When You Are Not the Perfect Sausage!

What??? What on earth am I writing about? Have I had one too many gin and tonics?

Well – no!!!! The title is from a discussion I’ve had with Doug this week. I had cataract surgery on both my eyes in July/August. It has been a difficult recovery – something that I thought would be simple has become much more complex!

I was talking about the eye surgeon operating a sausage factory – we are all in a production line having our eyes fixed – but some of us end up on the damaged pile – we have not come out perfectly formed. There are complications which require more thought – and more work!

I’m in the ‘damaged sausage pile’ at present. I didn’t come out perfectly formed and I’m currently waiting to be fixed! That process is slow and frustrating. Just trying to explain the problem I’m having, trying to get a new diagnosis – and when I do, what can they do to fix it, when can they fix it, what will it mean in terms of down time?

The medical system regularly operates like a sausage factory, as do many other systems. Does the horse industry operate like a sausage factory? Well, in hearing about the Warmblood industry in Germany from Anja Beran, it certainly does….. and what about in our own minds in regard to horses?

Most of us have dreamt about the perfect horse – we can just saddle up and ride off! In our dreams we don’t envisage the multitude of problems – whether they are related to behaviour or health – we just want to be like they are in the movies!

We want those perfectly formed sausages! It’s all too hard to figure out problems. Doctors running a busy practice want it just to keep running – if you fall off the conveyor belt it holds up the whole production!

As I said – at present I’m an imperfect sausage lying on the floor – or maybe I’ve been put in a box with other damaged sausages. How does it feel? From my viewpoint, I’ve had to fight harder. I’ve had to push my way forward, be louder than I normally am, and when desperate, express anger. But now we are getting somewhere!

And as a human, I also have the luxury of doing my own research via the internet and talking to others with a similar condition.

So what about all those horses who are imperfect sausages? Some fight harder to be heard, others give up and either live in pain or misunderstanding – or both.

This experience has once again made me think of what it must be like to be a horse. They can only communicate in certain ways, so we need to listen hard. Sometimes we need to listen extra hard. We need to move our focus from the ‘production line’ of our thoughts, expectations, plans etc. and really observe the individual in front of us.

I’ve had this experience with Magnum lately. He lost all interest in being with me, in his treats, and in his chaff. I watched him carefully and went through a few theories. I decided the new spring grass was more reinforcing – that’s why he walked away. Then he started only eating half his chaff. I would let him out for our together time, he would stare at me, then walk away – something he hasn’t done in years!

I could have shut the gate and he would be forced to stay in the area, but I didn’t want to do that. He was grazing happily in the paddock – so what was he trying to tell me? Well, I then thought about his medication. While he had been on Cushings tablets before with no effect, he’d had a break and then I had started them again. I knew the side effects could include lack of appetite and a depressive state, so I stopped the medication. He soon picked up and is now back to his enthusiastic self.

I’m glad I just let him go and didn’t make him stay (as if I could make Magnum do anything he didn’t want to do!) Yes, it interrupted the production line. I didn’t get hooves trimmed or legs treated, but he had the freedom to tell me he wasn’t right and to keep searching for a solution.

Magnum has always been an imperfect sausage in the horse world. No horse has fought harder than him to be heard. And it goes to show that the imperfect sausages can end up as the best of the batch!

So if you are feeling like that at the moment – keep questioning and fighting for your right to be heard. And in reference to the horse world, keep on helping those imperfect sausages. They may not become perfect, but they can be a lot of fun!



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