After I returned from brief vacation, I gave Tril a sort of play and spa day. Rather than get straight to riding after four days off, I took him out, secured the polo wraps, and turned him out to play. Cracking the lunge whip a few times to encourage him, he galloped and played with enthusiasm, but not over excitement. A few times in his exuberance, I heard his hooves clapping together as he tangled and untangled those limbs, and while I noted a minor cut on a rear pastern, no damage seemed to be done. I did think about bell boots--which are designed to protect against this exact type of injury--and wondered if they are designed to work on hind feet as much as front. Bah, I thought, that's for another time.
I hosed him off, groomed him thoroughly, and brought out his wardrobe. Fly sheet, check. New hock boots (the type to protect against bed sores), check. Fly mask, check. Hmmm...the flies were really biting his front legs, too--time to take out his fly boots.
Now, again, it also has been established Tril is very skilled with that mouth of his. Leg wraps and boots, left unattended, are for shredding and entertainment. (Ditto reins, lead ropes, hoses, sprinklers, water fountains, jump poles, mounting blocks...) Oh, but I've got you all figured out, Tril-man. I have discovered RAP LAST!
|Now with more capsaisin for your mouth-burning pleasure|
So after two hours of playtime, grooming, and attentiveness (incidentally, my eldest was showering our mini with similar attention, exercise, and affection, so she wasn't left out), I left feeling like Good Horsey Mommy.
Then I arrive today with eldest, all set for me to ride and then eldest to ride in his new Wintec saddle, and I am happy to see both front fly boots are on. The hock boots fell off, but whatever, 50% success rate is good for me.
Then I take the damn fly boots off.
What the fuck is THIS? No, seriously...the fuck?
|Puffy McPuffy Ankle is puffy|
|Um...there shouldn't be a bump in front of the fetlock joint! Learn from your white-footed friend there. See? No bumpy in front. Everyone's doing it.|
Seeing the right front is also a teensy bit puffy and appears to have sweat marks or somesuch on it, I assumed--hoped--his skin was reacting to the capsaisin-saturated Rap Last. I first lunged him for soundness, and as has to be obvious, he's lame on that leg. But he's not horribly lame on it; when my mare tore a tendon sheath, she was head-bobbing lame even at the walk. This was definitely a bob of the head, but not a dramatic UPdownUPdownUPdown of extreme ouchiness.
I cold-hosed the leg (rinsing the other leg as well), hand walked him, and gave him a solid dosing of Bute. At this point, I was 75% believing it was a reaction to the Rap Last.
|Uh, Tril, trying to help you out here.|
|Okay, go ahead, have a drink. Over and over again. Okay...uh...okay, shall we get to that hot puffy ankle now?|
|CHOMP. Well, I suppose this was an inevitability. Not only did he bite it, he like to play with his bite to make the water pressure change. Playful little big goofball.|
Then I went back to feed him his dinner about 6 hours later, and saw it was WORSE. Forget crap, this has now escalated to aw, FUCK.
|With his old healed splint and now whatever this is on the inside of his cannon bone, his leg looks ALL kind of ugly wrong right now.|
|The white foot is a little puffy too, but not even half as bad as its neighbor--which has lost all definition. Shouldn't I see tendons and things between the knee and fetlock? CRAAAAAPPPP|
|Oof. I'm gonna need a drink.|
Holy shit, that is ugly looking.
This time I took him out for a more careful assessment, and found a squishy dome of not-supposed-to-be-here starting about and inch and a half below the knee. His ankle definitely was warm to the touch, but I no longer detected a pulse--which made sense, really. It doesn't appear to be an issue in the foot, but something above the fetlock. I think all that swelling is just being thrown down. Maybe. I dunno.
Time to call my vet. He found it hopeful that Tril isn't severely lame, and thinks it may be one of two things--a reaction to the Rap Last, or he kicked something. We're waiting until Monday for the appointment as long as he holds steady in this condition. I was advised not just to cold hose, but use soap and scrub the legs to ensure removal of all the peppery oils (well, DUH, of course--why didn't I think of that??), keep up Bute, and NOT to wrap his legs. Since Tril is a notorious standing wrap-rip-aparter, the vet warned that behavior can actually worsen an injury as he's pulling on tendons and everything else while getting his bandage chew on. Brilliant, Tril. Seriously, I've said it before--how the heck does Darwin keep missing you?!
So what did he do?
Did he react to the Rap Last? (I will be puh-ISSED if that $15 bottle costs me $400 in vet bills.) Did he get into "No, this is MY bucket!" bickering with his butt-biting neighbor? Did he get cast in his stall somehow and bang himself up extricating himself? Did he nail something more than a hoof in his overreaching, exuberant strides in turnout?
|New marks above his eye and in front of his jaw. Clues? Or red herrings?|
Crap if I know. Crappity crap crap.
But, the thing is, if this had happened six months ago, I would have felt a different way. I've become bonded to him now, and really have come to appreciate and adore him. He's just the sweetest thing, if too curious and too playful for his own good on occasion. He hasn't a drop of nasty or malicious blood in him. Wary, yes; untrusting of people he doesn't know, true; but not the least bit unkind. But today, he felt secure enough to show me he was hurting. It was in his face, his eye, his movement. He, a prey animal, showed me the ultimate weakness for his kind.
It's okay, baby. No matter what has happened, we'll make it right.
|I'm sorry, it's just what I do.|