|Cody as a 3 year old.|
So we carefully got Cody into the barn so we could get a better look at her leg, and things didn't look good. The pasture was high tensile fence, and Cody had stuck her leg in it. Everything on the inside of her hock joint and front of her canon bone was gone, from just above the hock, all the way down to pastern. The bone was exposed, the joint was exposed, and she had lost a lot of blood already. The vet said if we hadn't found her when we did, she would have been dead in another hour from blood loss alone.
So needless to say the prognosis wasn't good. If the joint didn't get infected, she might be ok and should at least be broodmare sound, but with the way the joint was exposed the chances of it getting infected were very high. The best thing would be to send her to MSU and have the joint surgically cleaned to make sure infection didn't set in. Otherwise, the only thing we could do was clean it, wrap it, start her on antibiotics, and if she survived the night, check the wrap in 2 days, and if there was joint fluid on the bandage then the joint was damaged and most likely infected and she would probably have to be put down. If there was no joint fluid on the bandage, then there was a chance she might pull through and be broodmare sound, but the chances of her being rideable sound ever again were slim to none.
We called her owner to see what they wanted to do, and their response was basically, put her down. Basically it wasn't worth the effort to save an old worthless broodmare. I was blown away, but then I've learned over the years that there are definitely two schools of thought on horses. Those that view horses as pets, and those that view them as a business investment. Those that will do everything they can to help and heal their injured horse, and those that either put them down and go get something new or toss them in a stall with little to no care and hope they heal up fine, often ruining the horse in the process. I definitely fall into the first category. Unfortunately, I know too many people that fall into the second category, and while I can understand a few parts of their views and reasons, that doesn't mean that I personally agree with it.
So I learned how to bandage a leg. Learned that bandaging a hock is a nightmare and that elastikon is your best friend, never be without it! I learned how to clean a wound without getting your head kicked off. I learned what proud flesh was, and how to defeat it and then prevent it. I learned that Cody was an opinionated pansy about needles to begin with, so penicillin shots twice a day was likely going to be my death sentence, since the vet said it was best to give it in the rump just because of the sheer amount of penicillin she was getting. I can't blame her for protesting, that needle was huge, and I have a needle phobia myself, but I learned that she could cow kick like no other, and was probably going to be the death of me. After having my life flash before my eyes after a few failed attempts to give her the shot in her box stall, I learned that standing stalls are a handy tool in situations like this! I could tie her in the standing stall, give her a flake of hay, go in the stall next door and give her the shot over the wall, she kicked the wall, I lived, she got her penicillin.
I learned that Cody was a picky eater, and if you put pills in her grain, she would eat around every one of them. If you crushed the piles and mixed them in her grain, then she just wouldn't eat the grain. If it was in a dish, she'd flip the dish over and stomp it in her bedding. If it was in a bucket on the wall, she'd just leave it till you finally cleaned out that contaminated grain and gave her some fresh medicine free grain, even if that meant that contaminated grain sat there for a day or two, under no circumstances was she going to eat it. So we had to do it the hard way, and I learned how to crush pills twice a day, mix them in a syringe, and shove them down her whether she wanted them or not!
I learned that a busy TB minded Cody and stall rest didn't mix very well. Yes, she was used to being stalled all the time having been a show horse, but she was not used to having no way to relieve her energy, like getting worked hard daily, and hand walking definitely wasn't cutting it. So Miss Busy Body became a handful as she started feeling better! I learned she was a chronic pawer, and ended up having to have my farrier put front shoes on her just to protect her feet from her self manicuring.
I learned that Miss Busy Body was also anti-social when it came to humans. Every time I opened her stall door, she turned her butt to me. You tried to get around her to get a halter on her, and she'd turn and shove you out of the way with that rear end. She wasn't mean about it, but definitely made her point that she wasn't thrilled about you being around. Guess I couldn't blame her, since I was the one sticking her with needles twice a day, but she didn't do this just with me, it was anyone that tried to handle her. But then, she'd been a show horse, and some of the training methods among the stock horse world don't exactly put humans into a horse's good graces. Cody needed to learn that not all humans were bad.
I learned that hand walking said TB Busy Body was a complete nightmare. Apparently she missed the "walking" part of that, because our hand walks were more gymnastics and airs above the ground as I held on for dear life at the other end of the lead rope getting dragged all over the place going "You can come down any time now please!" And praying she didn't rip her healing leg all to pieces again, and trying to get the barn owners blue heeler to stop "helping" since his antics were only making matters worse. I'd survived the penicillin shots, but at this rate it was going to be death by hand walking for me, trying to keep 16 hands of explosive TB energy in line! So after several failed attempts at hand walking, I finally took a hint from the racing industry for dealing with silly TBs, saddled up Lady, and ponied her for her hand walks! Why didn't I think of that sooner! Lady's quite nature helped calm the beast some, and though we still had some explosions from time to time, Lady's weight and a dally around the saddle horn at least helped even the odds a little, and eventually we got the walking part right! So Cody got ponied around the fields and trails once or twice a day, though of course having been an arena baby, everything outside of the arena scared the bejesus out of her and we exploded again.
So here I sit with three horses that mean the world to me and we've been through so much together, and I now have two with ruined knees, and one that's only marginally sound due to arthritic hocks. Such is my crazy life I guess.