Saturday, July 19, 2008

Three steps back, and Punt!

I've learned a painful lesson.... when I spoke to my farrier earlier this week, I specifically asked him to use great caution, and try to shoe Chewie so he was a bit "straighter" in front. Confirmationally, Chewie's prone to long toes & in Tuesday's lesson, I felt him almost putting one front hoof directly in front of the other, tight-rope style.

I should've just left the appointment as scheduled, and not said a word, I guess.... I got a phone call stating I needed to, "strongly consider scratching the show & scheduling a chiropractor for my horse", that he was "stiff, not picking his back legs up freely like normal, and was flinching in pain to points on his back & neck".

I hurried home, and found my horse stiff as a telephone pole. He wouldn't walk out, and, while he wasn't limping, it was clear something was wrong. I tacked him up, and off we went to the round pen.

He free lunged stiff, but relaxed. Side reins, same reaction. I climbed on, and the only way I can describe him - short. Short strided walk, short strided trot. Collect up okay, but really short. I called Robin, and asked, "Did anything else go on around here that I don't know about and need to?" She didn't think so, but I could hear Farrier talking in the background. I left the conversation end pretty abruptly, because it sounded like they were busy having their own conversation. (Thinking back, it seemed like they needed to "get the story straight before talking to me again".)

I gave up the ride pretty quick, convinced it was either his back, or a pulled muscle, or something unknown. I called the chiropractor Chewie has seen before, and she thought if he felt short strided and lazy, yes, maybe he did need an appointment. I told her I'd check my work schedule and call back. Meanwhile, I scratched the show, hotel, and dog boarding, all in heartbroken phone calls.

Farrier Mike & Robin showed up a few minutes later. They unloaded the truck, watched Chewie walk out, looking for a close nail. Mike pulled the shoe, and blood came out of a nail hole. It was worse than close, he quicked my baby. Chewie let out a huge sigh, obvious relief that the nail was no longer hurting him. Iodine, Equilux epoxy outside, and an epoxy rubber pack inside. Reset the shoe, one nail on each side. He seemed stiff, but easing up on the laziness afterwards. I dug around the house, found some bute, and dosed Chewie about 2g last night. Squirted him another 1g this morning, and plan to repeat for a few days. It's also worth mentioning, that just inside the sole from where that bloody nail hole was, his sole was awful soft. I have no earthly idea how Farrier Mike didn't notice the hoof sole was so soft, nor why he even considered nailing near a soft-spot. Anger & Questioning gets me nowhere.. so I will force myself to get over it.

Instead of bounding off for the show, I'm in town, pouting. Yes, Yes... I know,... We learned so much these past few weeks preparing, it's not training lost. Chewie and I were trotting out in patterns, in the arena, on contact, without incident. But, dangit! I was looking forward to getting out & showing my baby-boy to the hunter circuit crew. I couldn't wait to see the look on the barn owner's face when 16.2H Chewie bounded off the trailer, confidently carrying me around the tests. I was looking forward to seeing a judge I've tested for previously, to see the improved marks. I wanted to see the looks on those rich peoples' faces, when my cheap OTTB and I "cleaned house" in the AA division. I had hopes... and instead, we're off work for at least a few days, he's hurt, and we're both a bit heartbroken.

This afternoon, I walked out to him in the pasture. He gave all four hooves willingly, let me pick, poke, and prod at him without flinching in his back, or neck, stretched head to hip hoping for cookies (that I didn't have). We exchanged a few hugs & nuzzles, and he said "thank you" with licking, chewing, and a few big yawns. It's like we're both said that we're not leaving today... almost like he knows what he's missing.

If you're the praying kind, pray with me that it's a quicked nail, and the hole is blocked from bacteria, and an abscess is avoided. He's had a few in my care, and they're no fun for either of us. I'd rather not dive into another one. Not with as good as things have been.

Get well quick, Chewie. Momma needs you as much as you need her.

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