Monday, November 5, 2012

matilde's mysterious injury

a week and a half ago, we loaded matilde up to take her to sabin's lesson. everything was fine. we got there, saddled her up and began to warm her up. it was at that point we discovered, much to our dismay, that she was limping in the left front at the trot.

that day, both sabin's trainer and i felt her leg and couldn't find anything wrong. there was a strip of mud (it's VERY muddy these days) on her leg that i had had trouble brushing off and i thought she had scraped off the fur in that spot. there was no swelling and no hot spots. and she wasn't lame at the walk.

i thought she's just bumped herself somehow, bruised something and needed a few days off. but the next day, when they went to turn her out at the stable, they noticed that her leg was all swollen. jytte ran her hand down the leg and it came up quite bloody and she noticed a gaping hole. she called me immediately and then i called the vet. he came out and put three stitches in the gaping hole and bandaged up her leg.

she was heavily dosed with antibiotics (the swelling that day was pretty serious and he couldn't see exactly what was wrong with her) and gave her a 5-day course of antibiotic paste. we were pretty shocked because there had been no hole and no sign of anything (not even the scraped-off hide i had thought was there) the night before. when we got back from her lesson, we soaked her leg in a bucket of warm, soapy water and there was nothing. matilde likes those soaks - it's like a horse spa treatment.

the vet thought she must have had a sliver of some sort in there and it got infected and finally burst out on friday morning, the day after she showed the lameness. it is so strange because there really was no sign of anything - no heat and no swelling on thursday at the lesson, no sign by the lameness, which was actually quite slight (tho' bad enough that we didn't have our lesson).

already the day after she got her stitches, the swelling was completely down and she was on the mend. we've been rewrapping and protecting the wound for 10 days now and keeping her out of the muddy paddock and she will have her stitches out tomorrow. it's so muddy and horrible outside that poor matilde has only been turned out briefly in the indoor arena for 10 days now. the first thing she does is roll, my how she loves that.

the wound is healing nicely, as you can see in these progressive shots. but then last thursday, i noticed some swelling on her leg. and yesterday, a new spot opened up (tho' not so dramatically as the first - and not requiring stitches) and it was bleeding and weeping fluid. this is such a mysterious injury, i don't know what to make of it.

the new spot is lower down and more on the front of her leg, down just above her ankle. it was much better today and no longer weeping or bleeding. the vet will come tomorrow and take out her stitches and look at the new spot. we don't know what she might have gotten into - some kind of slivers or splinters, tho' there was nothing visible in her field or her stall. it's really a mystery and she's not talking.

you can see a little bump of swelling there on the front of her cannon bone. she's still not lame at the walk, but is a bit tender and favoring it at the trot.

she has no trouble rolling with great relish. she loves to roll so much it almost makes me want to roll as well.

the swelling on the front was mostly down today and it was no longer weeping any fluids or blood. but we'll see what the vet says tomorrow.

in the photos, i can see a sort of u-shaped mark there where the blood was coming from. i wasn't really able to see looking at it in person. i wonder if she somehow hit herself on something (something we can't see). she doesn't even have another horse next to her anymore, so i can't see what she could have done to herself in her stall.

she's taking the whole thing quite well, enjoying standing in the barn alone (she actually wishes there were no other horses), munching hay and being pampered. but i do wish she'd tell us what happened.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

members only

there was a horse show for members only at our riding club today. sabin entered two dressage classes and got second place in both! in the first, she got 2nd of 11 and in the second one, second of 9. i was so proud of her and it was a great stride forward for her confidence! in denmark, red is first place and blue is second, so this may look like a first place to you, but it's actually second place. we weaved matilde's mane like we did spirit's at the windy hills show. everyone thought it looked awesome! all those massages for the horse and all those lessons are paying off at last!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

sunny yellow for a sunny day

sabin used her bunny money (the money she got from selling her baby bunnies) to buy a sunny yellow saddle pad and fleece legwraps to match. it made matilde look pretty and summery on a bright sunshiney day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

matilde is looking good

great investment has been made in matilde over the past year - chiropractors, massage, horse dentists, a saddle-fitter, a real wool lambskin pad, brand new shoes (she was in heat and hit on the horseshoer yesterday) and just last week, a new bridle. coupled with someone having more upper-body strength and longer legs, it's starting to pay off.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

oh the joys of owning a horse

7/3.2012 - how to treat a hoof abscess

on tuesday, just in time for our weekly private lesson with sabin's riding instructor, i got an SMS from the stable that matilde was very lame and they weren't going to put her out in the paddock today. so i went right over. it was rather alarming as matilde was standing on her tippy toe with her left front and would hardly put any weight at all on it. we couldn't see anything wrong - no bone jutting out, no bumps, no swelling, no hot spots - it was seemingly nothing!

so i called the vet. happily, he was in the neighborhood and he came right away. he quickly diagnosed a hoof abscess. i'd never heard of such a thing - i think we were just lucky, as it's apparently quite common. he removed her shoe and tested to see where the worst of the pain was and then opened up her hoof to release the pus. dang is that a nasty smell. apparently the abscess is a long time in forming, but once it gets bad, it's extremely painful for the horse, because the hoof is so tough, there's nowhere for all that gunk to go. it was a relief that matilde wasn't just being a drama queen (which she has been known to be).

the hoof

he said it was one of the deepest he'd seen and he didn't dare dig any more out of it, for fear of damaging the wall of her hoof. you can see the round hole he opened at the top of this photo. he packed the open spot with gauze and wrapped her entire hoof in gauze, tape, a plastic bag and more tape, so it was completely protected the first night. then he advised us to invest in a protective boot. this is how they look - the very height of horse fashion. i read a bit about them online and some people use them instead of shoes, tho' i'm not sure i'd do that, as i think if you rode a longer distance in such boots, it would begin to irritate around the coronet band.

tilly's new shoes

on the second day, we removed his wrappings and soaked tilly's hoof in a buck of warm, soapy water for 15 minutes. i was worried she wouldn't go for that, but she actually seems to quite enjoy it - it's kind of a pampering pedicure and she stands patiently for it, like a good girl. bribery of carrots and treats helps.

time for tilly's pedicure

then we fill the hole with some kind of blue iodine tincture and put her boot on. she can't go outside in the mud like she normally does, so we turn her out in the arena for a bit of exercise. on the first day, she was still lame, but already on day two, she appears to be back to herself (tho' we wouldn't yet chance it by riding her). she enjoys being in the arena by herself and it's perfect for a good roll. or two. or three.

there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good roll.

i am always amazed at the capacity of horses to heal quickly. we'll be able to have the shoer in early next week to put her shoe back on and be back to riding her as normal. the boots were pretty expensive, but it seems to work really well as a protector and she isn't bothered by it, so we've felt it was a worthy investment. better than having to get a new horse or having her out of commission for a month! and if it ever happens again, we've got the boots - they come as a pair, so we've got two.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


this is memory

she's 8 now.

she's a norwegian trotting horse (norwegian standard bred?)

she's taller than she looks in these photos (16+ hands)

it got down to 0 degrees for about a week, so we got her a blanket.

she's only been driven, but hasn't been ridden.

she has a sweet, quiet manner, but it seems like she doesn't know much.
when the weather gets better, we'll start working with her. she is wondering where all of the other horses are. the neighbor has one, but he's been indoors in the snowy, slippery weather, as he's getting a bit old.  pinky will come home at the end of the month to keep her company.