Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shedding Season!

Angel arrived fifteen weeks ago today. She was skinny, scared, mistrustful and kicked rather often. During the past fifteen weeks, she has gained approximately 300 pounds, has stopped rearing and she has not been observed kicking in over a month. She is becoming friendly and calls out a greeting whenever she thinks it might be time to eat. Yesterday she allowed Debbie Krimsley to handle and work on her forehead, jaw and poll. Now, instead of rearing when she is frightened, she vigorously bobs her head up and down, but her front feet remain solidly on the ground.
Angel is in the middle of shedding season. She looks rather like an old moth-eaten velour jacket at the moment. She still has strange ripples in the hair on her neck, which look like really cheap velvet, in a strange and "wrong" sort of way. She has a coat that I have not seen on a horse before. It is the wrong texture, is dull and coarse and just looks "wrong." Fortunately, she is shedding a lot, and I am eagerly waiting to see if the new summer coat that comes in will look better. I am hoping for a sleek and shiny, healthy copper-penney look. But since I don't know how long a horse must have good nutrition before you can see it in their coat, I don't know if her summer coat will look better or not. At the moment, she just looks like an old velour stuffed animal with half of its fur rubbed off.
The two photos above were both taken on April 9, 2011. The photo at left was taken on Dec. 9, 2010 when Angel had recently arrived at the Animal Shelter in San Martin. I feel like Angel is making good progress. She had another very successful bodywork session with Debbie Krimsley yesterday. Angel was more alert and aware of her surroundings during this session, but she was able to hear sounds and observe sights without feeling the need to move her feet. She stood very quietly and very still while Debbie worked on her, even though her ears and eyes and head were moving a lot, taking in the activities around her. Debbie got to touch and start working on places she had previously not been able to touch (including her forehead and under her jaw).

I am sure that Angel was disappointed to notice that she was receiving less food this week. As I was grooming her and trying to get that yucky old hair off, I realized that I can no longer feel any ribs! And the point of the hip that used to protrude prominently is now soft and rounded. So I cut back her feed to two flakes of alfalfa and about 3 lbs. of grain per day. (For the past four months she has been eating 2-3 flakes of alfalfa and 4-8 pounds of grain per day!) I plan to start exercising her a little bit more, but not a lot. She is still taking very shallow breaths and her breathing doesn't seem "right" when she runs. I am hoping with more time to relax and more of a sense of safety, maybe she will be able to breathe more deeply and use all of her body more properly. We have time, there is no hurry.

One evening last week I was grooming Angel in her pen. It was the end of a long day and I was using a shedding blade to try to hurry up the shedding process. Angel was standing quietly, without a halter and without food, just enjoying being groomed. The night was dark, but the barn lights were on. After I had been grooming her for about thirty minutes, I was a little startled when I looked around and saw that she was standing in front of an open gate! Apparently I had not latched the gate properly. Angel had pushed it open with her nose, and the gate was standing open in front of her. Since I did not have a halter on her, she could have left at any time! But she chose to stay and be groomed. I'd like to think she decided to stay because she enjoys my company. But I think the truth may be that she is as tired of that weird-looking, icky old winter coat as I am, and she just wanted me to get it off of her as soon as possible.

1 comment:

  1. She has filled out nicely! Good to hear she is coming along ok.