Saturday, August 01, 2009
Healing human and horse
It turns out both Steve and Bar are in for some healing and rehabilitation, though I'm trying to not feel like a terrible horse-mom for not noticing Bar's injuries earlier. He banged his shoulder up, too, which I didn't catch until I had my vet and farrier out yesterday for an evaluation.
I have been a little preoccupied, though.
Steve is home and healing well, though not as quickly as he might like. His right shoulder is nicely ringed with a chartreuse bruise and the top of the shoulder has some dark purple mixed in. Picture some of the mottled Star Trek alien skin make-up and that's pretty close.
The dizziness and vertigo are nearly gone most of the time, but he's still taking it pretty easy right now. When he's ready to drive, he'll have to drive the big truck because it's the only automatic we have and shifting will have to wait for at least another few days.
Now that he's home, I'm hoping to get myself back into the normal barn routine (at least somewhat), and take some time to get Bar healed up, too.
I had Dr. Leslie the vet and Mike the farrier out yesterday to do an evaluation on Bar to make sure there were no structural, physical, or neurological reasons for his tripping. We ruled out his feet, which are in good shape, and then Leslie pointed out that his shoulder where he fell was pretty swollen. I of course fell into a little puddle of guilt, especially since I worked him in the round pen (not hard) the other day. I knew he was sore, but missed the swelling. Poor guy. I can't believe he actually did any work for me, and pretty much without complaining. He's a little bit of a stoic when it comes to pain, unlike his friend Lena the drama queen.
It was nearly impossible to fairly judge whether there was any front-end lameness since he was obviously compromised with the shoulder, but Leslie had also noticed some atrophy on his hind end so we did a Flexion test on his hocks. She held his rear leg up against his belly for over a minute on each side, then on a count of three let it down and I trotted him off while she and Mike watched. The first side he bounced forward instead of trotting, but it was still obvious he was sore. I can't believe how patient he was--especially we went back after the first side and picked up the other hind leg. He went along with me, though it was very clear he was hurting and grumpy about all this. He stomped a couple of times in frustration, but still did everything I asked of him. Leslie commented again the difference in him since we first got him. I told her it was because he loves me. Ha!
The verdict is that there is some lameness in the back end--his hocks--but it's not irreparable. That makes him not use his hindquarters enough and his front end too much. With the bowed tendon leg--which is a little over at the knee also--that's a recipe for the tripping. However, Leslie thinks with some Glucosamine and rest, he'll be fine for what we do with him. I'm also having Karen come out on Tuesday morning to give Bar a massage and evaluation. She gives me good, practical advice and has rehabilitated several horses, so should be able to give me some training and exercise tips, too.
I'm very glad there isn't any neurological issue, though I wasn't actually too worried about it. He does know where his feet are and has good strength in his hind end--he was able to resist Leslie pulling on his tail from each side quite effectively. He did look at me out of his one eye as if to say, "What is that weird woman doing back there?" a few times, though.
I'm sure if I think about it, there were signs he was having pain. And I could beat myself up about it, but that won't serve any good purpose. The best thing to do is go forward and help him build up his strength and flexibility, and for us to have fun doing it. My own focus on maintaining my own physical condition despite various aches and pains--knowing it's much better to keep moving--gives me a pretty good perspective on what he needs.