Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Best Laid Plans

Best Laid Plans

My sister and I were planning long rides on this holiday weekend. Saturday morning, we headed out on the first one with Cole and Ranger—and when we started trotting, Ranger was lame. Our hearts fell. It’s bad enough to have a lame horse, but it is way worse when the horse is on the older side. The anxieties are multiplied a hundred times. Could this be the big one? Is it something chronic that will limit his use?

We watched him and discussed the problem over and over. The best case scenario—a bruise. He was a little off a few days before, but had the day off on Friday. A bruise wouldn’t get worse with no work. Yes, but an abscess could. Could it be a hoof abscess? When we got back to the barn, Ellen led him in the soft indoor arena, and the lameness was gone. It was evident the hard ground was a factor. He had been a little reluctant about cantering the previous week, but Ellen thought it was the hot weather or hard ground. Maybe it was an abscess all along? We decided to wait and see. We predicted an emergency holiday weekend vet visit. Nothing like the emergency charge?

Then next morning, Ellen was looking at his hoof and saw something that wasn’t there before. She called me over to see. I looked at the gash on his heel, pushed down and he said it hurt. I heard a squishy noise, but nothing came out. I smelled my finger.

I am to hoof abscess expert—having dealt with Mingo’s chronic abscess for years. I would recognize that smell, anywhere. I assured Ellen that Ranger had an abscess that blew out overnight. The worst was over. No vet—we could take it from here.

She led him around. Some people make their horses rest when they have an abscess. I like them to move. It helps them drain. He was lame, but he improved as each minute went by—just like a typical abscess. She walked him for a half hour and then poulticed and wrapped his hoof.

She got to ride Cole Train and I rode Cruiser. Since they are both my horses, they don’t get out together, often. They traveled beautifully together. Cole gets frightened by any aggressive moves from other horses—no matter how subtle. Cruiser is the most non-aggressive horse, ever. Cole hardly knew what to do with himself. He just trotted happily next to Cruiser. He gets nervous with other horses when he is right next to them. Cruiser liked that Cole didn’t challenge him to any races. Well, I should say that I liked it. Cruiser loves to take up a challenge. I feel he is too old to go racing around, and I strive to keep him at a reasonable speed. Cole and Cruiser were awesome together.

On Monday, Ranger was even better. He only appeared lame at the very beginning of his walk. At the end, he even trotted decently. My sister wrapped and poulitced, again.

She could have ridden Starry, but she chose Cole, again. We went on the same ride, and it was just as pleasant as the day before. She will be riding Cole by herself one day this week and maybe with me on the weekend. I’m not sure when she will be riding Ranger. The gash in his heel is on the fleshy part, and she doesn’t want it to get wet or muddy until it is healed. I somehow think that she will keep riding Cole as long as she can. She really likes the little guy.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

I'm glad it was just an abscess. I've heard the same thing that exercise is good for them.