Cloud broke out in a nervous sweat as Sarah sobbed loudly. "I used to showjump with her. She could copmlete a metre twenty course. My baby, she. . . she never misbehaved, or refused a jump.," Sarah said, her voice cracking in emotion. Cloud had definitely misbehaved when I rode her. I decided to call Paudie, the vet, and get her checked out. She might have a pain that is making her act funny. I've seen it before.
Paudie arrived fifteen minutes later, in his big white van. A blonde girl, about our age, stepped out behind him. She had silky blonde hair that was quite long, she was slim, but looked fit. "This is Grace. She's my niece. Her parents are on honeymoon, so she's satying at my house for a few weeks," Paudie, said, grabbing his big bags out of the back of the van. Grace smiled at the girls as she was introduced.
"Now, who's acting strange?" Paudie asked, walking down the barn.
"Cloud, the piebald. I tried to ride her yesterday, but she was a bit funny and she didn't recognise Sarah," Naomi said, biting her lip anxiously.
"I'd had her since she was a foal. Her mother rejected her, so I bottle fed her. She's five now. They took her away a year ago, but she should remember me," Sarah said, trying to hold back her tears. Grace gave her a sympathetic smile. Paudie nodded, taking it all in. He opend the door, and murmured to the mare. Cloud reacted the same way to him. Paudie took another step towards her and she turned her back on him. He took another step and she lashed out.
He was now close enough to grab her head-collar and that's what he did. He moved his hand slowly, hoping to keep it in her blind spot and took hold of the halter. Cloud struggled for a second, but as she realised that Paudie was too strong for her, she settled, but her eyes were flashing white. Paudie tied her up. "I'll need to sedate her. She's too nervous," he explained as he pulled a syringe from his bag. I looked away as he stuck it in to Cloud's neck.
He waited five minutes and checked on Cloud again. She was standing with her head hanging low, her lower lip hanging limply, almost touching the ground. He walked in and placed his hand on her shoulder. She sighed and he nodded. "I can look at her now, will you pass me in my bags please?" Paudie said, already checking her pulse. I brought the bags in and placed them on the deep sawdust bedding.
He pulled out a thermometre and checked her temperature. Grace and Sarah were talking, so I helped Paudie. He took a few blood samples. As he pressed gently on her poll, her head shot up. She was obviously in pain there. He looked more closely at her head. A frown crossed his handsome face as he pushed different areas.
"I think. . . Yes, she was mistreated. She's too skinny, her muscles are weak and she has very painful spots. She also has lots of cuts. I'll give you sone cream for the cuts and some painkillers. You'll need to feed her loads of vitamins, calcium, protein, iron, and minerals to keep her health up, I'll make it for you." Paudie said,working all the time. He untied Cloud, and gave her a pat. "You should try some natural remedies to help. I only have Rescue Remedie with me, but I'll give you a few bottles. It'll help her relax and settle in," he said, pulling out smallish brown bottles. He handed me ten,and poured a few drops out of one on to his hand. He held it under Cloud's nose and she sniffed it. She turned her head. "You try," he said to me. I copied what he did. Cloud sniffed my hand and than grazed her tongue over my hand, licking up the remedy.
I looked up and Paudie nodded, a smile on his face, "If you put three drops in her water every time you change it. Every day, or twice a day. She should settle and stop being so nervous. Lavender oil is good, but just dilute it and massage it in to her skin." I nodded, listening carefully.
"Do you want tea or coffee?" Kim asked Paudie. He smiled,and she blushed slightly. I rolled my eyes, Kim, being only twenty two, was almost as immature as a teenage girl. They went inside. I realised I hadn't introduced myself to Grace.
"I'm Naomi." I smiled at her. She smiled back.
"I'm Grace," she said. Sunny whinnied and kicked his door, making his presence clear. "What was that for? Huh boy?" She laughed, stroking his cheek. He blew on her hair and she blew in to his nostrils. I liked this girl already.
"Kim, can Grace stay tonight PLEASE?!" I begged Kim, who was flirting slightly with Paudie. She looked at him,and he nodded.
She smiled, "Of course. Are you gonna sleep in the barn, or in the house?" she asked.
"Barn," Grace and I said together.
We were laughing at one of the many jokes Grace had told us, when Cloud nickered at us. We all stared at the mare. She had her nostrils flared and her ears perked towards us. "What's wrong girl?" Sarah said, getting up. Cloud whinnied excitedly and tossed her head up and down. Sarah walked up to the door and Cloud nudged her chest. Tears spilled out of Sarah's eyes. "She remembers me!" She gasped, cradling the mare's big head.
Tears prickled my eyes as I saw the reunion. I looked at Grace and saw her eyes shining with tears too.