Thursday, November 29, 2012

oh how fun, another new injury!

Rehab was going well and I rode Lucy a few times last week. Then on Monday I discovered her RF knee very swollen (soft and spongy) and warm. I cold hosed her for-ehhv-er and hand walked her for about 20 minutes and the swelling went down significantly, then she went on the lunge line and had a little trot so I could see if she was lame. I figured if it was a fracture, bone chip, or impaled object, she'd probably protest to me poking it and messing with the leg in general, not to mention look super lame. I know, I am sooo super high tech. She didn't flinch when I palpated the knee and she was fine on the lunge line. She was totally sound so I opted not have an emotional breakdown or call the vet sobbing (again), and instead I did yet another Furazone sweat with wraps and went home to drown my sorrows in hot chocolate.

My standing wraps are really earning their keep lately!

On Tuesday the knee looked marginally better but was still a little warm and swollen. She got turned out all day with no wraps, and by Tuesday night the swelling had gone down even more. All of my wraps were in the wash so I left her unwrapped Tuesday, but she got buted and hand walked. Yesterday the knee looked pretty much the same even though she hadn't been wrapped, and then last night I wrapped her with a poultice and she looked even better this morning. Also, now that a lot of the swelling has gone down, I can feel a little scab right on the front of her knee so I am just hoping she nicked herself outside and being a typical fragile flower TB, her body's reaction was "ALERT! ALERT!! HORRIBLE INJURY DETECTED!"


Of course if the knee continues to stay swollen I will probably have to get the vet out in case it is actually a little puncture so that we can get that cleared up and probably put her back on SMZ's. I may catch some heat for letting this go without getting the vet out immediately, but honestly at this point, this stuff is not something I'm going to freak out over after she tried to commit suicide a few weeks ago.

She also got new shoes on Tuesday, or at least we attempted to put new shoes on her. The front feet went just fine, and my farrier was thrilled that a horse who couldn't even keep a shoe on her foot for three weeks over the summer kept all four shoes on for over ten weeks. I guess foot supplements really do work! That and Farrier's Fix hoof oil, and Durasole, and a very good farrier.

Anyway, the fronts went fine but she could not hold that left hind leg with the nasty stifle wound up long enough to get a shoe on that foot, so he pulled a stealth ninja move and pulled the hind shoes off in practically .2 seconds. He didn't even file the feet down, just left them as is. She had a good amount of growth over the last ten weeks so that even barefoot, she shouldn't have a problem. Also, unlike when we went barefoot last time behind, she won't be yahoo-ing through the woods or jumping. All we are doing right now (besides feeling sorry for ourselves) is some walk/trot in the indoor. My farrier said we could leave the hind shoes on for another six weeks but I didn't want to have to deal with her throwing the shoes and then needing to get him back out to clean that mess up. I'd rather just take the shoe off.

I suspected that left hind would be a major issue for us because she has a very hard time even picking it up for me to clean that hoof out. It's not an injury internally; it's the scab over the stifle that must be very painful when it stretches. The poor horse tried picking it up for the farrier but she immediately looked totally stressed out and her whole body was shaking, so we did not press the issue. :( Poor baby.

Speaking of the stifle injury, the super ugly scab came off naturally a couple days ago, and now there is a much better looking scab forming quite normally in its place. The wound has closed up about 50%. I am very pleased with her healing!

Her front right tendon looks totally normal and other than the swollen knee, we're doing quite well.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

back at it!

Well, it had to happen: I got on Lucy for the first time in three weeks yesterday. She was progressing well on the lunge line and though I was honestly scared shitless, I knew I had to do it. I made Kenny come out and sit with me in case I got tossed, and I lunged her thoroughly before climbing on. She was pretty quiet even though there was a lot going on at the farm and it was a windy day, and someone trucked a horse in and the trailer was right outside the indoor with the horse making a lot of noise. She did spook at something (not sure what since she seemed to tolerate the trailer/horse noise and the wind well) but I sat it fine and put her right to work.

