Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A little progress with straightness; The wound saga continues

Between the heat wave and the self-mutilation, Tucker had a full week off last week.  He didn't seem much worse off though, he felt happy to be back to work.  Unfortunately, all the progress we made toward getting him straighter in the week before seemed to have vanished.  I had a pretty solid flat session with him on Saturday, and we had a flat lesson on Sunday.  I still want to hold off on jumping him until the swelling is gone in his leg and I know it's in the clear.

On Saturday all I really worked on was getting him to go forward, which was a challenge in and of itself.  It took the entire first half of the ride to get something above a Western jog.  The trot was fairly abismal, so I decided to canter first and then come back to my trot work.  After the canter something seemed to unkink itself, and then I got a nice freely-moving forward balanced trot.  He still resisted the contact on the right rein so I never really got him straight, because when he grabs the left rein, his hips swing to the right, and if I straighten his hips but don't get him accepting the right rein, he'll just pop his right shoulder out.  But, I figured forward and straight-er was better than how we started so I quit on a good note.

In my lesson on Sunday after struggling to get him to accept the right rein for a while Alicia had me flip both reins to the right side of his neck.  So, I still had one rein in each hand, but my left rein was basically useless, since it was on the right side of his neck.  The point was to give him no choice but to accept the right rein because that's all I had, and prevent me from riding entirely off my left rein.  This meant I had to use a ton of left leg to keep him straight.  After doing this exercise, I realized that in general, I need to ride him with a lot more left leg.

Tucker, of course, didn't understand the objective of the exercise and swung his head completely out to the right, so he was trotting around staring at the wall.  Hmmm.  Talented little horse I have there.  Just as I was starting to think to myself that this was completely pointless, though, he actually started accepting the right rein a little.  Apparently trotting around with your neck at a 90 degree angle from your body becomes uncomfortable after several minutes or so?  He still wasn't completely straight, but at least he contemplated the idea that I could push him with my left leg into my right hand.  I have a feeling we'll need to do that exercise a few times to actually accomplish its purpose, but it was helpful.

As for the wound care department, I was trying for the first two days to keep it open, on the theory that it would form a scab best that way, and the Alushield would serve as an antimicrobial layer.  Unfortunately I think it is a little too deep to start healing that quickly, so I've decided to keep it wrapped for a few days until it starts to form a scab.  I consulted with a few friends whose horses have had similar injuries and the consensus is that's what the vets usually say.  So, for turnout I did a gauze pad with vet wrap (not too tight, because I was worried about putting pressure on his tendon, but snug enough that it wouldn't slide down).  For tonight, since he's staying in due to thunderstorms, I did the same thing under a standing wrap.

Yesterday and today, instead of just scrubbing with betadine/novalsan, I flushed it out really well with hydrogen peroxide in a syringe, which I think really helped to clean it out.  Under his wrap, I switched to a more heavy duty topical treatment, Equaide, which prevents proud flesh, is a heavy duty antibiotic, and generally helps with healing.  I don't know if it's actually developing proud flesh, but the fact that there's no scab forming after four days and it's a fairly deep cut makes me want to take all precautions.  He's also been on SMZs and will continue that for another 4 days.

I stopped at CVS tonight and got non-stick gauze pads, because I noticed when I took his wrap off tonight that, although the wound was very clean, it was really stuck to the gauze.  That certainly won't help with scab formation.  I also got some saline solution to keep flushing the wound.  I remember the vet telling me something when Lilly had her last absess about hydrogen peroxide, that it's good in the beginning, but after that can dry out and kill healthy skin cells trying to heal. 

I took pictures, but they really aren't coming out well enough to show you guys any meaningful detail.  What I can say though is that there was a white to yellowish discharge on Saturday after being left open, but only blood tonight after being kept under the wrap.  I think that's good.  There was also white fleshy-type material forming in the center of the wound, which easily came off when I gently scrubbed on Sunday, no such stuff tonight.  Those two things are making me think that the wrapping and the Equaide are helping.  I don't plan to wrap indefinitely because I think that would create its own set of issues, but at least until there is a scab forming and the swelling comes down.  The good news on the swelling front is that even without icing or work today, it was only swollen around the perimeter of the wound, rather than from knee to pastern, as it had been on Thursday through Sunday.

The saga continues, but all seems to be moving in the right direction....


  1. Your the best mum ever!!!!!

  2. My old TB put a hole in his cheek the size of a quarter and about 1 inch deep. For what it is worth I kept it clean with soap and water only and filled it up every night with neosporin. It was really scary looking but it healed up without a scar! I am now hooked on neosporin.

    I hate those games of straighten the pony when they just start bulging somewhere else when you correct one area. It is like a stuffed animal where all the stuffing comes out! Really hard to have impulsion when you have no stuffing.
    At least you have Alicia to help. That was a neat idea to flip the reins like that.


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