As y’all know from my last post, Red has been put through a ton since the first of July. I’ve had so many people out to check him over, I’ve dotted all of my I’s, crossed all of my T’s, and I’ve stressed myself sick. Last week, he was in so much pain he was laying down for about an hour a couple times a day to relieve the pressure. While I’m relieved to know the news now after yet another visit from my amazing chiro, I was a worried mess last Saturday and that worry continued on til around Wednesday when I started seeing improvement. Thankfully, Red is nearly sound now and he’s well on the way to a full recovery from two abscesses from hell and thrush. I’ll give the quick report from my chiro- I had her double -and triple- check his tendons, his shoulder, his legs, everything, to make sure this is definitely not a problem in his legs and all of the issues are stemming from the problems in his hoof (abscess and thrush) and she said his tendons feel great, leg felt perfect. Only area that was sensitive was his chest, near his “armpit” and that is just from how he’s been holding his leg out from that abscess. She worked on that for a bit and we already saw a difference when he got turned out and was walking. He had a bit of sensitivity on his neck and was stiff all over just from not moving as much and being tense from pain, but that all worked itself out. She will be back on Friday for a recheck and she’ll be doing another nice massage + probably using the tens unit on his neck.
So, I was able to have a nice sigh of relief. He’s okay, he’ll be fine, needs some more time to recuperate, but he should be good to go very soon. I’m giving him the rest of August off simply because he’s been through so much and deserves it. I can wait to ride until it’s cooler and I am 100% that he is back to himself. He was running in the field this evening and I could barely tell that he was gimpy at the trot which is where it shows itself most, BIG difference from how he trotted off yesterday evening, so I really think his chest is really sore and she relieved a lot of that pain from the massage. AND we get to stop the cold hosing now, his abscess is healing great, his swelling seems to be gone. Woot woot!
I will say, this experience has taught me a lot about myself, and this horse. And about abscesses. I can now treat an abscess with the best of them. I’ve learned that this horse tries his best to behave as much as possible, even when he’s in pain. He proved that when he continued to let me ride him even when he was about to blow an abscess, how he worked so hard for me Saturday, right before he came up lame. I’ve learned that when he starts tossing his head, something is not right, and I need to get off and figure it out. He’s figuring out how to send messages across to me, and he’s been trying to send messages for awhile and I’m just now figuring out what things mean – like shaking his head like he wants to rear means “I’m hurting, mom!”and his little playful nodding on the ground means something like “I’m going to grab the hose and spray you” or “give me that treat right now or I’m going to kick the epsom salt and get it all over you” Even though he hated the cold hoses, he got used to it quickly and he has really tried his best to behave at all times, even with my mom who he has never liked. She’s even admitted that through this she’s gotten really fond of the big dude.
It also proved to me that this horse could never go anywhere else but wherever I’m at. I can’t even describe my feelings when I went up to the barn before church on Sunday evening and saw him laying down. Let me put this into perspective; I am an independent baptist, and I go to a very conservative church with a dress code. So, I’m in an ankle length maxi skirt and sandals and the hottest cardigan known to man, and I drop everything to just make him feel okay. Staying up there all evening while he was laying down, calling everybody that could possibly figure out why he’s doing this, my emotions were crazy. And as I’ve watched him improve, I’ve realized that no matter how many times I doubt myself or doubt him, he’s the horse for me, and I’m very lucky to be able to be his human. There is no doubt in my mind that letting go of him would rip my heart out of my chest and all of the threats I made earlier in the year or in 2015 when we were going through our rough spell about selling him or leasing him out could never actually come true, because the minute I saw him leaving, I’d chase the trailer down and tell the people I changed my mind. There is something about this horse, and he’s my partner.
My relief when my chiro said that this is nothing major, just a minor setback and “He’s kinda wimpy.” which I already knew but still, it’s nice to know.
This horse will never be a show horse, will probably never win me money or ribbons, not because he’s not capable or I’m not, but because that just doesn’t fit into my life right now.But man, he makes me happy, and stressed, and anxious, but mostly happy. He’s the light in my very dark days. He’s the first thing I wanted to see after my father passed away in June. First thing I wanted to do was just run, and so I ran away on him. He’s been there through thick and thin with me, through my awkward years, terrible haircuts, me grumbling into his mane about how much people suck, me crying into his neck when horses die, people die, friends leave…and he’s stuck around with me through everything, so he’s pretty worth sticking around for.
So thank you, abscesses, for teaching me to appreciate my horse more.