So clearly there has only been one story dominating the world’s thoughts this week… that’s right, is Hovis still hoppy? Well, the answer to that is yes, but less hoppy than I was the other week, which was in turn less hoppy than I was the week before. Now, admittedly I am still on-boarding more white powder than the Happy Mondays let loose with an artificial snow maker, but let not let these little factoids get the in the way of the fact I’m still here.
On Monday, the nice back lady with the wandering hands came to see me again, and once more did things to my posterior that in a normal civilised society would have required dinner and putting a ring on it first. Needless to say, as mother is neither normal nor civilised, she gave permission for this violation to occur and even held on to my head to “dissuade” me from expressing my unhappiness about the forceful finger fondling via the medium of my teeth around her leg. Mother calls it “biting”, I call it “dental direction” — and let’s face it, who is right here? The Hoverine or woman so dense that light bends around her?
Needless to say, by the time the pint-sized posterior pervert had finished poking and prodding me, I felt more like Hovis than ever — my ass was kneaded, certain bits of me had risen and I have a mother who is clearly half baked…
In other news, and yes peoples, there is apparently more to life than my ass, I understand that the human strangles epidemic has flared like my nostrils when CNSM has bathed in Africa again (less Lynx and more stinks), and that the herd leader has put everyone back on box rest again. In light of what occurred last time, I do consider it to be my civic duty to step you through my human box rest guide again to ensure that you are adequately prepared:
1. Boredom breakers
Bearing in mind that they have already binge watched their way through 101 ways to bury the body and The Tiger who came for Tea, boredom levels this time may be high. Try tying up root vegetables around the human stables with random pieces of bailing twine, but always in places that they cannot gain any advantage from pushing said carrot into a wall. In the case of stables with more than one occupant, think about using only smaller objects in case of the boredom breaker being shoved up any unfortunate orifices in the event of unrest in the stable — the NHS has enough to deal with without any marrow removal ops (and I don’t mean of the bone variety…)
Stable mirrors: while often wheeled out at the first hint of box rest, I would caution against their usage in this circumstance. Studies have shown that mares in particular become somewhat fixated and more prone to lashing out at other members of the herd, particularly geldings, if the question of “do I look fat?” is not answered correctly… Particularly bear in mind that many humans haven’t lost their summer condition from the last lockdown yet, so this issue will be more prevalent — also remember that the number of Covid-related deaths is a key metric in deciding how long box rest lasts, lets not add to it eh?
Treat balls: encouraging gentle movement while rewarding with food is to be encouraged but a suitable vessel needs to be found. Welding the lid shut on the biscuit barrel will give a good upper body workout while playing ice cream van tunes at random intervals is good for producing sudden bursts of enthusiastic energy.
Think about decreasing hard feeds and using trickle nets to slow down the foraging of the box resting human. Padlocks on cupboard doors may also be necessary. Again, in the event of multiple occupancy stabling try and identify any food proud behaviours and ensure the individual human is both muzzled and potentially hobbled to ensure that the rest of the stable don’t starve to death, or worse still, be left only with the coffee cremes.
Think about the rugging during box rest. Here is most important to choose rugs, which will allow you to easily condition score the human by eye and from a distance (see earlier point about muzzling). Coverings such as PJs and “lounge” rugs are not suitable as they lure both the human and you into a false sense of security regarding the weight gain and can hide an increasingly cresty neck and fatty deposits. The fact this new box rest is taking place in winter can be used to your advantage — I would recommend rugging in shorts and letting them shiver the weight off. Clipping them may also aid this.
4. Skipping out
Due to being slightly more litter trained than the average equine, skipping out is usually not required, but attention should be paid to the amounts of toilet roll being utilised with the stabled community, as behaviour among herds in the wild where toilet roll scavenging is becoming increasingly violent would indicate that it is a tipping point in herd dynamics. Should any human be observed to be utilising the litter tray more than the norm pre-biotic yoghurt should be administered in liberal quantities. It won’t do anything, but it will pay them back for syringing it down our necks every time we dare to have runny poo.
5. Controlled exercise
a. A horse walker is ideal, but in the event of this not being available there are some DIY options including nose rings and a rope to a rotatory washing line (use caution in high winds) or the re-introduction of the “Joe Wicks”. This latter option should be used for horses who were back to competition fitness after the last box rest; use for horses after prolonged periods of no turn out or low levels of work can lead to a veterinary call out or unfortunate loss of use.
b. In-hand walking: this should only be carried out with one human at a time in controlled circumstances, avoiding built up areas and ensuring that “kicking distances” are observed at all times. For humans who are harder to handle or will not walk in the desired manner, first try a control headcollar or chiffney backed up with a good quality lunge whip with a stun collar being the final resort. For stallions or particularly hard to handle mares, I would strongly suggest you leave them on box rest and administer bromide in their tea in liberal quantities.
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Credit: Karen Thompson
Hovis explains why his daily routine is ruffling some feathers
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Now, I know how much many of you struggled with your humans during the last box rest period, so once again I will be re-manning my Hovis Hotline to deal with all your concerns.
Stay safe and sane, and remember there’s no problem in life that cant be fixed with gaffer tape — apart from stupid.
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