Imminent Arrival

the joys of logistic planning

Be warned, this post is long and contains a lot of run-on-sentences that I can’t seem to edit, but never-ending run-on-sentences has been my mental state for the last few weeks so it feels appropriate in its own way. Now on to the post!

Free ponies are never free. Not that Juniper was free, but her original purchase price was pretty cheap and it feels like she has been endlessly trying to make up for that. You may be thinking, but Sara, didn’t you just get a new horse, why are we talking about Juniper? Because that little shit has decided to make our lives difficult. Again.

Let us back up a few weeks.

New horse has been located! YAY! New horse is in another state and the logistics of that need to get worked out – less yay. Things to do: find a vet clinic in another state that can do a prepurchase exam for us, figure out how to get a horse from Massachusetts to Minnesota, figure out how and when to bring Juniper back home, figure out how to pay a person a large sum of money for a horse when you are not actually there to collect the horse but the person, for obvious reasons, wants to get paid before putting the horse on a trailer to go to another state, and then actually do all those horse-farm related things we’ve been putting off all summer because at first I was too sad and then it just fell of my radar until suddenly now everything is very much on the radar. The radar is full!

We worked with the seller to find a vet clinic in MA to do the prepurchase exam. Because (A) I hadn’t met the horse in person, (B) my long-term plan is to breed, and (C) I got seriously burned by Leeloo’s many health issues, I am extra paranoid and asked for a more thorough exam than I would have in the past. What I didn’t do was ask for a quote on how much that would cost because I didn’t feel like I had time to find another option because I had managed to find a horse shipping person who already had a scheduled trip from the Minnesota to the East coast and back with one open spot for the ride back and they would be coming back to Minnesota the same week as my school’s fall break which would work perfectly for us in terms of having some time to spend with the new horse (ha!). So, we moved forward with the only vet I had and luckily the seller was able to get the horse into the vet the same week and she passed the vet check. They were very thorough and called me while they were in the midst of the prepurchase exam to talk about everything and answer any questions I had and then also sent me detailed notes afterwards. I was not, however, expecting the bill to be as high as it was, and it wound up cutting into the overall horse budget forcing some renegotiating. That left finalizing shipping details, getting a signed contract, and figuring out how to pay in a way we were both okay with. After a lot of scrambling and freaking out about dates and worries about the US mail (how quickly can they get a check from MN to MA?) by Friday October 13 most everything appeared to be in order: the mare had passed the prepurchase exam and the wellness check, we had agreed on a price and got a signed contract, I had gotten a certified check and mailed it and it got there on time, the shipper and the seller had coordinated a pickup date and time, and we had a tentative window for the new horse’s arrival at our house for Wednesday October 18. The last thing to figure out was who would be able to help us bring Juniper home and when, exactly, should we bring her home.

We didn’t want the new horse or Juniper to be here by themselves for very long, but the shipping company could only be so exact in their estimate. We had a tentative plan with our neighbor to bring Juniper home either Tuesday or Wednesday and we had a back-up with another friend if that fell through, just needed a more exact window from the shipper.

There were also all those at home projects we needed to do to get ready for horses again, I’ll have another post (or several) about some of those projects, but the salient point was we were swamped with things that needed to get done NOW because it is Saturday and horses are returning to our house on Wednesday, when my friend who has been taking care of Juniper calls me. Not texts me, she calls me. This is not good.

Juniper is showing mild signs of colic. Great. For those of you unfamiliar there are several types of colic, but they all basically boil down to an issue with the horse’s digestive system that if not dealt with can kill them. We decided to have the vet out even though it is a Saturday so it will cost more (it sometimes feels like horses can tell time and know when it will be the most expensive to have a medical emergency) and the diagnosis is an impaction colic. Aptly named because it means there is some blockage in her intestines which is causing pain and preventing food from doing its thing. Lots of things can trigger colic but one typical cause is horses not drinking enough water when the weather is bad and without enough water, food doesn’t move through the system and can cause an impaction and of course we just had a string of cold wet stupid days and who wants to leave their shelter to get water in that kind of weather? My friend caught it early so the vet was hopeful the impaction was still soft enough to pass on its own with only minor intervention (water, oil, pain meds, and a medication to increase gut mobility) instead of a full-on surgery. But part of the process was not allowing Juniper to eat any hay until the impaction had resolved itself so we needed to put her into my friend’s separate sandy pasture that is mostly weeds at this point in the season with some water and wait for the impaction to pass. 

We do these things and Juniper seems to be feeling better and Sunday goes really well so she gets some hay time with her friends, as does Monday morning so she gets more hay time. Everything seems to still be on track; Juniper will get picked up Tuesday night by my neighbor, spend the night at the neighbor’s house, and then come home Wednesday around the same time the new horse arrives.

Then I get another call from my friend Monday night. Juniper is showing signs of colic, again. We have the vet back out and this time it appears to be a sand colic. This vet also looks at her teeth and sees that they are in pretty bad shape. Whether she was accidently eating sand while trying to graze the tiny amounts of grass or if she was purposely eating sand because she was hungry and/or her mouth hurt we don’t know.  I did know that Juniper’s teeth were terrible and I had already scheduled a dental with our normal vet for November once the new horse had a chance to settle in. The issue is that in order to resolve the sand colic Juniper needs to eat a product called SandClear, however Juniper has been unwilling to eat anything other than hay for a while now so there is no way she’s going to eat the SandClear. We hadn’t been overly worried about her not wanting to eat supplemental food because everything else seemed to be fine, and to be honest I was waiting until we had her back home to deal with it, I just hadn’t anticipated it taking this long to find another horse and therefore to get Juniper back home to deal with it. So where does this leave us? Juniper is now dealing with a sand colic and in order to resolve the sand colic I need her to eat the SandClear and in order for her to eat the SandClear she needs to have a dental, and I need to get this figured out NOW because it is Monday night and new horse is coming on Wednesday but it is after hours so every vets office is closed. AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

Not my original work – can’t find source on the internet – thank you person who made this image!

I hate to leave you hanging, but this post has gotten ridiculously long so we’re going to stop here. Check in next time for the shocking conclusion, I promise to have it posted in a few days.



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