dancing horses

dancing horses

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

About That Light at the End of the Tunnel

In my last post I was talking about how well everything was going. And it is. But yesterday was rough guys. Quaid finally had enough of confinement, reduced movement and separation. And I was the casualty. 

Here's what happened. Yesterday was a rainy, cold day so the two horses were in for most of the day. Late afternoon the rain eased up so I let them out. But the small paddock was a muddy, puddly mess so I put him in the small paddock I created between the two  larger paddocks. At supper time I went to bring him in and he was a bit excited. I had left his halter on so snapped on the lead and began to bring him in. I don't know what set him off (could be him or perhaps something spooked him). Anyway, he went to run by me and I tried to stop him. Then he spun and kicked at me deliberately and got me in the right arm. I was in an enclosed space so couldn't really get away. 

I corrected him but it became pretty clear that my arm was useless so I got him in and shut the door. I then sat down and tried to not vomit. My fingers were tingly and my arm was numb but my elbow was overwhelmingly painful. I texted Ed who came running out the barn. He fed the horses and drove me to the hospital. 

The nurse, after triage, brought me right in and I had my x-ray in about 20 minutes. Then it was waiting for the doctor to look at it while I iced my elbow and felt sorry for myself. After a couple hours (and ice) the tingling/numbness faded and, while I still couldn't straighten it, my elbow felt better. This made me feel that perhaps it wasn't broken. The doctor came in and told me that my x-rays looked good. 

I was so relieved because, honestly, I don't have time for a broken arm. I know that this has been building with him- his confinement and coming three are making him challenge a bit more. I will be working on getting him to turn his ass away from me. Clearly he feels better so I can start to do some work. 

I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty shaken up. This wasn't a glancing blow but deliberate. Which I hadn't seen from him before. But he's young and we've been letting some things slide because I didn't want him to exacerbate his injury. I will fix this and it will be fine. I just need to keep that in mind. 

But enough universe. Enough. 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Rock Stars

 Things are ticking along here on Oakfield Farm. Now that we're through the acute (and very stressful) part of the injury we're into the long haul of recovery. Hoof wound recovery is a marathon not a sprint. 

I'm at the stage where I can change the bandage every other day, unless it looks damaged. 

I told him that his fans wanted to see his ears up and 
looking cute. 

Quaid is quite a good patient. Especially when you consider his age (2 1/2). My skills in bandaging are improving. Ed bought me new duct tape that is very shiny and so his hoof looks like a baked potato. 

Turn out has been tricky with the weather. It's much easier when there's snow. But we've also had mud which makes it trickier.  My farrier suggested that I make a little paddock in the alleyway between the paddocks. It worked great. 

He's doing very well with the small turn out. When we hand walk he's got a bit of energy but, really, all things considered, he's been amazing. Especially since he's perfectly sound. I will start this week to let him out into the larger paddock to see how he does. 

I've been following Emma's blog for a while. But I've been paying particular attention since she's rehabbing Charlie's hoof. She bought this Easy Boot Zip for Charlie and I really liked it. I found a tack shop in Canada to get it from and I have to say I'm very impressed. It fits well over the bandage and has a cork base and some traction on the sole. 

I put it on him for the first time yesterday and he took it off. Sigh. Baby horses. I wish I could explain that his turn out situation depends heavily on me being able to keep his hoof clean and dry. So I did some thinking. 

The bell boot protects the straps so he can't get at them. So far it appears to be working. Fingers crossed it continues to do so. 

I finally got the x-rays from the vet college. He's the one that shows what happened the best. The probe was to follow the wound tract. We were very lucky. A little bit back and the outcome would be much much worse.

Because of our quick action and some wonderful vet care, our outcome is looking very positive. My vet is still cautious but every day that he's fine leads to a good prognosis. I am okay as long as he doesn't have any chronic pain. That is not fair for such a young horse. Other goals can be adjusted. 