I may be slightly crazy, but I got on her without giving her any drugs.

she caught me totally off-guard with a spook and like an idiot, I
had been doodling along on a loose rein. yup, that's my luck!

rockin' the OTTB.Tee's track jacket. get your own here!

Today was ride #2 and she was much more wild on the lunge line, but then again it was almost 20 degrees colder than it was yesterday and the wind was really howling! I let her get it out of her system and she went around and around and around, throwing some nice big bucks and being a hooligan in general. Once she settled down, we did some constructive lunging (i.e. not just running like a nutcase) and when her rhythm and breathing evened out, I got on. She didn't put a foot wrong and I was even brave enough to canter. I was really pleased with her.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Here are some recent ornaments I've done! All of these ponies are loved by Terry of Moondance Ranch. They have beautiful and unique markings and creating their likeness in the form of ornaments was a really fun challenge! Thanks Terry :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

vacation: DONE

I've been hand walking Lucy for the better part of a week. She went from perfect angel to downright terror on the ground. She is extremely pushy and cannot walk around the outdoor without having explosions every ten feet or so. Spooking at a leaf, or nothing at all, wasn't just a small affair; it involved a giant overreaction complete with rushing around, butt tucked under, and showing the whites of her eyes.

I have approximately ZERO tolerance for this nonsense but at the same time, I didn't want to get all down and dirty with her because I didn't want her irritating her tendon. Then she got turned out on grass for a few hours one day. She was happily eating grass until some horses returned from a trail ride. She got excited and was a nutcase, leaping through the air and bucking, running in circles, sliding stops…my poor barn owner was not impressed and I had to spend a lot of time fixing the divots in the grass out there. However, her legs looked just as cold and tight after all that excitement as they did before, and I started to realize that putting her back in some light work wasn't going to break her.

Another thing I noticed is that she seemed to be very depressed. Her appetite has gone way down - before the accident, she was eating a bale of hay per day. Now I'm lucky if I can get half a bale into her. She has dropped a bit of weight and Maddy reported that she spent a good chunk of time standing in the middle of her paddock with her head down, looking dull and sad the other day. Fearing she wasn't feeling well, I gave her a dose of Banamine and checked in on her later that night, but all systems seemed to be working fine. I hope that getting her job back will bring her spirits up.

Last night I lunged her for the first time. I debated drugging her and trying to ride, but I am still missing one of my stirrup leathers/irons from the initial incident. Word on the street is that a neighbor picked it up the morning that she got loose, but I haven't been able to track that neighbor down to see if he has it. I'm sorry but there's no way in hell that I am getting on that horse without two stirrups. Though I am really not a fan of lunging, I am also not a fan of dying so this is the lesser of the two evils.

She started out exceedingly naughty on the lunge line, and each time she acted out, the radius of her circle decreased so I would have more control over her and she would have less opportunity to be bad. When she was being good, I gradually let the line out so that she could have more room (and there would be less stress on her legs). Within about ten minutes she was doing a lovely floaty SOUND trot with her nose on the ground. Her breathing steadied and she started actually listening to me.

When we were done, I unclipped the lunge line and she happily pranced off to find the perfect spot to roll. She rolled on both sides and had a look of bliss on her little horsey face. I cooled her out, cleaned out her stifle wound really well, cold hosed her legs, and treated them with poultice. I left them unwrapped overnight but this morning everything looked peachy. There was no heat, no swelling, and to the naked eye they looked completely normal. I ran my fingers down the right front and there was just the tiniest bump, almost undetectable. So that is really great news!

a happier Lu getting some ice wrap therapy
 I don't know when I will finally get back on her, obviously once the stirrup leather is recovered, maybe over the weekend, or next week? But I am glad I let her get some kicks out before attempting anything under saddle. She is one athletic beast, let me tell you.

She is about a week overdue for shoes - I had to cancel her farrier appointment because the vet did not think she could tolerate standing on three legs for the farrier to do his work. However, I think the tendon is more than strong enough to handle that now, and her stifle injury is healing well, so I called and made an appointment. I warned the farrier that he may have to do those two legs in stages if she has a hard time keeping them up, especially that hind leg, but he is a super guy and assured me that he would take his time and be patient with her.

