Friday, April 29, 2016

Crack Addict

I think animals can be good patients as well as bad patients, when it comes to injuries. In the past, Ashke has been pretty good. He was calm and relaxed in the stall when he had the gash over his eye that required stitches, he's been good about doing the physical therapy needed for his right hamstring and left stifle. Over all, he is a very sweet and kind horse that seems to roll with the punches.

That has all changed with this barn. He is a turnout seeking demon horse, like a crack-smoking junkie looking for his next high. The first day of his injury Ashke stood balanced on two feet, keeping the left hind off the ground while simultaneously banging the bottom of the split door with his right front with his head hanging outside. Very talented, my little crack-smoker is, and demanding. Once the ground outside was dry, he was allowed to go into his run (10 x 10) for the sunshine and the socialization.

He was still not happy. And like any addict, he started searching for a way to get what he wants, whether it was a good decision or not. That is how addiction works, you know. I don't know if he did online research or just queried his neighbors, but my crack-seeking idiot managed to finagle his way through the double looped and secured chain on the back of his run and set himself free in turnout yesterday.

 He was a mess.

He rolled in the mud. He played with Cory. He evaded arrest when the sheriff came to return him to his stall, preferring to gallop madly around the turnout field with his head flung high than to politely acquiesce to his capture. Yes. Chasing happened. I'm pretty sure the words "freedom or death" rang in the air as he made his point. I'm sure the BO was not happy with him. We suspect he had 30 to 45 minutes of freedom before he was finally bound under law.

I couldn't believe how he looked when I pulled him out of the stall. He was a disaster. His mane was rubbed and pulled, his tail a mess, and the places that weren't mud caked were covered with pee. J took his bucket to wet while I pulled him out of the stall. He spooked badly as we walked past where she was and swung his leg into one of the tack boxes in the aisle in front of the stalls. He felt like a bundle of dynamite as I tied him to the hitching rack. He pulled back hard as I brought out the grooming box, blowing and snorting like something was going to eat him.

He is not a good patient.

After grooming him, pulling most of the braids out so as to not lose any more mane, brushing out his tail, we tackled the leg. The swelling had gone down enough that the bandaging was sagging around his fetlock, and covered with mud from turnout. Ashke was a snorty, bitey mess and let both J and I know he was happier just ignoring the large wound than to have us treat it. He was shaking with the anticipation of pain as I carefully cut off the bandage. There was a bit of blood, but considering his antics in turnout, I am not surprised. The main wound has sealed and a lot of the swelling has gone down. Once I got the water on it, he stopped shaking and I was able to actually feel around the wound site without his reflex lifting of his leg.

 There is a flap of skin that will have to be removed, I think. I doubt very seriously there is any hope for it now.

The redness has retreated as well and I couldn't feel any heat in the leg after twenty minutes of cold hosing.

 When I replaced the pad with the antibiotic ointment I was able to put a bit of direct pressure on the wound, holding the pad in place, while waiting for Ashke to place his foot on the ground. He did and left it there while I wrapped the leg and fetlock with a thick cotton gauze, then vet wrap and finally Elastikon. The vet wrap allowed me to apply a bit of pressure without feeling like I was cutting off circulation with the Elastikon.

Wrapped and back in his stall.

Ashke will be restricted to his stall for the next three days (as will all of the horses since we are having another snow storm in Denver) and I will rebandage again on Sunday. I have to take his antics as a sign that it is healing and not causing him a ton of pain, considering he was galloping wildly away from the BO. Although I do think it was sore when we were changing the bandage. He has not had any pain reliever since last Sunday.


  1. What a beautiful mess he is! He's Morafic all over.

    I had my first experience tonight of "Freedom or Death" and I'm totally annoyed. I shut my horse into a stall for the first time in the 3 months I've owned him. And he violently proclaimed that he'd never in his life been in a stall. (This is the stall he chooses to stand in every afternoon while eating hay/sleeping. And he was stalled more than not in his former life in East Germany.) But the door was closed. He fruck out and tried to break the place apart, which might actually happen, so I was glad I had the donkey right next to him, and then I shut myself and the donkey in the stall next to him and groomed her while he reached over and angrily tried to bite her but she's smart enough to stay 2 centimeters out of reach of his angry teeth. He was a total, well, before I called him a bratty toddler, today he was a nasty teenager.

    So they stayed in their stalls for the first time, for an hour (!) and with hay to eat!. And then I let them out but after Teenage Angst galloped to the pasture, he realized I was still grooming/loving on the donkey (and giving her snacks) and he went back and forth, pasture to barn, 4 times, ripping up the earth angrily. When he wanted to join us, I said, "No, due to your rambunctious behavior you are uninvited from this area." Oh boy. Teenage rage.

    I often think my horse is like yours in temperament, in many ways (not this bad though, no offense intended). Stirrup-biting impatience and the necessity to be doing whatever it is right now, thoroughly.

    Ironically I've taught him to stand tied, but to be shut in a stall, horror!

    Next level....coming up.

    PS Askhe's legs are really tight in these recent photos, despite the fact that he's in work, and I believe, he sleeps in a stall? Wow. Can you explain how you keep them this way when he's laid up?

    1. They may look tight because they are shaved. I shave them in the spring to keep the mud from clotting in his fetlock hair and to prevent scratches. Over all, Ashke's legs stay tight unless we have done some really hard riding (like over serious rock or a WE clinic) or he's interfered with himself.

    2. I also use BOT boots for his legs when we are doing a long ride or where there are rocks that might get him.

  2. wound looks good. and yes that will have to be cut off. maybe sooner than later. my horses do not do well with containment. i don't do stall rest even when asked to because they seem to do more damage than if they can walk around their pens..And they become fire breathing dragons.. funny how that works..

  3. Hang in there....thinking of you and Ashke!