The War On Scratches

Jan 8, 2010 - 9:59 AM
Midge shows off his dazzling white socks. Photo by Sara Lieser.

I hate scratches. Hate, hate, hate.

Scratches, for those not in the know, are a pesky bacterial/fungal infection that cause ugly open irritations on the back of the pastern. They plague Midgey, with his sensitive white legs, and I’ve tried every remedy out there to cure them, from the benign to the totally wacky.

A brief list of some of my personal favorites:

  • baby oil and mouthwash. Try getting those two to MIX, much less spread.
  • MTG. I love smelling like bacon all day!
  • Majikal Healing Cloth thingies ordered on Ebay. Yeah. Not so much.

And something I haven’t yet tried: vagisil mixed with hemorrhoid cream. Because trying to look cool while buying either of those things is such a pleasure; buying both at the same time would make the checkout lady at CVS cluck apologetically, and I don’t have time for that.

Keeping Midge’s leg hair trimmed short is crucial, and we have religion on drying wet legs really well, so his skin doesn’t go dry-wet-dry-wet and crack. But the cure of choice for now is a mixture of Nolvasan, Desitin and Azium powder. It seems to work pretty well, especially when used as a sweat.

Of course, that implies that you can get anywhere near Midge with a piece of Saran Wrap.

Midge is, to put it delicately, a Sissy Mary Wussy Pants. He’s a chicken of the highest order. As a younger man, he was a merciless stall kicker, banging on the door at any opportunity.

We halted it by putting “The Floofie,” a big white fluffy duster, on his stallfront. He cowered on the other side of his stall all night. Every day I ride in our indoor, which he’s been in since its opening in November of 2007, we have a conversation about why he WILL go all the way down to the A end of the arena, from BOTH sides, at ALL THREE GAITS, and he will do so with a smile.

And don’t even get me started on soap bubbles in the washstall.

But these scratches get away from us fast if we’re not on top of them, and I want them completely healed by the time show season rolls around—I have a great story about an overzealous ring steward at a recognized show who accused me of using leg chains on him, no joke—so it’s a’ sweating we go.

Last winter, I had to pin Midge in a corner to get plastic wrap within a quarter mile of him. And it may be possible that I forgot to mention this fact to my working students.

“How’d the sweat work out?” I asked them this morning.

“Great,” one said. “But it took me for-freaking-ever to get him wrapped.”

“Oh?” I say, hiding my shameless glee at having someone else to deal with his drama. “Really?”

Three cheers for my girls. 
Midge was, apparently, not a total ass, and neither of my working students had any bruises or bandages from the experience, so I’m not feeling terribly guilty. If he’s a jerk tonight, I’ll let them play with The Floofie for retribution.
Sprieser Sporthorse


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