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This is Pepper not eating!

Miss Pepper has decided beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’re trying to poison her. She’s one hundred percent certain of it.

And as a prey animal, a horse can’t be too careful.

There’s danger at every turn and one must always be on the alert.

Yup, that’s our girl.

Ever on the alert, ears back, ready to run in an instant if she needs to flee.


You may be wondering what we’ve done to her food, to convince her that she’s being poisoned.

It’s a simple thing, really.

Just not to Pep.

We’ve changed the brand of Bute that goes in her food.

The medicine that eases her achy, arthritic hocks, and helps her walk (and run) with less pain.

The medicine that over the summer has helped her eat better, put on weight for winter, and generally feel ever so much better.

That medicine.


When our vet brought us a new supply, it was different. Apple flavored instead of cherry. Apparently the manufacturer had to change things.

Did they ask Pepper?

No, they didn’t.


And she doesn’t like changes.

Of any kind.

No way, no how.


Like the fairy tale of the Princess and the Pea, where the princess could detect one tiny pea placed under a pile of mattresses, Miss Pepper found the new medicine with one whiff. She didn’t even have to take a taste.


Her disdain was obvious. “What are you fools trying to feed me?”

At least I think that’s what she was saying, if my horse translator was working correctly.


She’d take one sniff and dump the pan of feed. “If you think I’m eating, this, you’re crazy.”


Then she’d try to eat Bud’s food, or graze a little on the dried grass beside the car.


I tried to explain, really I did. I held her feed pan up and scooped out a handful of grain, hoping the direct approach would entice her to eat.

She did take a bite, but that was it.

“Nope, I’m not eating it.” Then she walked away.


The next day, as an experiment I didn’t put the Bute into her food.

She ate every morsel.

Now we knew.


It would be a slow process of introducing just a few grains of Bute into her feed, gradually increasing to the recommended dose. On Saturday I added the tiniest amount to her feed, thinking I could sneak it past her.


Okay, that was ridiculous.

She sniffed and walked away.

I persevered and directed her back to her feed.

Eventually she ate what was in her pan.

But she was cautious.

Very cautious.

That’s our princess.


And Bud?

He’s happy to clean up whatever Miss P. leaves behind.

His palate isn’t nearly as discerning.








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