Kenny and I were able to take our family photo for this year's Christmas card and she thankfully cooperated for that! Good thing because I was wearing heels and it is a little bit difficult to manage a fresh horse with heels on.

Also, Cairo got her photo taken at a local dog specialty store, because the proceeds were going to benefit the local animal rescue league. She was a really good girl! The photographer said she had been waiting all day for a dog to come in who would tolerate wearing the Santa hat.

"I had better get a million cookies for this!!"

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Lucy's legs seem to be on the mend, bandage bow included. I felt terribly guilty about the entire thing and ran myself ragged going to the barn 3+ times a day, even when working 8 hour days, to ice/cold hose and wrap her legs overnight. On my vet's advice, I am doing 12 hours unwrapped/12 hours wrapped, and under the wraps she gets poulticed or a Furazone sweat on alternating nights. In the mornings, I am there by 7 to unwrap her legs, cold hose her, and tend to her other injuries. Her road rash has reached the Ugly Stage and the vet told me to just let it do its thing. It isn't going to be pretty but as long as it's healing well and looking not infected, leave it alone. I am exhausted but I don't care, because my efforts are helping.

Lucy's RF looking almost normal after a hot date
with Furazone and standing wraps.
 I will say that having to cold hose on days where the high is in the low 40's is pretty cruel for both me and the horse. She is being so good about it and I am rewarding her with Lick-Its. She seems to be ok with this arrangement.

Yesterday we started handwalking for the first time. She was pretty good, though she got a little excited at the end of the ring where she spooked last Monday, starting off this entire chain of events. One of the other boarders left me a note to tell me that she had also gotten excited when the UPS man made a delivery. I realise that part of turning her out is taking on this risk that she may overdo it, but I would rather turn her out than stall her, even with a tendon injury. Her injury is very superficial and while there is some risk of it worsening if she overdoes it, it's not as bad as if it were a true strain or a rupture. My vet is behind me on the decision to turn out, and said she can even return to work very soon, but I am in no rush to return her to real work and so I will probably be quite conservative.

Thrilled to be walking in circles in the cold! No, really! :D
We'll do a lot of handwalking, then maybe do some walking under saddle next week. I want to do a lot of "emergency dismounts" with her in a rope halter to teach her to stop when I dismount (or fall off). I don't know if this will really translate well, but it's worth a shot, and it's something we can practice easily at a walk. As we progress to more of a workload we will practice it at a trot and canter, too. I think some horses are more of a "thinking" type when something goes awry. Lucy is not. She is flighty and hot. I don't think these exercises will change her nature, but they may install a pause (or delay) button.

Monday, November 12, 2012

another setback

I was just starting to breathe normally and feel relieved, thinking we were through the worst of it, when I arrived at the barn yesterday to find Lucy's front right looking very swollen around the tendon. In fact, it looked like a classic bow to me. I immediately felt sick and panicky. I brought her inside and inspected it from every angle, feeling for heat and any other injuries I had missed. I wracked my brain, thinking, "how haven't I noticed this before?" All of my standing wraps were at home in the washing machine so I gave her a gram of bute with her dinner and ran home to get supplies.

At home, I grabbed my standing wraps, pillow wraps, and all the ice I had in my freezer. I was absolutely beside myself so Kenny came with me to the barn so that we could do our best to bring the swelling down. I poured the ice in a big Home Depot bucket, filled the bucket to the brim with water, and had Lucy stand with her leg in there for 25 minutes. The leg looked a little bit better but still not great. I decided to leave it unwrapped for the night because I didn't want to do more harm.

This morning, the leg looked about the same. I cold-hosed it and iced it intermittently throughout the whole day (I had the day off of work for Veteran's Day). At 4pm, I did a Furazone sweat to try and draw out some fluid. The tendon never really got hot - it was a bit warm but nothing crazy.

