The Grossness Factor

February 9, 2012

Animal lovers can be the strangest people!

Need horse assistance?  Check out the Holistic Herd!When I first read The Grossness Factor I was struck by the vivid pictures that Kris painted with her words.  I have to admit that I was kinda grossed out by what I visualized while reading the article.  But, then I looked at the photos and all I can see is the beauty of a brand new baby. 

It became apparent to me that we can find the beauty in all that life offers us.  We look past the birthing fluids and tissues and see the fresh new baby, we don’t get stuck in the puss of pigeon fever, but see that healing is taking place, we welcome the gas and poop from a colicky horse.  What many people might be repulsed by, we see as beautiful. 

What a great way to approach life.  We see that the muck and the mire and all the icky stuff are a precursor to healing, we carry on with the knowledge that we are on the right track and closer to being intentionally healthy than we can imagine.  We notice the details so that we can see the whole picture. 

Enjoy the read and be prepared to laugh out loud.

Robin Davis – Contributing Editor
Holistic Horse Care Cooperative

The Grossness Factor!

Kris Garrett 

I didn’t even hesitate as I picked up the cold, slimy placenta that had just fallen out of my mare’s rear end with a wet PLOP.  It was heavy with fresh blood and birth fluids, and speckled with manure and straw.  She had been dragging it around behind her for the last half an hour as it slowly dislodged from her uterus.   I kept tying it up to she wouldn’t step on it, but it was so heavy and wet, it kept sliding out of the knot. When her body finally let it go, it slithered out like a wet slime beast from a cheap horror movie.   It piled up on itself on the stall floor, a giant gray slug peeking through the bright yellow straw.  It glistening with sticky goo in the weak dawn sunlight that filtered in over the stall door.

Lumina foaling

The placenta was amazingly heavy.  It had recently housed a dark colored, long legged, Andalusian colt, who was now tottering around Lumina’s stall looking for her ample udder in all the wrong places.  It took both my cold, bare hands to heft it up and over my forearms so I could haul it outside.  It looked like a fat, dead, sea eel as it draped over my wrists.   My hands were stunned with its icy cold, numbing my fingers to the point I could barely hold on. 

Somehow I got the giant slug outside and laid it out in the snow, stretching each part to roughly reconstruct the shape it had been when it was still in side the horse’s body.  Specifically, I was looking for both uterine horns to make sure they were intact.  I had to verify that no part of the placenta had torn off and remained inside my mare.  That could kill her with infection faster than a bite by a rabid skunk.

I stretched the two horns out and saw the bloody tear where the colt had passed through.   You could still see the big veins traversing the thick balloon that had carried the baby for the past eleven months.  The bloody end that had been attached to the mare’s uterine wall looked like a painful abrasion road-rash wound.  But it was all there.  I was relieved. 

My husband showed up with the big black garbage bag, and commented that he was glad it was trash day.   Dogs and coyotes love to eat these things, so the sooner it was far away, the better.  Let the coyotes at the dump enjoy their own version of a spring bounty.

John started to reach for the weird, slimy monster, and then hesitated.  Even with gloves on, his maximum grossness level was almost reached.  I stepped in and said, “I’ll get it, Hunny… I’m already a mess.”

As soon as the words left my mouth, I started to giggle.  A mess…. well, that was an understatement!   I had blood, horse poop, and birth fluids coating the arms of my barn jacket.  My hands were stained a horrible reddish brown from the iodine I had splashed on myself when I dipped the foal’s navel in the small cup of antibacterial fluid.  The front of my jacket was smeared with mud, wet horse saliva, and green masticated hay thanks to Lumina, from when she had brushed against me with her mouth.  

I had not had a shower, nor had I so much as pulled a brush through my hair before rushing out at John’s early morning news that Lumina was foaling.  I had old baggy pajama pants on, mud and poop covered muck boots, and wet hair that been soaked by the heavy falling rain/snow mix as I ran to the barn.  My glasses were so splotchy from the rain and snow, I could hardly see my hand in front of my face.   I had muddy dog footprints smeared down my coat and pant legs from the over zealous greeting I’d received from our excited black lab.

Let’s just say, I would have fit in nicely in an artic camp for the Survivor show. Or maybe Man (or in this case, Woman) versus Nature. 

The grossness factor.  Every time I think I can no longer be grossed out, I find out I’m wrong.  Animals will do that for you.  I used the think that a dog who’s been eating horse hoof clippings has the grossest smelling breath on the planet.  That was before I smelled my dog after he rolled in a ripe, maggot infested skunk he had found on the side of the road.

My dad was one of the original CSI guys.  Decades ago he invented a lot of the procedures you now see in the popular television series.  He has seen the worst of the worst.  He’s photographed and handled human beings literally from the inside out.  He’s dealt with the results of the grossest murders and deaths you can possibly imagine.  He has experienced so many gross but interesting events; he even had a book written about him.  (No Stone Unturned, by Steve Jackson)  He has the highest grossness tolerance factor of anyone I know. 

Maybe it’s hereditary.

The grossness is worth it - we got a beautiful foal!
Kris Garrett has been teaching T’ai Chi to horsemen and women throughout Colorado since 1993.  Equi-Chi is the trademark name for an exercise program based on T’ai Chi with the needs and goals of the equestrian in mind.

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