He was a keeper. That was easy to see from the first. He was the right color, good temperament, but best of all he showed signs of being the perfect height and build. Yes, indeed, he was a keeper.
Foaled February 12, 1988 at Mom’s Tag-Along Farm located, at that time, in Gaithersburg, MD. She had big plans from the start for him. She, and my step-father, Carl, bred, raised and showed Miniature horses for 20 years. It was their retirement ‘fun’. And fun they had. His registered name is Tag-Alongs Boomerang, which was quickly shortened to BR. It has held ever-since.
He was just a baby when Tag-Along Farm moved to Clifton Forge, Va. Days were full for this miniature horse who was sure he stood 16 hands tall! He was one…
Only in winter, and even then, it does not happen often nor stay too long. However, this past Monday through Wednesday was a different story. An ice storm that kept our part of the world heavily clothed in its command for two full days, and one night.
There was a frightfully, intriguing appeal to being out in that winter storm. Venturing out several times with camera in hand and hoping to capture an image of this beautiful, powerful storm kept me busy looking and watching. It seemed to want an audience. As if it wanted to remind us of just how helpless and small we truly are. Breaking, falling limbs, and trees crashing all around. First a small, creaking sort of sound, followed by a mighty rip of wood falling without knowing from where or to where. Best not to get too close. And the air. It was filled with the sweet smell of fresh split pine. How full the atmosphere was of that woodsy, comforting smell.
This magnificent storm captured my attention and imagination. Perhaps my images will convey part of its mighty story to you.
This is a legitimate question to one who is not familiar with this procedure. It seems so awful, and cruel towards the horse at first glance. Sometimes not everything is as it seems. In the horse world it is called “floating a horses’ teeth.” It can be a life saver for neglected horses because these painful, sharp tooth points interfere with eating and drinking.
Horses teeth do not stop growing over their life. The expression “long in the tooth”, comes from the horse world. An old horse is described as being ‘long in the tooth’ because their teeth grow longer as they age. Because of this growth, horses need regular dental care. This procedure is called ‘floating the teeth’. In simple terms it is like filing one’s fingernails. Floating grinds down the sharp, uneven surfaces of the teeth. Many times sharp, painful points are formed on the teeth. In the above photo, Dr. Rhode is feeling around Duke’s mouth to find the sharp points. These points are what need grinding down. They can cause pain in the mouth when eating, and could cause problems with digestion as well.
Horses are sedated before the procedure is started. In the above photo Duke is obviously not feeling too much pain. A bright light is attached to the mouthpiece that holds his jaw open. In the below photo, it has been circled in a green marker.
His heavy, sedated head is resting on a sling. A close look in the above photo shows Tracy’s gloved hand holding the pole steady. Tracy said Duke was very good because he did not shake his head from side to side, which makes for a very difficult job. I was very thankful.
After the points had been ground down, tarter was removed from his canines. This was the last thing to do. Duke’s dental appointment was over. Good, good horse. Great vet and assistant.
I am not able to post the video for some reason. It can been seen on my Instagram account @primaryfarmoperator.
History Note: Before hand tools were available for this job, it had to be done by the vet with big heavy files by hand!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain