PUEBLO, Colo. – Mick E Mouse would hang his head, close his eyes and start drooling during his two-week stay at Texas A&M last month.
Marelene Henry’s bull may have been recovering from a slight fracture in his back, but he was certainly enjoying the acupuncture therapy he was receiving to help treat the injury he sustained in Billings, Montana.
Henry was nervous at first about how Mick E Mouse would take to the treatment, yet, like many other bovine athletes, he enjoyed the therapy.
“It must have felt really good,” Henry said. “They sent me some videos of it. He would just hang his head and drool while they did it. They were going to only keep him eight or nine days, but he was doing so well with acupuncture that they gave me the option to either pick him up or let him stay for more treatment.”
Mick E Mouse has since returned home to stock contractor Kevin Loudamy’s ranch in Brownsboro, Texas. According to Henry, Loudamy followed the instructions of the Texas A&M veterinarians and kept Mick E Mouse in a smaller pen – similar to the one Mick E Mouse stayed in last summer while recovering from his broken hip.
The limited spacing and exercise has paid off and Mick E Mouse has since been moved into his normal pen with a big of pile of sand to play with. He has been healthily running up and down the pen and is eager to return to competition.
“They told us to try and keep him confined to a small area for about six weeks and Kevin turned him out a little bit earlier because Kevin said (Mick E Mouse) looked depressed,” Henry said. “He was fixing to get out so we put him back in his big pen. He is doing really, really good.”
Mick E Mouse’s recovery process will also involve Loudamy running him through the chutes every day in July. They won’t buck him with a rider or a dummy, it will be more to get the bovine back in tune with the routine and in shape.
Mick E Mouse normally is limited to 12 pounds of feed per day. However, at Texas A&M he was spoiled some and packed on 60 pounds.
He was also a well-behaved patient at College Station.
“They said he was perfect,” Henry said. “There was a lady that did the acupuncture and she fell in love with him.”
Mick E Mouse has bucked off 34 consecutive riders on the BFTS – six this season – and averages 44.84 points per out.
Henry plans on bringing four or five cows from her ranch in Dayton, Texas, to breed with Mick E Mouse at Loudamy’s ranch in the coming weeks.
Last summer, Henry didn’t put Mick E Mouse on any cows because she didn’t want to risk any further injury to his broken hip, which he sustained at the 2014 Iron Cowboy, during his recovery process.
Henry had no intentions of breeding Mick E Mouse this year after he got injured, but his recovery has gone so well that she is comfortable seeing how it goes.
However, if Mick E Mouse has any setbacks she will end the process and let him continue resting until the Built Ford Tough Series resumes in August.
“I didn’t think about breeding him this year, but he is doing really well, so we are going to do it,” she said. “I am going to try and do it sometime this month so that if it does aggravate him I will have plenty of time to let him recuperate from it.”
A lot of the judgment calls that Henry and Loudamy have to make are based on instinct.
It is actually an important aspect of bull care.
Owners and stock contractors have to understand their bulls so that when things are not right they can pull their bull out of competition or bring them to a vet for further analysis, which is what Henry and Loudamy did following Billings.
“If you know the demeanor of your animal and you give everybody a heads up, it is safer for the animal and safer for you,” Henry said. “It helps tremendously when you tell (veterinarians) what you know. When you tell them that, they are prepared for it and maybe take extra precautions.”
Those kind of protective instincts don’t just happen when a bull is hurt. It can also be just normal character qualities that can be misinterpreted by those unfamiliar with the bull.
Mick E Mouse has always never had good hooves, Henry said. Therefore, sometimes people think there is something wrong with him when in reality he just walks awkwardly.
“We have to have his hooves trimmed about every six weeks,” Henry said, “They grow awkward. Mick E is a bull that a lot of people think he is injured, but he carries himself real funny.”
Of course, no one knows better than Henry and Loudamy when Mick E Mouse is ready to go.
Henry is hoping she will get a special birthday gift Aug. 7 when her bovine returns to action that same weekend in Biloxi, Mississippi.
She has already booked her flights and made her hotel reservations for the Beau Rivage Casino Invitational at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.
“I am ready for Biloxi,” Henry said. “We are all ready for that.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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