Living With A Fox - continued

PART 1 -The story of Lauralee Foxy Man
On one occasion at this fair, a rather inebriated fellow began to harass me while I was mounted on Foxy making our way to the holding area for our upcoming western pleasure class. I was alone at the time with Bob off on an errand to check the ring situation. The security staff were no where to be found. As the drunkard yanked on my chaps while making lurid comments, I called upon Foxy to rescue me. With a light leg aid cue, Foxy very nicely lifted his front hoof and placed it hard and square on the manís foot. The guy was in excruciating pain. Even with the all the liquor he had consumed, it did not dull the sensation. Foxy never moved and continued to press down hard. I finally relented to the manís pleas and moved Foxy forward and away, without looking back. I can still hear the guy howling and wrenching in pain. Foxy was my hero and we went on to win the western pleasure class.

Upon his retirement from the ring at age 16, Foxy had competed in just about every division. In those days, versatility meant just that. It wasnít specialized like it is today. The Ĺ mile trotting races were always a crowd draw along with the combination classes. There were no heavy show shoes to impede or strain and manners did count for something. We even had gaming events! In one way, those days were more enjoyable, certainly for the spectator and most likely the horse too. The show ring of course was only a small part of Foxyís life and I believe to this day that is why he was able to be so fresh in the ring for so long. He never was bored and always did an honest job.

As a trail horse, we travelled the pathways with much enjoyment and good cheer. Foxy appreciated these outings and break from the boredom of ring work. I recall one such ride when we decided to follow a creek and ventured in. It was a warm day; the cool splash of the water on his belly was a welcome relief. As we clip clopped further along, Foxy suddenly disappeared beneath me. The bottom of the creek had sharply dropped off and Foxy found himself swimming. At first the shock of being dunked was frightening, but I soon realized that yes, Foxy could swim and yes, I could still stay in the saddle. When Foxy claimed the bottom of the creek again, we headed up the bank, totally soaked with the initiation rite of bonafide trail buddies complete.

On our pleasure rides, the only thing that Foxy imagined as being an enemy were those large killer rocks. He always passed them with respect, giving them a wide berth. He wasnít taking any chances that these sleeping giants might awaken and eat him. He was out of there as quickly and silently as possible.

Panic however, was not a word to be found in his equine dictionary. Even with a hoof caught in a fence, or cast in a stall, Foxy just waited and waited for someone to release him from his predicament. He never struggled, but instead trusted his human friends to come to his aid. Iíve never known a calmer or more sensible horse. In the winter, Foxy became our sleigh bell horse and many a rides in the antique cutter were enjoyed. It was invigorating and fun! He proved to be a great all seasons , all terrain driving horse.

At age seven, we came very close to losing our dear Foxy. He had contracted a virus from a new horse that entered the stable. Although he had been examined by our then vet of many years, his condition worsened. The vet had prescribed more cough powder, but we were becoming increasingly worried that the treatment wasnít working. Enter our current veterinarian. We had sought a second opinion and this vet had come highly recommend. Upon examination, it was concluded that Foxy was suffering from a severe case of double phemonia. Damage to his lungs was cautioned. To find out just how serious his condition was, Foxy was referred to the University of Guelph for further examination.

PART 2 -The story of Lauralee Foxy Man
Foxy came home to a life style change. Ideally, he should never have seen the inside of a barn again, but of course that was totally impractical. A small paddock had been added to the outside door of his corner stall. It would remain open year round to provide him with fresh air at all times. This stall/paddock arrangement would later be reconstructed for him when he was moved to Trillium and his final home in Orono.


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