drinking out of them as I filled them.
After the first day, I realized he really wasn’t all that bad. He was friendly and happy to see me. Knowing that his feet needed to be cleaned and that it would be a pain for someone else to gown up to help me, I just went for his feet and he let me lift each one and clean it. One morning I was brushing him and looked up to see my resident on the case staring at us through a window from the hallway. She was so happy to see us bonding that she made a heart with her hands. Every time I checked in on him through that window he would always come up to greet me.
I’m not lying when I say that I was sad to see him go. He was a great horse and I learned a lot working with him. While I’ve done more with horses in the past than I’ve let on, having an easier horse like him was a great confidence booster. Now that he is gone I’ve really missed him and I’m glad to hear that he has been doing well at home.