Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Trailview Farm

Yep, another move for the ponies.  I had the opportunity to move them west of town, slightly further away than previously, but with 1) direct trail access and 2) pasture.  Number one and number two are very, very good things in our world.  Yesterday was moving day - and it was pouring rain all morning!  The horses were wet and shivering when I arrived to get them ready to go, but a few minutes in the barn with some hay, and they warmed right up.  The rain lightened for the drive over to the new farm, and they unloaded and marched through the old dairy barn (short ceilings are just fine for short people and their short horses!) to settle into a big stall together to wait out the rain.  They got to munching hay right away, and spent the rest of the day in the barn. 
Hangin' and eatin' - two of their favorite pastimes.
Just before sunset, I get a call from T. the barn owner - they had just turned my boys out into their new paddock/new herd, and Red is limping badly.  While we're on the phone, her husband finds a bleeding cut on his left front leg and I get my vetting stuff together and head out.  Red is indeed severely lame, and doesn't really want to put any weight on the leg at all.  No one can figure out what he did, but we're all sure it must have happened in the stall, and quite recently as its still freshly bleeding and is not yet swollen.  Horses!!!  They do always manage to find _something_ to hurt themselves on! 

C. left Red a get well note in his snack I had prepared and left on the table to take with me this morning. I'm pretty sure he (C.) is a keeper!
It's been awhile since I've been in full-on vet mode, but I had been doing some small mending/sewing projects just before T. called, so I guess I was practicing!  It appears to be a puncture wound (bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside, certainly) and also appears, so far, to have missed any major structures (in as far as a head lamp exam with a probe on a Saturday night can reveal).  On further searching, he's also got a nick on the upper inside of his right hind, and a scrape above his left eye.  Now we really do wonder what the heck he did!  I put in just a couple sutures, leaving an opening for the wound to drain and heal from the inside out.  It's stall rest, antibiotics, and pain killers for Mr. Red for the next little while.  Poor guy.  And the worst part of it will be the separation from Rhio.  Red is so attached to Rhio, and to have just moved to a new, unfamiliar farm will make it just that much more stressful.  Ugh.

All bandaged up and looking pretty.

This is not his happy face.
This morning, I headed out a bit before the group trail ride was planned, and found Red looking a bit better than last night, but the leg was more swollen (to be expected) and he was pretty upset being in the stall by himself.  Rhio is out in a pen with access to the barn area that shares a common wall with the stalls, but every time he leaves the barn, Red is frantically whinnying.  With a little help from my pharmaceutical friends, Red calms down and I am able to hose his leg to help the swelling and inflammation go down.  I let the boys stand together while I get Rhio ready to ride, then put Red back in his stall.  He is unhappy.  He whinnies.  Rhio whinnies back.  Rhio starts to get wound up.  Eight other horses and their riders are getting ready.  Rhio gets more wound up.  It's starting to feel like the start of an endurance ride (except much later in the morning!).  Finally, we set off and Rhio is thrilled to lead the pack down the road to our trail access.

Although much of the group is planning a sedate trail ride, and we have a mixture of skill and fitness levels in both horses and riders, Rhio hasn't been out in a month and is about bursting at the seams to GO!  T. and two other ladies from the barn have done their first novice distance rides this month, and are eager to learn more about the sport.  L. and L. come to the front of the pack with me, and I let Rhio take us out at a comfortable trot.  Really, making him walk would be a cruel and unusual punishment, and one of the things I hate to do is stifle his natural eagerness.  As long as he is listening, calm, and safe, I do mostly let him pick the pace. 
We're less than a mile from home and we've already lost the back half of the group.  Oops!
Our trail is a rails-to-trails type multiuse trail, so we share it with hikers/runners and bikes.  There are numerous road crossings and bridges, and it extends a total of about 22 miles.  We can head either north or south on this trail, and today went south.  It is a nice trail, with both open field and wooded portions (I am told the bugs can be very bad in the summer).  We went just shy of 6 miles south, then turned for home.  I will have to teach my new conditioning buddies to ride a consistent, relaxed pace so the horses get into a rhythm and conserve energy.  I have found that many trail riders, who like to "move out," really like to run a bit, then walk, then run, then walk.  I'm going to just come out and admit it - this drives me absolutely batty!!!  I want to ride a consistent, rhythmic, efficient forward gait and keep it steady.  I think this teaches both you and your horse better balance and is more aerobic.  It's also more meditative and conducive to a relaxed mental state for both horse and rider.  I do the same when I run on foot; "slow" and steady will win the race.  All of their horses are gaited, so we will see how comfortable it is to ride together.  One mare, Bree, can really fly in her gait and Rhio doesn't keep up with her even cantering (though he would like to, and this gave us many chances to practice being passed and then outpaced, which was excellent training). 
Using the neighbor's driveway to access the trail because the farm access to the trail is too wet.

Trail!  Dirt and grass under our hooves!  Yes, it's flat and mostly straight - but we are not complaining (yet, anyway - I do yearn for hills.)

I very much enjoyed my first ride out from our new barn, and meeting the ladies.  I had a lot of horse today, but Rhio did very well even in an almost race-like environment.  I certainly didn't set him up to succeed by not riding for almost a month (due to various circumstances, not intentional!) and then asking him to go sedately in a big group, on a new trail.  We had a few moments of high-headed, hollow-backed silliness (I had neglected to put his martingale on as well!) but overall we had a nice 11 1/2 mile ride.  We do our first 50 of the season in two weeks.

I'll keep posting updates on Red's injury.  Here are the more "graphic" pictures of it below, so if you wish to avoid seeing them, stop now. 

Pre-treatment.  It's just below the carpus (knee) on the outside of the left front.  It's less than an inch long externally but is deep and has a pocket that extends forward toward the cannon bone.  Yikes.  Lots of important stuff in there - let's cross all our fingers, toes, and hooves that nothing major is amiss.  

Two sutures holding the exterior partially closed, with room for drainage.

No comments:

Post a Comment