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Zan's Story:  Meeting the Vet and Shots

(October 2003)



Today I met a new person. Iím not sure if I like her or not. She was very nice and patted me and told me I was handsome, but then she poked me and made me go OUCH!  It all started out pretty well. Katie came in my stall and put my halter on. Then she took me out and walked me around so the vet could see me walk. They both said I looked nice and straight, whatever that means.


Then we went back into my stall and the vet gave me some shots. Ouch! I suddenly realized that this is what Katie had been preparing me for with all those games where she poked my neck. She started them last week and I had no idea why she wanted to do this. She spent a lot of time teaching me that she could touch my neck with funny things. She touched me with her fist, sort of a bump. She also touched me with her fingernails, just a gentle poke. Then she poked me with a pen, not too hard but enough so I noticed it. She also sometimes held a piece of my skin between her fingers and then poked me.  None of it hurt and if I stood quietly I got a click and treat so I figured that if she wanted to do strange things, it was ok with me.  Now I realize that she had been getting me ready for shots. I sure didnít like them, but I did stand quietly. The vet said that foals are usually good for the first one but then act up for the second. I did get nervous for the second shot, but Katie kept clicking and treating me for standing so I was willing to put up with it.


As if that wasnít bad enough, then the vet reached back between my hind legs and touched me there. What? I was so surprised I kicked right out at her.  She did it again and again and I kept kicking at her. I had no idea what she wanted and Katie didnít explain it to me so I was very upset.  I wish she had taught me it was ok to be touched back there. Later after the vet left, Katie spent some time working on this with me. First she touched me on the belly and clicked and treated for me standing quietly. Then she worked her way back until she could touch me all over back there and I didnít mind. She said she was sorry she didnít practice this before the vet came, but she hadnít known the vet would do this. And she didnít realize it would be so upsetting to me.  I sure wish we had practiced ahead of time too. I donít like surprises, especially not that kind.


While the vet was still there, Katie asked her to look at the bump on my leg. I have a bump on my cannon bone that has been there for a while. It doesnít bother me, but Katie wants to know what it is.  The vet wasnít sure she wanted to touch my leg and she said "what, after he was trying to kick me?"  Katie said she was sure I would be fine as she touches my legs all the time.  She showed the vet how she could touch my leg and I didnít mind. So then the vet went to touch me and I did try to kick her. I really wasnít sure I wanted to let her do anything to me.  Then the vet looked at Katie and said ďyou do that again." So Katie touched my leg again and I let her.  I am used to Katie touching me all over and I know she wonít hurt me.  I know I will get clicked if I let her touch me, even in places where I am tickly.  Then the vet asked Katie for some carrots.  She gave me some carrots and then touched my leg and I didnít mind as much. I didnít kick her or wiggle at all. I figured she must be ok if she was feeding me carrots. But it sure would have been easier if she had explained it to me the way Katie does. I am much happier when people do things slowly and let me know if I am doing the right thing.


So that was my adventure with the vet. Katie said she wasnít surprised that I was so good when they did things slowly and clicked me as thatís how she does things. But she said she was surprised how reactive I was when they didnít do that. It doesnít surprise me. I am happy to cooperate when they explain things to me but I am very sensitive and sometimes I react without thinking when they do something I donít expect, or something new.


Here is how I looked in October.




And here I am doing my best racehorse imitation. Whee!



The next story is Feet.




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