Ragwort

Last night was more fun than I had thought it would be. It was one of the periodic ragwort-clearing nights in the pasture, with dinner at the farmhouse to follow. I don’t think we have ragwort in the States, in the West, anyway. But it’s extremely poisonous to horses, and by law everyone has to clear it if they are aware of it.

The evening was gorgeous, for once: blue skies, the light falling gold across the rich green pastures and the woods. We spread out with our gardening tools and our sacks, uprooting the plants as we found them. (I got confused at one point and started uprooting thistles before I realised that I was going for the wrong plants.) The young horses in the pasture were quite curious, and followed us around, trying to see what we were sticking into the feed bags. It was fun. There was much joking and singing of old childrens’ TV show theme tunes and such. The kids didn’t get a lot of work done, but they were having a wonderful time rolling down the steeper hills and playing ambush in the woods. Just wonderful.

Afterwards, we all trooped into the house, where the owner’s wife had prepared huge pans of corned beef pie, peas, chips, beans. It was gorgeous, and everyone had fun talking well into the evening (Phil called me around 9:00 pm – I hadn’t realised how late it was). We heard some quite dodgy stories about presumably staid boarders at the farm, which were hilarious. (Evidently, our little village was a hotbed of wife swapping during the early Seventies. Who’d have thunk it?)

As for Kip, my heart falls every time I think about him. The antibiotic is knocking the infection out, so he should be much better…but his lameness is worse. The vet will give it another day or so before he decides on xrays, but I would assume that this would indicate that we do have a fracture. I hope to god that I am wrong, but I fear the worst. It breaks my heart to see him lurching around the yard on his twice-daily slow walks. He has his worried face on all the time, and looks all tucked-up, with a diagonal line in the muscle around his barrel, indicating that he is holding himself tensed against the pain. (He’s on both painkillers and antibiotics, but it’s obviously not enough to give him some ease against the pain.)

So we wait, for another day. And I feel so sad. Poor Kip…he has no luck at all.



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