The Serpent

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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.

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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?

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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?

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21 thoughts on “The Serpent

  1. Thank goodness! I was worried.. you have some beautiful horses and they have lovely names, i’ve always wanted to ride… what a horrible thing to be bitten by of all things!:(


  2. The top photo is just beautiful…it took my breath away, at the peacefulness the giant animals presented. The last sentence, a touching addition. I’m glad Rosie had such great caretakers to help her through a traumatic time.


  3. every time I see your daughter being so trusted by the horses it makes me smile.

    I am glad the bite didn’t cause lasting damage. I wouldn’t have thought snakes would be a problem there. She might be wiser now 🙂


    • If you smile Bill, it makes us happy! There is only one poisonous species of snake here and it is common. Fortunately it is not lethal unless one is allergic, but how do one know if one is? Thanks and take care!


  4. I’m so glad she is better and of a personal witness to quite a few Nokota horses that have had issues that someone has helped with, I 100% think they really do realize when we are trying to help and put that much into the relationship afterwards. Very cool story! Keep up the great work with your Nokotas!


  5. Poor Rosie! So glad to hear she’s better, I had no idea you had such dangerous snakes there – the scariest thing in Britain is a bumblebee.

    I agree with the previous poster; your daughter has such a beautiful relationship with your horses; the pictures are just gorgeous. 🙂


  6. The rattlesnake is a natural enemy of these horses, they shy when they hear the rattles, the viper must be silent with no warning, i am so happy that you were able to help save her, thanks MJ


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