I believe this is actually a bandage bow so now I have another thing to beat myself up over. I think I caught it very early and after the Furazone sweat, the leg looks quite good. There is some localized swelling on the tendon but very limited heat. I am going through bags of carrots like they are going out of style, but Lucy is an excellent patient and her cooperation makes all of these therapeutic tasks a lot easier to get through.


Last night (11/11) when I noticed it initially

11/11 PM from the inside of the leg. Notice the
fluid build-up above the ankle, too.

11/12 AM - after being iced for 25 minutes. the swelling
on the tendon had gone down but the lower half of the
leg had increased edema.

11/12 PM. 
After I iced the leg in the morning, I put Sore No More poultice on it and wrapped it lightly with cotton, then secured the top and bottom of the cotton wrap. That stayed on for about 6 hours. When I got to the barn in the afternoon, I wrapped the leg with this Ice Tape cold therapy wrap (click here to see it on Dover's website so that I didn't have to stand there and cold hose her for another 25 minutes.

Instead, she could graze in the dark while the
wrap did its thing.

After the cold therapy wrap was finished, I did the
Furazone sweat and left that on for four hours. This is
what the leg looked like after I washed all of the
Furazone off. Much better!
I left the leg naked for the night so the tendons could have a break from being wrapped. She also got another gram of bute with dinner. This is such a nightmare and I am running myself ragged trying to do as much as I can to prevent further damage, but if she's sound at the end of it, it will be worth the effort. I called my vet today to keep her in the loop but decided not to have her come out just yet.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

the healing process

Lucy took her 5 day sentence of stall rest relatively well; at least I had thought she did until another boarder told me today that she caught Lucy body-slamming herself against her stall door. I am not sure if that's an exaggeration or not but I am disappointed that I wasn't told before today, because I could have given her some slow-release sedatives to make the confinement easier on her. I didn't want to drug her and she seemed to be doing so well but obviously body-slamming is not conducive to "taking it easy" and I am just glad she didn't do herself more harm.

Her wounds continue to heal well. I changed her bandages on Thursday night, and again this morning. Her fetlock surprises me each time I see it; the tissue is filling in nicely and everything looks clean and healthy. The wound on her stifle looks ok and is staying clean, but it looks ugly compared to everything else because there is no way to cover that area so it is already developing a pretty good scab. I have been gently cleaning it with betadine scrub and then treating it with Derma Gel to assure proper healing.

I took some photos of her progress each time I redressed her legs.

Thursday night, before scrubbing with Betadine:

Right front, looking much less swollen than on Monday!

left hind fetlock

left hind stifle
After disinfecting/scrubbing:

wrapped up and ready for bed!

Today after cleaning:

bandaged up again, and sporting her new cooler that I won at Equine Affaire!
Today she started turnout again. I held her on a leadrope for the first ten minutes or so in a grass paddock. When she settled down and started grazing, I unclipped the leadrope but still stayed next to her. After another ten minutes, I took a few steps away and gradually as time passed, I made my way to the fence line. This way it wasn't like, SURPRISE! YOU'RE FREE!, which probably would have resulted in a  bit of craziness. She was a really good girl and stayed quiet for the most part. Two horses returned from a trail ride and walked past her, and at that point she took a few trot steps and got a little excited, but she settled back down quickly. She looked very sound, too!!

I also picked up my saddle today, something I was procrastinating on big time. I was honestly scared to pick it up because I didn't have the courage to see what it was going to look like. To my great surprise, it actually looks wonderful. The man who worked on it, Steve Briggs from Allie's Tack and Feed, is an incredibly talented and gifted tack repair specialist. He must have worked some magic on that saddle!! Though it will always have blemishes from this accident, it looks much better than I could have hoped for.

The Equine Affaire report is coming...I have lots of video to go through still so it may take me a couple days :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

chugging along

Lucy and I both continue to heal. I am feeling almost back to normal, thanks to a lot of Flexeril, heating pads, and Tylenol. Lucy looks pretty darn good, all things considered. I was sure I'd have to change her bandages by now, but they are still fairly clean and they haven't shimmied down her leg at all. The vet must have done an A+++ bandaging job! I took her out of her stall yesterday to get a good look at everything, and she seemed stiff but was more sound than I expected her to be. I am curious to see what her right front leg looks like under that bandage, and how the hematoma/bone bruise is healing. I think in the next day or two, depending on the weather, we can start going out and hand-grazing her.

