The doctor makes barn calls

Posted on April 13, 2011


Yesterday was spring check-up day at Bay View Farm. Now there are not a lot of animals up there on the ridge, but what they lack in sheer numbers they make up for in personality. This is Monty the Morgan. (Yes, he is all out of proportion. That is the photographer’s fault, not Monty’s. He is quite handsome.  I have a little crush on him.)

Next we have Malika the Arabian. She was badly injured by a kick from another horse and could no longer be ridden. She came to Bay View just last year. That’s Darren Dawson holding her halter and talking to her while she has her checkup. You know Darren. He took you ice-fishing a few weeks back.  Over on the right we have Katy Newman, the farmer.  Like most of us, she has a lot of other roles in life, too, but this is one of her favorite ones. 

Last but definitely not least is Lucy, the retired Mackinac Island trail horse. She is 32 years old and beginning to wind down.

All three of them are rescue horses, and on Tuesday all three met their new vet. This is Dr. Chris Randall, giving Lucy a nice skritching.  He makes barn calls.

Ken Ernst is over there on the right. He takes care of the horses and manages the farm when Katy’s away and also has a prison ministry that takes him all over northern Michigan. This leads to interesting remarks like, “Darren’s going to be taking care of the horses next week while Ken’s in prison.”

Things went pretty well.  Monty went first, because he’s the boss. 

Easy does it.  Just a little pinch and it’ll be all over.  OK, Monty was not altogether sure he liked this whole thing.

In fact, he was pretty darned sure he did not like it. But he calmed down right away and it’s all better now.

Once upon a time Chris was an EMT and then a nurse. He moved up into administration. He chafed. “I wanted to call the shots,” he said. Besides, he’d been a horseman his whole life.  So at age 42 he went to Veterinary School at Michigan State University.  Now he owns North Country Veterinary Services in Ellsworth and spends his days with his boots in horseplop instead of in meetings.  Big improvement.  He loves it. 

There was a lot of discussion of feeding regimens and supplements.  (We live in this big sand dune called northern Michigan, not in bluegrass country.  Our horses benefit from regular doses of sand clear.  It’s like Metamucil for horses.  Glucosamine with chondroitin will help those joints.  We should float their teeth in the fall.)  And I thought I had high maintenance livestock.  I wandered off to flirt with Monty.  I wish I could show you a picture of him floating along over the far pasture, but I was too busy just watching.  You’ll have to make do with this one.