Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Fall Visit From Our Vet

Mike Gotchey, one of our longtime vets, came out this afternoon to tend to several of our horses and pregnancy-check our heifers. After much deliberation, Pete decided to geld a stallion, Dudley, and one of his young offspring, Bob. The process requires some sedation, but is relative quick surgical procedure with a surprisingly short-term recuperation period-a matter of a few days. Even though Pete is satisfied with the prospect of Riggs as our next stud, it was difficult to watch Mike geld Dudley, who has sired so many well dispositioned offspring. But it’s time for a change and Dudley will make an awesome rope horse and all round versatility competitor as a gelding. He and Bob will also, as Mike said, just get to be horses because they won’t have to be isolated from the mares and geldings.

Mike next tended to Allie, a little three-year old filly, who is one of the best
horses to come out of our breeding program. Allie tore her suspensory tendon in February while being boarded in Texas. She was seen by a number of vets from Texas A&M up until July when we brought her home and Mike has been overseeing her recovery since then, which seems as though it’s lasted a very long time. Today, Mike was pleased with her progress. There’s just a small area that needs to scab over. The critical recuperation was in the tendon and he believes she’ll be just fine in terms of having full use of her foot and ankle. After the initial injury, she could not flex her foot, but now her motion appears almost normal. Mike also treated her for a sarcoid on her right hind ankle: a tumor type condition that has been resistive to treatment.

Watching Mike suit up in his protective plastic outfit to preg-check our heifers, is a little like watching an astronaut prepare for launch. There’s the suit, the plastic sleeve, the plastic shoulder apron, and the plastic gloves; protective eye glasses and requisite hat from someone’s land and cattle company. As we push the heifers up the alley, we realize, as we do every year, how big these animals really are. We push each one up into the squeeze chute where Mike can step in behind them. Most all cooperate with his uninvited arm seeking out signs of a fetus deep in their pelvis. All are pregnant save one, the one who’s been wandering in and out of the pastures like she’s looking for someone or something. Now we know her wandering was a search for an elusive boyfriend.


Patti Hill said...


You're a wonderful writer. I enjoyed "visiting" your ranch and will be back again, if you don't mind sharing your piece of heaven on earth with me.

A good friend, Holly B., suggested I stop by your blog. I'm very glad I did.


Mary B. Kurtz said...


Thank you so much for your response. I remember meeting you in Grand Junction with my mother several years ago. I hope your writing is going well. I look forward to having you follow along.