Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What a Difference a Week Makes...

Life with horses is always on the entertaining and slightly unpredictable side so you do have to learn to "go with it" so to speak.  But last week was a week that I just wouldn't have ever predicted and would really rather forget.  It was only 7 days prior that I had the most amazing lesson on my horse with my instructor shouting "this is exciting stuff!" at us.  Skip was showing no end of progress and we were both feeling physically and mentally strong to move forward together.  However two days later I went to lunge him early on a Sunday morning and he came up incredibly lame.  No sign of anything (and I must have checked 100 times thinking I had missed the signals!) and after no improvement in 24hours I swiftly called the vet. 

Monday afternoon was spent trotting up and down, and after initial thoughts that it may be a hoof abscess, the foot numbing activity soon ruled that out.  Being left in the evening with a horse with no diagnosis and a concerned vet, I felt more than a little on the tense side.  Two days later I boxed him up and took him across to our fantastic vets, which resulted in his staying overnight for ongoing tests to find the cause of his lameness.  After what felt like an eternity I was faced with the positive news that although Skip had pain originating from a tendon, scans and x-rays had proved there were no major tears or fractures and I breathed a sigh of relief. 

So 7 days after that fantastic lesson I was picking my horse up from the vets in the pouring rain (how apt!) with his rather large bandage on his hind leg. However clearly the vet was a woman after my own heart as the bandage matched his piebald colouring. The prognosis was good, with box rest followed by in hand walking and a small paddock, then ridden walk, then increasing turnout and ridden work after 8 weeks.  However Skip seemed to have other ideas!  Having spent far too long in a stable (3 days!) after the first day back home and stuck in he decided it was time to get out and spent further walking round and round the stable than he would have out in the field...not really the idea of "box rest" young man.  After a very stressful evening with him in a sweaty state, bashing that bad leg till the bandage slipped down we came to a compromise...a smaller bandage and a very small paddock for the daytime! 

We are now three days forward and he seems much happier out in the sun than stuck in a dark stable.  There is barely any grass in his paddock which is only the size of a large stable but he seems to be happy munching on his hay and enjoying the sun on his back whilst watching his friends around him.  Now I don't wish to tempt fate and say that he is fine but every day he is happy in there is a good day of recovery and a step closer to getting back on board.

Now facing a rather slow summer ahead, I am of course eternally grateful that it wasn't more serious and keeping my fingers crossed that he heals comfortably and sensibly over the next few weeks, but I am a little fed up to be missing out on all this riding in the sunshine! After an incredibly stressful week I am so thankful for every day that I go to the yard and see Skip resting and content and I hope those days continue well into his recovery.  I have also learnt a lot about equine injury, bandaging, and learning to adapt to your individual horses needs.

So to anyone with a horse out there recovering from injury, or waiting for a diagnosis I really feel for you and hope the news is positive and that you can learn from your experiences without feeling too disheartened.  Remember every day forward is a step in the right direction and as my instructor always says to me in times of stress..."remember, nothing stays the same forever". xx

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