To say our move didn’t go quite as planned is a bit of an understatement.
Our first night went really well. He was so good walking to our new home and when we arrived, Pony was alert and curious but happy to eat and drink. I was pretty pleased. Several good poops before I left for the night and I was feeling pretty confident in our new barn. My wonderful barn momma Amy stuck with me for most of the day and I’m so grateful. Even my husband was a champion – he helped me move my remaining hay and big tack boxes, and when I got home super late Saturday night he continued being wonderful with surprising me with Skittles and flowers and a big “I LOVE YOU” note. I’ve been gone in Las Vegas for a week and then a few days later immediately move my horse and he is so incredibly wonderful to me.
The next morning he got to go out in the pasture where he lost his mind. He was in full blown “flight” and panic mode. Didn’t matter that the other horses were out, didn’t matter he had a ton of hay to eat and it was a beautiful cool morning. My normally very cool and collected boy had lost his mind. So I was torn on what to do – stop this madness and bring him in, and probably have this happen again tomorrow, or let him figure it out. Not seconds after this little internal debate in my head did he find the perfect stick or invisible object to step on and lacerate the skin on his pastern and is bleeding. He is a little lame as he continues to run, and of course is now even more upset and won’t let me catch him. After a few minutes he stops and starts holding the injured leg. Great.
I take him back to the barn and give it a good clean and scrub and call my vet because this definitely needs stitches. While we are waiting he is standing in his stall, and the adrenaline seemed to be wearing off and he is totally non-weight bearing on the leg and standing 3-legged in his stall. My vet, Dr. Laura Smiley, was there within 30 minutes (seriously fastest vet call I’ve ever had – and on a Sunday morning). After she assessed it and performed a nerve block on the hoof and area, she told me there might be some deep digital flexor tendon involvement. And my heart sank. The laceration was so deep she could see the tendon – but in the field she couldn’t really tell if he did touch it. We are now sporting 6 sutures in his left front, a nice thick bandage, antibiotics and bute, and at least two weeks stall rest. We will re-assess then and hopefully this is the extent of the damage and the laceration can just heal normally. If there is tendon involvement… I can’t even let myself think about what that might mean.
I feel insanely guilty and responsible for this injury. The biggest reason I moved him to this barn was so that he could be in a smaller herd and have more time outside. And my biggest worry was him fitting into the new group. I didn’t even consider that he is his own worst enemy and could do more damage running on a flat surface that the giant group of 17 horses in 4 acres of mud could do. I know I’m being hard on myself. I know he could have done this exact same thing to himself at our old home at any time. All horses are totally accident prone and are just looking for ways to injure themselves every day. I just was hoping that by moving to this little barn that I would be reducing the variables of injuries.
So many boarders from my other farm were adamant that I would be back, that I would not like it here. I don’t blame this farm for his injury – I blame myself. Why did I move him? Why couldn’t I have left well-enough alone? I did it because I truly thought that this would be best for him. I want my horse to be a horse and be outside all day. I want him to be safe and live forever. I want a sound horse to ride until he is 30.
Last night and this morning he did seem a lot more comfortable. I grazed him for a few minutes last night and he stood quietly while I brushed him. This morning I changed the bandage and it had a lot of drainage, but no heat or swelling which I’m taking as a good sign. He didn’t appear lame but I didn’t move him around too much to tell. He was still eating well and drinking so I hope these are all good signs that there is no tendon involvement. Crossing my fingers.
It’s just like horses to totally be lifting you up and then totally breaking your heart two minutes later. We blindly jump into this hobby and should always expect the unexpected but even when the unexpected happens we are still shocked. Any prayers or good thoughts, or even any advice with experience on this type of injury would be greatly appreciated.