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A Lost Tooth and Optimism!


You may be wondering what this is! It's the underside of a tooth that I'm Dashing (our 4-year-old thoroughbred racehorse) left in his feed bucket this morning. He's hoping the Tooth Fairy is going to visit.


And this is the top side of the tooth (it's actually called a 'cap'). It's only 0.5" high at its thickest part, and measures about 1" x 1". I'm Dashing will lose all his 'caps' before he is 5.


Since the grinding action of the molars can cause sharp edges, Veterinarians or Equine Dentists will 'float' the horse's teeth by using a rasp. The frequency that this needs to be done depends on the age of the horse and diet.


And here's a horse-related story that I wrote for the Uxbridge Writers' Circle word challenge a while ago. The required words are in italics.


Optimism


I’m pretty sure that I’m not making the same mistake twice as I move into this farm.

The barn has ten well-constructed stalls with oak walls and rubber matting, as well as a window in each, with the necessary bars for the horse’s protection. The small farmhouse has brick walls, gingerbread trim and a cold, damp, stone-walled cellar. Extensive restoration and upgrading are called for. When I first looked around, I knew that I’d never be able to keep the place warm. There’s a vintage wood-burning stove in the kitchen, and that’s it. It would be warmer sleeping in the relatively well-insulated barn with the horses until the renovations are completed.

The barn is what drew me to the property and compelled me to make a submission to the owner. It was like an interview process. The old man reserved the right to refuse anyone he thought wouldn’t respect the land and the buildings. He told me he was an avid horseman but had to sell his beloved mares when he fell ill about five years ago, and now he had to leave. There was no family to give it to. He wanted someone to be a caretaker, a custodian of his beloved home of over sixty years.

Despite recent events, I wondered if I was headed for more heartbreak and disappointment when I shook his hand and agreed to his conditions.

My passion is thoroughbred horseracing and breeding. Those of you who’ve had any experience with it will have guessed most of what I’m about to tell you, but not all.

A few years ago, I purchased a modest farm with lush fields and stately maples that guarded its frontage and entrance. This was to be the realization of my vision. As a young boy, I yearned to live in the country and have racehorses, just like my grandfather. I did my research and bought mares and yearlings at the sale that had great potential for breeding and racing.

I had nothing but bad luck, or so I thought.

It all started when my relationship with Sally ended.

Two mares lost their foals early in their pregnancy, two other mares proved impossible to get in foal, and the fifth had a large glass marble inserted into her uterus: this is sometimes used to reduce the symptoms of heat during the racing season, but also prevents conception.

The three young ones didn’t make it to the races. They suffered repeated episodes of colic, skin diseases, coughs, foot issues, eye infections and so on. In brief, they were unwell most of the time.

We thoroughbred racehorse owners and breeders learn to live with disappointment. The few highs we get have to carry us a long way. Only optimists can survive.

At first, I accepted all that happened as bad luck. But as the stress crept up on me and consumed me, and my optimism wavered, I imagined ghosts, curses and other menaces invading my farm to destroy my hopes and dreams. I got sick, lost my job and consequently sold everything.

With my dreams shattered, and my self-esteem at rock-bottom, I knew I had no hope of securing another job, so I became a day-trader on the encouragement of a buddy of mine. I had a bit of luck almost as soon as I started, and built on it. But one day, as I stared at the computer screen with its graphs, data and talking heads, I thought of Sally.

This part of the story is long, so I’ll cut it to a bare minimum. I hired a top-notch private investigator, and she infiltrated Sally’s circle of friends with ease. The golf course, the gym, the book club.

The PI told me she found Sally to be a bitter, vindictive woman who must not be crossed and needed to be in control. She couldn’t help herself and asked me how on earth I got into a relationship with a woman like Sally? She said you only have to look into those cold, steel-grey eyes to see the iciness inside.

It wasn’t long before the PI got close enough to Sally to share stories about past relationships. She heard how enraged Sally was that I’d abruptly told her to leave, and on her birthday. (I had my reasons). The PI found out more and my hunch turned out to be correct. Sally had sabotaged my life. She didn’t hold back as she told the PI how she’d contaminated the horses’ feed, poisoned the water troughs, infected the grooming brushes and done many other heinous, harmful things.

The PI was astounded, horrified and distraught that anyone could hurt beautiful, innocent horses. I agreed with her, but I was also relieved that there’d been no ghosts or curses and thanked my lucky stars that Sally hadn’t burned the barn down with the horses in it.

I told the PI that I would not report it.

She said she would take the case to the SPCA and that it was out of my hands. I gave her the vet bills, the specialist assessments, copies of x-rays and ultrasounds.

The upshot of it all is that Sally’s serving six months in jail for animal cruelty, starting yesterday, and I’m moving into my new farm today. And the PI is moving in tomorrow.

The horses arrive next week. I can afford first-rate security systems and I’m using them. No horse is going to suffer again, through human interference, on my watch.

We’ll sit on the verandah tomorrow evening and gaze at the horses. And, with a glass of wine each, we’ll toast our future in the horseracing business.

Queen’s Plate, here we come!



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