28 February 2013
When I finish riding in the morning, I’m supposed to finish work. Most of the other riders go home at this time (7/8 AM, yeah that’s right, suckers) but I stay on until the whole yard is finished (8.30/9 AM usually, a little later at the moment due to staff shortages. Don’t worry, I’m still done before most people start.) I’m not really sure why I stay, nobody’s ever told me. Maybe it’s because they took a chance on me, maybe it’s because my rent is free. Or maybe it’s because I am such a superstar that they just can’t bear to let me leave. Probably that one.
So, as a sought-after-superstar, when the vet came to geld a horse, I was appointed the job of holding him through his operation.
Most horses are gelded before they stand as full adults – unless they are going to be used for breeding, it’s really quite unnecessary to leave them uncut. They are so difficult to handle, tough to re-home, and generally so charged with testosterone that if you aren’t going to allow them at females, it’s kind of mean. But somehow I have always managed to avoid seeing the operation. Well, wasn’t today my lucky day! In fact, when my gelding virginity was discovered, one of the boys offered to hold the horse instead, so that I could get a full on view.
The horse in question kicked up a bit of a fuss getting into the washing bay. He goes in there every day, but he obviously knew something was up: this was out of his routine, and he could see the vet’s equipment in the corner. Quite frankly, if he knew what it was that was going on, he would have probably kicked up a bit more of a fuss. But horses are not blessed with the luxury of knowing what we plan for them.
Once he was in, the vet injected him so he was still standing, but out for the count. Then he made a slit in the ball sacks and pulled these great tennis ball sized innards out from them. Next, he injected the attaching muscles to paralyse them and stop the horse retracting them. Then he pulled out a contraption that looked like enormous pliers, with a hole in the middle. This wraps around the balls, and the idea is that it cuts and crushes the arteries at the same time. These are called, yes, actually called, emasculators.
Now, at this point, it wasn’t too bad. The horse wasn’t distressed, he was clearly quite sedated and numb. The vet was kindly talking me through the procedure. But then he put this contraption around a ball and clamped it shut.
And it made this sickening crunch.
Then the ball splattered on the floor.
Nothing had prepared me for this.
And there were a few seconds when we all looked down at this ball, lying in the drain amongst the blood and the wads of sterilyzing cotton wool. The vet, who has completed countless numbers of these procedures, couldn’t help his upper lip curling, and both he and the other man instinctively drew their legs closer together. The horse’s head lay woozily in the guy’s arms, the only one who didn’t react to his manhood dropping in the drain.
I am not a squeamish person, and for such a routine operation, I certainly wasn’t expecting to have the reaction that I did. Maybe if I were a boy, but what do I know about having balls? If I did have them though, you can be clear that I would want them to remain there. I felt overwhelmingly sad for this poor horse, huge clamps attached to the holes where his balls had been, his chance of manhood stolen from him. It didn’t help that later that evening when I went to check on the horse, I found him in a sorry state, head hanging and standing in pools of blood from his dripping wounds. The vet had to come out and release a blood clot and readjust his clamps.
On the plus side, the balls have gone to a good home ,serving as a stew for a couple of the lads. NB. They may have been messing around with me, but I like to think it wasn’t a joke, that there’s been some sort of recycling element, and some of the horse’s manly spirit will live on in the consumers.
*You’ll be pleased to know that the horse is doing well now, and adjusting to his new life as not quite a man and neither a woman. I rode him yesterday and he was very sedate and happy, apparently not having too much of an issue with the psychological aspects of his forced sex adjustment op.