Wednesday, February 22, 2012

With Horses, It's Always Something.

We went over to the barn this evening to make sure everything was ready for Vince and Connor's big trip to Auburn in the morning, but if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans. Last night I received notice from the barn manager Vince had apparently leaned against the wall between his stall and the pony next door and had caved in some of the board. trapping Fox pony in a corner! Tonight we arrived to find a crisis of another kind, only this time, NOT with my horse.

Our barn has every type of horse - retired race horses rescued from the race tracks of the mid-Atlantic; horses rescued from various situations around the country; and our own personal animals. Once such gelding is Sneaky (registered Arabian name Sneak Preview), age 27 - one of our original herd purchased to begin Blue Skies Riding Academy. Sneaky is our grand old man, a proud Arabian with the attitude of the grumpiest of sweet old men. He is opinionated, hard headed, grouchy, and completely wonderful.

About a year ago the decision was made to retire Sneaky and let him live out the remainder of his days as a companion only. He doesn't tolerate the heat as well as he used to (he is a flea bitten grey) and too much trotting or cantering caused him to gasp for breath. Of course that decision lasted only a few months before he let us know, in no uncertain terms, complete retirement was boring. Since then he has only been ridden occasionally by his favorite person DW. They have a special bond and have more fun just being together than most any others. Until I started trying to curb Vince's cribbing, Sneaky was Vince's best and only friend.

Yesterday Sneaky was being grumpy under his usual tree when one of the other geldings started 'something'. I say it that way because only someone who owns more than one gelding knows what I am talking about. The pecking order with gelding is always fluctuating. They don't fight like stallions will, but they certainly run and snort and nip and act like boys. In the process of wanting to be left alone, Sneaky fell heavily onto his right back leg.

No one knows for sure how he fell, but he got right back up and nothing seemed out of the ordinary, until this morning when the barn manager went to check on him. He wasn't eating very much and when she went in the stall it became very apparent the fall had been worse than suspected. His sheath was extremely swollen and his right hip seemed to be at a strange angle.  Many treatments were debated, but all roads eventually led to the phone and Dr. Sue was called. After more consideration we contacted DW just in case things didn't go right.

It took a while for the vet to arrive (isn't that always the way it seems), and she quickly determine that while nothing was broken, he does have a major hematoma on the inside of his right leg into the butt causing major pain. He can urinate, just cannot 'assume the position' as geldings do. We cannot touch the hematoma due to the location; if she were to be unable to staunch the blood flow there would be no way to save him in the field. The closest hospital is either UGA or Auburn, where we are already heading in the morning.

As a family we have made the decision to give him a few days with pain meds and steroids and dmso to attempt to the reabsorbing of the blood into the system. He is drinking well and and eating wet down alfalfa but there is a long road ahead. We will give him all the help and support that we deem safe for the old man. So when you say a prayer tonight, would you spare an extra one for Sneaky? Right now - he needs it more than Vince and Connor. They can have their prayers tomorrow. Tonight I have a different gelding who needs us.

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