I have this video I took before the accident. I had planned to share it on it's own post but things happened. This is the first time anyone sat astride him. The video is a piece of the work leading up to this. But for him it was no big deal. 

He's such a cool horse. 

You know who else has been a real rock star? 

This girl: 

She has dealt with separation, less attention and reduced turn out without complaint.  I can see how mature she has become. 

In addition I have some very human rock stars who have been part of this whole journey. Julia has come out every day (and every other day) to help me change the bandage. The one day she couldn't come, Tanya did. Paula helped keep me calm on the trailer ride and Karen & Jim gave me a soft place to land. My vet  and farrier have been accessible and helped me map out a plan going forward. 

Surround yourself with rock stars. It's way better that way. 

Monday, February 13, 2023

General Hospital

 I don't know if any of you young'uns will get the reference, but GH was a soap opera back in the day set in a hospital.  The precursor to Gray's Anatomy if you will. 

****after internet research****

Apparently it is still running- I thought it was over. Huh. 


I've become pretty good at wrapping. Julia (or Tanya if Julia can't come) help. I have to be so careful to not let dirt into the wound so having someone to hold him is incredibly helpful. I've been taking daily photos to track the healing. Sorry if you are squeamish. 

Last Thursday (the day after coming home)

He's getting it changed every day: animalintex, a layer of vet wrap to hold it, a baby diaper, more vet wrap and then duct tape.  
From today

Ordered a box of wrap from Amazon, 
hopefully it will work as well. 

After Wednesday, I can go to every other day for another week. I can't see the hole being healed in so have an easy boot zip on order. I also purchased a Tubbease hoof sock. It has a pad in the bottom and protects the hoof in silicone. I hope to put this on his foot and then the easy boot to go outside. 

In the mean time I have been working on keeping him occupied while Carmen is able to go out. When I clean the stalls in the morning I let him wander the barn. 

I find it amusing he chooses to eat from the hay net rather than the loose bales

When it's muddy out (and this year has been incredibly mild and muddy) I open the door to his stall so he can see out. I put up some boards across to keep him in. Quaid is not super happy with this but I found if I hung a hay bale by the door he settled right in. 

not sure how interested he is in the lick-it but it's there. 

When the ground is frozen I fit an Old Mac boot over the whole bandage and let him out into the little paddock. He chews on the boot but it really isn't a great fit- it was Irish's, but it protects his sole and keeps the bandage dry. When the ground starts to soften I bring them both in. Fortunately, neither seem to mind being in for a half a day. 

There is definite separation anxiety in both of them. It has shown me that Quaid needs work that he needs to focus even when upset. He did knock me over once when he was upset. I am more aware not and don't take his full cooperation for granted. 

Like I said, the weather has been incredibly mild and it would be good for riding. But I honestly have zero desire to ride. I find that looking after the horses, Ed and work is more than enough right now. In the grand scheme of things having some time off from riding is not a big deal. And Quaid being on stall rest for a few weeks will soon be a distant memory. I am so lucky that things are going well. I plan to do everything I can to keep it that way. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

A Happier Update

 Early Monday morning we loaded Quaid on our trailer. My friend, Paula had come the night before to accompany me and help. Despite his pain he loaded without issue and we hit the road. It took about 5 hours to get to the college. We stopped twice to gas the truck and to check on him. He was such a trooper but by the time we arrived he was stressed and totally over it. Not that he did anything bad, but he was calling and wild eyed. 

I checked him in and then was met by the Vet resident (not sure if I'm using the correct terms). Patricio was from Costa Rico and very familiar with Andalusians/Lusitanos. He was very charming (as most spanish/LatinX men are I find). 

Quaid walked right though the bay doors and onto the scale (weight was 400 kg). Then a vet intern took him from me and away. That was hard. I reviewed the history of what happened and they told me the plan:

x-rays, ultrasound and to see what was going to happen. They also figured that they'd have to do IV antibiotics and his stay would be about 5 days (longer if they found something serious). They promised to give updates as soon as the diagnostics were finished. I signed some paperwork and gave my credit card and then Paula and I left to go to my friend Karen (she had moved to PEI in the summer and was only 45 minutes away). 