She is drinking really well, and eating a lot of hay. I have reduced her grain rations since she's just standing in a stall, but she is still getting three mini meals a day plus the free choice hay and all of her supplements/meds.

The wound on her stifle has filled in significantly in just three days. It is still oozing some clear serum but I think the Derma Gel is working very well to kick-start the healing process and keep the wound clean. I haven't washed it or anything because she also has the cannon bone area bandage on the same leg, and I don't want that to get all wet, but when I change that bandage I will do my best to clean the stifle injury out really well. Hopefully I don't get kicked in the head.

Today is the day we were supposed to be trucking up to Equine Affaire, but I am kind of glad we aren't going because we got a very cold and windy nor'easter storm last night that knocked the power out and dumped some heavy, wet snow on this area. It is not great weather to trailer in and I am relieved that we can just hop in my little Subaru early tomorrow morning and head over there without having to wrangle the truck, trailer, horse, and all her gear. I am going to watch the clinic I was supposed to ride in, and I will take videos and photos and share them here so hopefully someone can learn something :) I am excited to see what the clinic is like.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 2

Just a quick update to say that Lucy is doing ok today. She is already going a bit stir crazy in her stall and is trying to eat the wood in there, so I am thinking of ways to keep her brain occupied while she is inside all week.

Her wraps still look good enough to leave on, so I didn't change them. The vet said to leave them be as long as they stay up and don't look too gross, because changing them too often makes it hard for the wounds to form a scab and heal properly, and also exposes her more to infection. She is putting weight on all four legs evenly and is moving around her stall with ease.

The wound on her stifle looks very sore and it is oozing serum, but it looks clean and like it is already starting to form a scab around the edges. This is excellent news. I am thankful that it is cold enough for her to wear a blanket, because I think the blanket is protecting it a lot from the bedding in her stall.

I really appreciate all the sweet comments of support that you guys left on yesterday's post.

Monday, November 5, 2012

the worst feeling ever

Lucy had all weekend to let her Robaxin work and I was excited to see how she was feeling. I had an appointment after work today, and because I knew I wouldn't be able to ride after work, I got up super early and tacked her up this morning. I was in the saddle by 6:30am. She started out great and was super quiet and stretchy. We were at the far end of the ring, by the woods, and all of a sudden there was a dog in the woods staring at us. Lucy looked at it, and it went down into the play stance (front legs down, butt up in the air). She spooked, spun, and bolted. I tried so hard to stay on her but she spun so fast that my weight pulled the saddle to one side and I fell hard onto my lower back. I tried holding onto her but she dragged me a few feet before I let go of the reins. Maddy had just gotten to the barn and she stood at the top of the path down to the ring, trying to stop Lucy, but the saddle was working its way around her barrel and she was absolutely petrified. She didn't even see Maddy. She flew right past her and up into the road. She slipped and fell on the pavement as she was turning out into the driveway, but got up and kept running. She ran a mile down the road to a major intersection, but then someone I know stopped and caught her, took off the saddle, and waited for us to catch up. Maddy made it down there before I did and by the time I caught up to her, she was already walking Lucy home. Thank god a horsey person stopped to help, and as usual, I don't know what I would have done if Maddy hadn't been there. She told me there were two other ladies who were screaming at Lucy to stop running and when Maddy caught up to them (someone had stopped and given her a ride in their car so she was way ahead of me), they screamed at her that this was horse abuse. What is wrong with people?

Lucy was walking fairly sound, but I immediately saw the damage to her legs. She was already bleeding quite a lot, but nothing arterial. As soon as we got her back to the barn, I called the vet's emergency number and initiated that whole thing. I gave her some banamine right away to help the pain and keep her calm. The vet arrived within about 45 minutes. Lauren also came - I called her right after the vet. My barn owner came over to lend a hand, too. My friends are just incredible.

