Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sorry I'm Late: Evil Wasps Destroyed My Hand

Wow folks, sorry for the late late late post! I have a reasonable excuse; until this morning, my hand was the size of a grapefruit, and about as useful for typing.

See, I am taking Annie to the library to talk to the public about horse and pony ownership/rescue/safety this Friday (more on that later). But Annie is still a little shaky when it comes to trailering, so we needed to practice. I arranged to take Annie to a friend's house just down the road, where I could unload her, re-load her, and return home. Annie loaded into the trailer beautifully. Flinging my arms about in paroxysms of  joy, I promptly smacked my right hand directly on top of a wasp nest I hadn't noticed earlier.

My first thought (after "ow,") was that I was trapped in a small tin can with a 1,200 pound horse a nest of angry wasps. I knew that I could not scream or even whimper loudly.

Luckily, the wasps chilled out, a very quiet and terse discussion with my husband got the rear door open, and I got Annie out without so much as a scratch on her. Thank God. But there was no time for screaming yet, because we were running late to the friend's house. So I killed the nest with a moldy paperback, had the hubby bring Annie back, re-loaded her (she did great again), and drove away.

Hubby: "Sooo, what just happened?"
Me: "There were wasps. I got stung!"
Hubby: "But you didn't even make any girly noises!"
Me: "I hate your face."

I ignored my hand and everything went pretty well at the friend's house, except when it came time to re-load Annie.

After two hours of longing, walking, begging, bribing, tapping, coaxing and pushing Annie, I admitted defeat. My husband offered to walk Annie the two miles home. After that, we cleaned up, did some more remodeling work, and went home. The next morning, my hand looked like this:

When I went into work, boss-mom insisted that I go to the doctor, after which I ended up going home for the day, where I slept for roughly 18 hours. Apparently I'm not full-blown-gonna-die-allergic to bees/wasps, but I am "sensitive" and in danger of becoming more sensitive with each sting. I have an appointment to get one of those pen things.

Aaaaaaaaand that's why I haven't posted recently!

My hand is much better now, only occasionally leaking a clear fluid, so I can totally type! You can look forward to posts about Cowboy Story Time and Full Contact Jousting, and of course this Friday's Horse & Pony seminar at the library.

Speaking of which, if you had to talk to a largely horse-ignorant group of people about horses, what would you tell them? The seminar is aimed at new owners and potential adopters, but I know for sure we're going to attract a lot of the "we just came to pet the pony" crowd.

I'm a little overwhelmed. Normally, I rant to horse-knowledgeable people-- these people know only what they've seen on tv! So, what should the average Joe learn about horses in an hour or less?


  1. Good morning! Sorry about your hand :)

    I am a new avid follower, I have read all of your blog posts all the way back to the beginning (at work, of course!) and quite enjoy your writing style.

    So I think you should scare those new-to-horse-people-who-just-came-out-to-pet-the-ponies so that less horses will be shoved into someone's backyard in the next few days as a pet and starved to death...(did I say that out loud?!). In all honesty, I think you should talk to them about basic care, vet, farrier, feed, perhaps they'll realize horses are not a $30/month pet that will do okay in your backyard, they need a lot more care than a dog or cat or fish.

    Whatever you choose, I think you'll rock it!

    1. Hey, thanks for reading!!! I tried to scare them as much as possible :)

  2. Definitely agree with EquiDanes that the basic care thing is important. When I'm introducing newbies to horses, I give them the "predator vs. prey" speech. A lot of people think a horse is just a big dog, or a Trusty Steed, and they don't understand that they are dealing with an animal that doesn't see the world the same way we do and has a different reaction to stimuli than an animal that is used to being the hunter rather than the hunted. Also, I like to mention the whole line-of-vision issue. Granted, a lot of this stuff is due as much to our petting zoo culture as it is to ignorance of horses in general, but it's definitely helped discourage my young cousins from jumping up and down and squealing in the presence of a horse, or going at the front of the head for pets.

    1. "Petting zoo culture," I love that!! Seems like everything in American culture, from talking animals in movies to actual petting zoos, encourages kids to think of animals as totally safe, living stuffed animals. Great point.

  3. Sorry about your hand and good on you for keeping your cool! I would have probably done a version of the spider dance.

    You might also want to tell folks that "healthy as a horse" is a myth. We all know that our four legged friends can and will get hurt due to curiosity and other factors. Maybe also about eating habits.... more hay, less grain... they can't live on Cheerios and moldy bread. :-)

    1. LOL, very very good point-- seems like sometimes owning a horse is about cleaning up messes and bandaging up accidents, with the occasional ride! Also, I do the spider dance all the time XD

  4. I'm glad you're not dead, that would an awkward ending to the blog... and I would bereft of having a local blogger to read and then there's the whole "who is gonna get your horses thing".
    Seriously though I was worried and I am glad you are okay!
    I have a friend who had to drive her goat to his new home in the back of her small SUV, with me in the back seat petting the smelly beast while he pooped on a tarp and ate grain from the same area...
    I have/had wasps in my trailer, I doused them with oven cleaner which did kill some of them, I knocked the nests down... but didn't squish them as I should have.
    I went back.. and lo and behold they were starting over. So I doused more, chucked the nests out and squished them..
    I haven't looked to see if they are trying again... BUT I will have flying insect and wasp killer on hand.
    I would check your trailer again!!.
    Also check out John Lyon's "Go forward Que", you can teach it to Annie while at the farm, use a stall or door, gate, light/shadow.. then proceed to stepping on a piece of plywood on the ground.
    The basics of it are using any vaguely solid cylindrical object like a stick, the handle of a riding crop, a broom stick.... or very stale french bread ( you know that is how they won the french revolution-those make great clubs- and they can be whittled into knives, shoes or rifle stocks.... sorry sorry.. I digress)
    The point of using a stick like object is to tap the horse on its hip bone, while giving a tug or pulling lightly on the halter in the direction you want the horse to go. You can create your own "slang" for the term you want the horse to go. IE "Load up", "Forward" or "get in the trailer or you are glue".
    By using a door way, stall entrance and going from light to shadow, and vice versa you are teaching the horse to go forward on que and then transitioning that to different surfaces helps the horse to be more at ease with loading. Be sure to teach the horse to go backwards too.. otherwise its hard to get them out of things like a narrow 2 horse trailer...
    I had a person I knew who loved her 20 yr old QH mare, they could get her to load into the trailer once, go some where and then be there for the next 2+ hours trying to get her to load again to go home.
    I happened to be there and saw this... using the handle part of a crop, I tapped her hip bone, any forward movement and I stopped, I rubbed it, and we praised her and gave her a moment to rest, then went at it again.
    Pull at her head lightly and ask her to load, Her feet planted and she would not load... tap tap tap went the handle on her hip bone along with the "Load up" and light tugging on her halter to indicate where she should go. She moved closer, i stopped tapping. We had her loaded in 15 minutes (IF THAT) with that method.
    Now most of what John Lyon's preaches makes me want to shake him till his clothes fall off...If I wanted a robo horse I would go and invent one, but that go forward que is a great tool to have in your horse training toolbox.
    Just make sure the wasps are dead, and that you are wearing a beekeeping suit (the horse will only think you are some sort of demon from the Nth dimension), but as soon as you shake a bucket of grain, they will just assume you are your normal weird human self... and don't forget the epi-pen!

    1. The "go forward" cue is an excellent idea, thank you!!