I was exhausted but relieved that we got him there and he was in one piece. I knew that it was all out of my hands and that was also a relief. 

Particio did call about 2 hours later. I grabbed a pen and took notes. 

What had happened was the wound track had closed over part way down and a big abscess had formed above it. they opened up his hoof to drain and have it all packed. There was a small fragment of bone that was dislodged by the screw but they felt that that would reabsorb. His hoof was packed with sugar and iodine. Unless things change in the next day or so they expect a full recovery with no complications. 

To say I was relieved feels like an understatement. After I hung up I needed a moment to have a small cry (but one of relief not heartbreak). He doesn't need IV antibiotics. They think that the oral will be fine. 

This morning Patricio told me that he was much better and they would have more info when they change his bandage this afternoon. I am hoping I can take him home tomorrow but if he needs to stay I will leave and come back. I was hoping that it was fixable but I hadn't dared to hope that it was 'just an abscess'. 

I have read every single encouraging word people have sent. It is overwhelming the support that Ed and I are getting. Joanne is coming to clean the stalls. A person who works at the feed store offered to deliver feed if we need it. Paula and Karen are godsends.  I don't know what I did to deserve such wonderful people in my life but I am incredibly grateful. 

Thank you. All of you. 

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Not a Happy Update

 Sorry guys. I am struggling here. 

Long story short- Quaid is worse. Vet ( my regular vet) came, looked at him and recommended we go to Vet Hospital. 

Best case scenario- it’s just an abscess

Next best- infection in the bone and needs IV antibiotics 

Next- above and needs surgery 

Worst- well we know that one. 

I just can’t. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

Disaster Averted. Probably.

 Buckle up folks, this is a bit of roller coaster. I debated about posting this but then decided to go ahead. 

When I last posted the situation was that I was recovering from my rib injury and Ed from his heart surgery.  Both of us have been healing slowly but well. My rib is barely a twinge. Ed's recovery is much slower- as we would expect when your chest is cracked open, heart cut into and all put back together. We're still 3 weeks off from him being able to lift anything more than 5 pounds or drive. 

Needless to say it's been quiet. Then this week I caught a virus. Not Covid (as least based on the rapid test) but a nasty bug all the same. It knocked me on my ass. Ed has been trying to help as best he can. On Thursday morning he told me to stay in bed and he could feed the horses. I agreed because all he had to do was throw in their feed and some hay. I clean the stalls after breakfast. When he came in he told me that Quaid didn't seem interested in his feed, just his hay. I didn't think too much just a 'hmm'. Sometimes he likes to socialise before eating. 

I had a moment of seeing Ed and I in our senior years as we had our morning coffee. 

Ed : I'll clean the stalls

Me: You can't because of your heart 

Ed: Well you can't because you're sick

Me: I can do it and I will. 

Ed: You are so stubborn

Me: back at ya!

In the end we both went out. When we came into the barn, Ed looked at Quaid's feed bin he still hasn't eaten.  I walked over and saw him standing there with his hind end shaking. Oh Oh!  I thought he was colicking. Then we saw that he was holding his left fore leg up. I went in and lifted his foot. I was horrified to see that he had a block of wood with screw jammed in his hoof. His hind end was shaking from not being able to put his weight on it. The screw was stuck in tight so I had to hold his leg while Ed grabbed the drill and backed it out. He was so good about that. Blood came out. I grabbed a pad and some vet wrap and wrapped it up. Within minutes he went over to eat. 

I left both horses in and called the vet. The receptionist was asking me where it was and I told her that it was between the point of the frog and his toe. This confused her 'there's a frog?'  I tried to explain and then gave up and said- about an inch away from the edge of his toe. 

The vet, not my regular vet but another horse vet,  called me back right away and said she needed to come and do x-rays. Absolutely I said. 

