I played it safe this morning and shut Merlin in his stable while he was eating breakfast. Not because I thought I wouldn't catch him, but because it was very showery and I didn't want to present the vets with a wet horse that was 90% mud and sheep shit. So despite fresh shavings and a big haynet, he wasn't in the best of moods when I went down to fetch him.
He took one look at the trailer and decided that he didn't want anything to do with it, thank you very much. He wasn't scared, he didn't back off or seem nervous of it, he just stood on the drive and told us if we thought he was stepping forwards we had another think coming. Carrots didn't change his mind, Leisure Mix didn't change his mind, but the moment I picked up a lunge whip and pointed it at his hindquarters he was straight up the ramp and in.
He'd sweated up by the time we got into Thurso. I walked him around the car park to cool him down while the vets set the scanner up and he disrupted a small animal consultation by pulling faces through the window and tried to eat their sycamore tree. He was very look-y, which was only to be expected - the car park is next to a builders' merchant and the station, so there's quite a lot of noise and bustle - but when the big corrugated iron doors to the large animal treatment area clanged back, he walked inside very calmly.
A friend had told me that her horses were fine with cordless clippers but not with mains powered ones. This time Hamish had brought cordless ones and was able to do most of the back of his right leg from the knee downwards with no need of sedation, though there was a little bit of tap dancing when he felt the blades. Bridget twitched him to sedate him and it worked like a dream, he stood like an absolute rock as the needle went in and then snoozed off with his head in my arms while they finished shaving his leg and put the gel on.
After 10 minutes of running the scanner up and down the area in question, all three vets agreed that there was nothing wrong with his tendons, not even any sign of old damage, and said there was no point in scanning the other one for comparison or doing the x-rays since he was sound and charging about his field quite happily. They've said he can start light work - only walk, only straight lines and only firm surfaces, ideally tarmac, so my walking plan will be absolutely perfect.
Bridget woke him up by pulling a section of his mane for me and flicking his nose while Mick backed the trailer up and put the ramp down. Apparently it's the first time they've ever seen a horse brace himself against the doorway trying to stay AT the vet! But with five of us he was in pretty quickly and he travelled much, much better on the way home, no sweat at all.
So all's well that ends well and now I have to figure out how to teach him to hack out alone. Time to find someone to teach me how to long-rein I think...