Lucy's front right cannon bone had a massive swelling that developed within about 5 minutes. I thought she had fractured something and I spent the entire 45 minutes waiting for the vet, thinking that I was going to have to put her down. Nothing will make you forget about some silly clinic, or a beaten up saddle, faster than if you have to consider where you will bury your horse. It was the worst feeling ever.

The vet cleaned everything out really well. Sadly there was no way to suture anything because she had torn all of the skin away. She x-rayed the RF and it was just a bad bone bruise, thank god. The x-rays showed that her LH leg was fine, too. No fractures on her patella or her LH fetlock, despite the nasty injuries. The vet prescribed stall rest for a week, though she can come out and graze on a lead line if she stays quiet.

My saddle looks like absolute hell. I took it to a local tack store for the owner to look at it. The leather on the pommel and cantle is badly scratched up but the tree is thankfully not broken.

Tonight I am extremely sore. I was doing ok while the adrenaline was still pumping, but I went to work after Lucy was all tucked in and as comfortable as possible in her stall, but sitting in my chair at work without moving much caused my whole body to stiffen up, and I am really feeling it right now!

So needless to say, we won't be going to Equine Affaire this week. That is the least of my problems but I still am very sad that we are going to miss out on the fun. EA's management was absolutely wonderful; I called them right away this morning in hopes that they could give my spot to someone else for the clinic. They were so good about it - they said not to worry, and they even refunded my clinic fee once my vet faxed over some paperwork about Lucy's injury. Lauren and I are still going to go and enjoy EA since we both took Friday off and we have been looking forward to it for a long time!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

back from the brink of insanity

I am slowly coming off the edge of insanity as Lucy continues to go better and better under saddle. I really was about to have a meltdown last week when she was looking so uncomfortable and I had that "no good deed goes unpunished" feeling, thinking I had done something nice and here I was with a lame horse, about to forfeit our spot a clinic that I have worked very hard toward.

Now that she is looking better, I have the task of getting her fit enough and sane enough to go to EA in exactly one week from today. Fun times! She is not generally a spooky horse, but last night in the indoor she spooked repeatedly at the same damn corner of the ring. Because of the hurricane (which we all survived just fine, except for the nice potted mums that Kenny bought for our front yard), some equipment was stored in the indoor to protect it from the weather. Also, the far end doors on the indoor are usually half shut, but to prevent them from blowing off their hinges in the high winds, my barn owner opened them all the way. Lucy thinks the whole thing is really, really scary. We worked past them last night and I felt like she had gotten a grip on herself enough that I could concentrate on the task at hand, not the scary open doors, and she chose my initial moment of trust to spook at the doors that we had just established wouldn't eat her.

I wasn't impressed so then she got to do the entire ride in that half of the ring, and I gave her a lot more to think about than just some open doors. Still, this isn't really like her, but I think it's a product of doing almost nothing over the past two weeks-ish, plus being inside a lot more than usual due to the weather, plus some funky temperature changes. I also think she may be in heat. Oh, the joy of having a mare!

She had better get herself under control because the big coliseum at the Eastern States Expo is a hell of a lot scarier than some plain old open doors at the end of our indoor. The challenge is to give her enough to do without re-tweaking whatever was causing her discomfort. Lauren is riding today and tomorrow, then tomorrow afternoon Lucy has a chiro appt and I think that will give me a good idea of where she is at. Next week on Tuesday she is getting new shoes, and I am going to discuss pads for her front feet since the massage therapist thought her thin soles were playing a part in her discomfort. After her farrier appt she is getting a massage. Yes, it's insane. I hope she enjoys her spa week and tries very hard in our clinic!

Thank you to everyone who voted for Cairo. She won!! Yesterday the contest ended, and as soon as I got home from work, Kenny and I went over to the store with Cairo and her costume in tow, and picked out some little prizes for her. She got some treats, a really cute elephant toy, and a kit to make flavoured popsicles in the shape of doggie bones. Pretty cool! She loved it and she wore her lion costume around town in perfect form. The kids we met on the street were beside themselves when they saw her.