Eventually, we all get sick at some point. I have as much vested faith in that statement as my belief that, "Eventually, all horses go lame at some point." But while a sore horse is allowed a few days off until it's sound again the horse's human caretaker (that would be me) doesn't get to enjoy such luxuries. I may be sick with what I can only imagine is the flu but darn if my horses don't continue to eat, poop and require some sort of exercise. That means that after Night Number 3 of coughing til dawn and wondering if my head would explode if I blew my nose one more time, I still had to stuff my feet in my boots, trudge outside and feed, muck and turn out my two horses.
I have to admit, once I do get moving, I feel a little bit better. Nothing unstuffs nasal passages like a brisk whiff of soiled horse bedding being forked into a wheelbarrow.
Then there's the sneeze trade-off: I sneeze and Wally obliges by wrinkling his muzzle and blowing horse boogies all over my parka.
When I'm not feeling well, I try to decide just how sick I am. The Illness Threat Level escalates depending on how much or how little I'm willing to do. It goes something like this:
Too Sick to Browse at Tack Store
Too Sick to Surf Internet Horse Sites
Too Sick to Buy Feed; Call for Delivery
Too Sick to Ride!!!!
If I'm too sick to ride then I've probably also contacted my doctor and am gulping antibiotics like my mare chomps down carrots.
To me, there's nothing much worse than being so ill that the mere idea of riding makes me groan. What's worse is being in a haze thanks to antihistamines or cold remedies. That's when it's unsafe to ride. It may even be unsafe to handle horses, depending on what sort of horse you have. For example, I'm not sure I can dodge Wally's playful antics if I've taken Benadryl. The horse and I seem to be existing on separate levels of the space-time continuum. Because of this altered state of existence, I believe that some medications need to come with warning labels for horse people. In addition to the ton of labels already plastered on prescription bottles and over-the-counter cold relief products, there should be one that reads: WARNING: Do not attempt to handle or ride horses while taking this medication.
Aren't horses as liable to cause us damage as working with heavy machinery? We get those labels all the time: WARNING: Do not operate heavy machinery while taking this medication. Uh, I hate to tell the pharmaceutical companies this, but when I'm sick enough to be consuming medications, I'd much rather wield a gas-powered chain saw than attempt to blanket Wally in a thunderstorm.
Between sipping bowls of chicken soup and cups of hot apple cider I'd love to read your comments. Click on "comments" below or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org