Three years ago today was the first indication that my horse was not healing. For about 4 days after Gennyral bowed his tendon it all seemed normal. I was still devastated, especially on the day of the show that we had to scratch, but me being me I had already planned my show season to start in August giving Gen 3 months to heal and 2 months to rehab back. It was tough going twice a day to cold horse and wrap him, but there was a time limit on it. If I suffered along for 3 months and did the best that I could my horse would be fine. It was still a devastating blow, but it was a manageable devastating blow.
5 days after the injury I went to take off the wrap and Gen’s leg and suddenly it didn’t look like my horses leg anymore. In the place where my horses leg once was there was there a giant balloon covered by white and black hair. It was at that moment that my heart dropped down to my toes and pretty much stayed there for a long time. I tried to be rational, or at least as rational as my irrational self could possibly be. It was only the morning. Maybe he banged it in the night. Maybe my wraps were not tight enough. Maybe they were too tight. It was only one morning. I was trying not to freak out. It was only one morning. I wrapped him back up, put him in his new front stall and went home for a few hours.
I cannot even put into words the fear that gripped me on that drive home. It was a terror as though a serial killer was after me, but worse. It was the fear of the unknown coupled with the stress of dealing with the injury I already knew about was getting the better of me. That afternoon when I came back I was slightly calmer. I had convinced myself that the swelling that morning was a total fluke. I had done more online research and figured that maybe my lack of hand walking Gen and letting him move at all was what had caused the swelling. I figured I would walk him for 2-3 minutes before I took off the wraps.
Gen was a little fresh when I walked him, but we didn’t go very far and it wasn’t for very long so he didn’t really do anything stupid. When I walked him into the wash stall I was convinced that things would better this time. That when I pulled off the wrap things would be different. I could feel the hope rising as I slowly took off the wrap. I just knew things would be better.
When I took the last bit or wrap off only to find that the ballon was still there a little piece of me died right there. I was beside myself. Not only did Gen not get better, it was worse. I called my vet who told me that if it was stall large in the morning to call him so he could come out and re-ultrasound it. I don’t think I slept at all that night.
In the morning I was dreading taking off his wraps. The skin was just stretched to tightly that it was paiful to even look at. I called my vet and he came out right away. The look of shock on his face as he entered the barn and saw the giant swelling leg confirmed that it was not all in my imagination. My vet gave Gen a good once over to see if there was any obvious reason for the swelling. There was not.
He told me that clearly the leg was just agervated about something. He told me that the swelling would go down soon and it was nothing to panic about. He asked if I wanted to re-ultrasound. At about $200 a pop I figued that if my vet was confident it would go away I should be too. I tooked at his vet tech who just smiled and told me that some times things get worse before they get better. If only she knew how true those words would be.
I went to cold hose Gen and the vet and I talked about reasons for the swelling and things we could do for it. I gave him a print out I had found on line about hand walking tendon injued horses. It was like a day by day rehab scheduale. He agreed that 5 minutes of movement might be a good thing at this point. He also recomded uping Gens bute. He got on Bute the day he hurt himself, but cleary he needed more to stop the swelling.
I just remeber feeling totally helpless standing in the washstall with my horse, cold hoseing him while hugging his leg watching my vet drive away. The game plan was to have him come back in a few weeks as long as things kept getting better. I can still remeber the sound of the water splashing around as I had my check on Gens warm shoulder with his newly minted summer coat. I closed my eyes and told Gen that he had to get better and soon. I had so many dreams for the two of us and being hurt wasn’t one of them.