They came out within the hour. She looked at my wrapping job and complimented me on it. (side note, I am so glad that I took the Equine First Aid course a couple years ago. It totally came in handy). 

After some checking him over and giving of some tranquillisers we put his front legs on blocks and took the x-rays. He was so good for that too. 

The x-rays were not great. It looked like the screw might have hit the edge of the coffin bone or the lamina. 

The very front pointy part

This was not good. The risk is of dirt and infection that travels into the bone. She used words like 'career ending' and 'surgery' and 'risky'.  I had a bit of roaring in my ears. Her recommendation was to take him to the Veterinary college in PEI.  there they could do an effusion of antibiotics over days. I asked her if there was any way we could to that here. She said that it was possible that she could come and do one every day but it was risky and with the bitter cold coming (we're under a cold advisory of -40) it would be bad. 

This was bad news. First of all, I have never trailered more than 2 hours before and I don't drive it in the winter. The college would  require me to travel out of Nova Scotia to New Brunswick, cross a bridge to PEI. Second I felt so crappy that I wasn't sure I was actually able to drive. And, oh yeah, I'd be leaving Ed alone when he really shouldn't be doing anything. 

We were both freaking out but began to make  plans while the vet called the college to consult. I contacted Karen who lived in PEI. She kindly offered to pick me up and give me a place to stay. Even with my cooties.  

The vet came back and said I spoke with the surgeon at the college. He doesn't think you need to bring him. Because you called so quickly, he thinks it should be manageable by me doing an effusion today and then oral antibiotics for the next 10 days.  

I could have have hugged her. I didn't. Because cooties. But I wanted to. 

While she prepared the dose, the vet tech and I brought Quaid back out to soak his foot in a solution of warm water, Epsom salts and betatdine. He was so cute about it- he put his foot down and brought it back out 
Quaid uh guys? there's something there, not sure I should step in it. 
But with gentle persuasion he let us soak it. We then wrapped it with animalintex poultice pad, vet wrap and duct tape. 

He was then sedated again. When he was out the vet tech put a twitch on him while the vet put a tourniquet on his leg and injected into his fetlock. The idea is that this drives the antibiotic into the hoof to impact the bone. He was agitated by the twitch and part of me felt that he might be better without it but we persevered and it was done. 

We have a plan: 
  • 10 days stall rest
  • 10 days antibiotics
  • 7 days banamine
  • 3 days of soaking
  • then 7 days of dry poultice
  • by Monday I can hand walk him. 
The stall rest is so that he doesn't rip the bandage off and get dirt in there. I also am giving him some probiotics because of the antibiotics. As well as vitamin e to help with inflammation.  He doesn't seem so keen with the crushed antibiotics in his feed so I'm trying some creative solutions. 

A spoonful of sugar should do the trick
(feel free to add suggestions)

When they left I was exhausted- emotionally and physically. 

He is not happy. We're ripping the bandaid off on being separated from Carmen. My plan is let her out in the morning and have her in for the afternoon. She is hanging out with him a bit in his stall (she can come in and out).  
Quaid; let me out. I'll behave, I promise

I am glad that I have a barn cam - it allows me to keep an eye on him. He's also not enjoying the oral banamine. He's backing away from me and I feel bad. 

There is learning from this: 
1. call the vet for any hoof puncture. If I had left this we could be looking at a much worse outcome. There is also the possibility that I will end up taking him to the college anyway if he doesn't do well. I am determined to do everything I can to make sure it goes well. 

2. Quaid is amazing. By the time they were done both the vet and vet tech were in love with Quaid. 
I have old horses that are not this well behaved the vet said. And he was- all the poking, soaking, wrapping, etc and he was so cooperative.  She even shaved a part of his leg and he was like 'that's a neat sensation'. 

3.  While he's not happy being left in his stall he's not tearing it down or trying to climb out. I think I'll get him some stall toys to see if that helps. 

4. learn how to bandage and deal with emergencies. I had to remove the screw because him standing on it was going to do more damage. 

I'm going to obsessing on this for a while