A Common Viper, common in every meaning of the word, bit Rosie in the nose last Monday. The viper, or whatever it was, must have been resting all dizzy and newly awake in the winter corral and surprised by the curious young horse poking around. Rosie had two clearly visible tooth marks above her right nostril.
Luckily the vet was only three miles away when she got the call and came at once. Rosie walked into the barn and lay down on the side. She was in great pain, shaking, sweating, breathing hard and her nose was swollen. She was given pain killers, liquid and cortisone by intravenous therapy.
During the night we kept Rosie in a separate stall box, while Bluebell and Windflower shared the big stall next to her. We wanted to keep Rosie as still as possible to prevent the poison from spreading to fast and to give her time for recovery from the chock.
It was the first time ever the horses were locked up for the night; otherwise the stable doors are always open, for the horses to choose freely where to go. We did not sleep much the first two nights. I wished I could take her place, why didn’t that common viper bit me instead? If Ireland have no wipers why must we, what are they good for anyhow? Why is it that when your children (and your animal children too) hurt it is worse than when yourself hurt?
Our concern proved unnecessary. The horses did just fine and in the morning they all greeted us, with their heads sticking out of the open upper door halves. Rosie recovered amazingly fast. The third night we left the stable open, but we could see by the marks in the bedding that they had at least spent some part of the night inside the stable anyway.
Bluebell carefully groomed Rosie’s mane and Windflower was also very sweet to Rosie. Four days after the snake bite Rosie was just as good as before, but the incident has affected her in a way. She is even more affectionate now and it seems that she fully understands that we tried hard to help her. Her bold curiosity has hopefully turned into a slightly more mature and careful kind, much like Bluebell’s.
These wild Nokota horses are strong in both body and soul, so if we can’t save them what can we really save?