Julia's Weekly Midsussex Times Column

A Weekend with the Travelers

The first summer after I qualified was a magical time for me. Every day brought new challenges and I was beginning to feel that I could rise to each one. I had spent the last ten summers cramming for exams, so having the opportunity to be out in the lovely Sussex weather doing what I loved was fantastic.

At this time my main duties were treating small pets and ponies. One weekend an emergency call came through about a foal that had cut itself and might need stitches. A friend of mine from veterinary school was staying with me at the time, so she accompanied me to the call.

The foal was stunning, already taller than me. A skewbald - with large splashes of brown and white, and a wide white blaze down his nose. Hooves already big enough to do serious damage if he were to kick out, luckily for us he didn’t. A magnificent frame and structure, it was clear he was destined to pull heavy loads. Having belonged to a travelling family he had seldom been handled, so it was important that we approached him with care.

He allowed me to get close enough for a quick look at his wound, and one look was enough to know that it was not going to be a small job. He had unzipped himself from groin to armpit, we never did find out how.

Putting on my best confident expression, I prepared a suitable dose of sedative. It took four burly assistants to steady him as I risked the possibility of flying hooves to inject him. We stepped back to wait for the sedative to take effect.

I had performed many stitching jobs before, predominantly on ponies with smaller wounds, however my previous experience gave me the belief that I could handle this, in fact I fancied myself as a bit of a stitching expert.

I was conscious of the fact that I was in the middle of a large field, miles from anywhere, with only my friend for support, among a large group of people whom I didn’t know. All of these factors contributed to the pressure that was on me to get this right…

To be continued next week.

14th February 2018