Friday, April 18, 2014

Red is Home . . . and Loading Trouble

I had a long and very stressful day, but at least things finally ended well.  I got to the vet hospital at about 12:45 - 15 minutes before my scheduled discharge appointment at 1:00, in order to get hitched up - I'd left my trailer at the clinic.  And . . . there was an SUV and trailer parked directly in front of my trailer.  Not only that, but the owner of said SUV and trailer had gone out to lunch . . . a long lunch . . .  An hour later, the trailer owner pulled in with a friend in her car, and jumped out, very apologetic.  In fact, she'd been told it was OK to park there by a clinic worker (who had already confessed same to me).  They were very nice and even helped me hitch up and we discussed our various horse ailments.

Then I sat around and waited some more . . . perhaps another hour.  Meds and vet supplies showed up, with printed discharge instructions - I had a bunch of questions and was pretty anxious about everything.  I'd popped in to visit Red a couple of times, and he got very excited when he saw and smelled the trailer - I think he was having visions of Pie and called a bunch of times.

Red will be on complete stall rest for 10 days, then stall rest plus hand walking for another 10 days, and then 10 days in a pen for turnout.  SMZs 2x a day, bute once for a few days and Previcox once a day starting tomorrow.  The clinic will send someone out to rebandage his leg on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Finally the surgery tech came out to talk to me.  They do not want the farrier handling his leg for 2-3 weeks - and he's scheduled for a trim next Friday.  My farrier is a bit of a prima donna, although very good, and comes every 6 weeks on his schedule, not mine - he does 3 other horses at our barn besides my 3 - I'm going to have to beg him to make a special visit 3 weeks from now for Red - hope he'll cooperate.  Also, they want me to have him on Previcox for 14 days - I'm very anti-Previcox (it's in the same family as the previous human wonder drugs Vioxx and Celebrex) and think it's way overused by vets today and should be only used for short periods to avoid potential side effects.  They say there's no good alternative, so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.

Red was lightly sedated and the surgical tech rewrapped his leg with a bandage.  The incision is looking good so far and the swelling is modest.

Then I tried to load him in the trailer - you'd have thought he'd want to get out of there.  No way . . .  45 minutes later he was still refusing to get on the trailer.  I wasn't willing to resort to force, because all of the work we'd done on building trust would have been in vain.  I should have been thinking - if something isn't working, don't just keep repeating what doesn't work but instead try something else . . .

I was completely at my wits' end - the fact he was slightly sedated made him not care too much about our usual go-forward cue.  Finally I put him back in his stall and sat down on a rock wall and burst into tears - I bawled for a while until some of the tension was released.  I didn't know what to do, but didn't want to resort to force and wanted to load him myself.  I was also very worried that all the churning around would hurt his leg - he was doing a lot of kicking out to say that his leg hurt, although the bandage seemed to be staying in place.

I'm sure the vet clinic personnel have seen as bad or worse in terms of horse and human behavior, but I was terribly embarrassed.  Finally I managed to collect my wits and asked if there was a dressage whip around - my tapping with the end of the lead was getting us no where, but tapping with the whip might be enough more of a cue to get his attention, and it was - a few minutes later he was on the trailer.

The surgeon and surgical tech came out and inspected his bandage and said it looked OK, so off we went home.  Red was very glad to see Pie, and Pie even seemed glad to see him, and he seemed to be comfortable with being home.

Don't know if it was the day I was supposed to have, but I'd sure prefer not to repeat it.


  1. Oh - bless your heart Kate.

    You probably really needed a good cry after the last couple of weeks - lots of stress inducing situations.

    Glad you've got Red home again. Hoping his healing time (incarceration) is peaceful and calm... for both of you. (((hugs)))

  2. So sorry to hear about your day, but so glad Red is back home and your boys are both happy. Many, many times I have just sat down somewhere and cried out of frustration. Sometimes there's not much else you can do. Hope you're feeling better, and hope Red heals up quickly.

  3. Nothing like a good cry to sort things out. Hope Red heals well and you can put this all behind you soon.

  4. It does sound like you had a very stressful day but at least it did end well.

  5. We are so hard on ourselves. Red's surgery is understandably unsettling. Hope you get a good nights rest, and have a better day tomorrow. Red knows you are trying to help him, he might not like everything - but he knows.

  6. Big hugs to you and to Red. And you know, I think that sticking to your guns about loading the way you wanted to load and then stopping to take a break to cry shows your integrity and compassion for your horse - and it worked. Here's to Red's quick and complete recovery and to you getting back to your 3 horses a day riding and spring! Take good care.

  7. The good are both home. I hope all goes well from here on in.

  8. Crying outbursts help so much I think. What stress you both were under and it is completely understandable to just melt down. Crying doesn't hurt others and it allows you to reboot and reassess and calm the tension. Now Red is home and happy and will heal! Happy thoughts to you both!

  9. I sat down and bawled on an overturned water bucket at the farm once when I had finally been pushed to my breaking point by various things. They were tears of frustration and from feeling overwhelmed and it was therapeutic to get them out. I hate it when I cry and also when people see my cry but in the end I'm only human, just like everyone else. I wish I had been there to help you, sometimes someone who doesn't talk much but just knows how to help can be a blessing.

    I hope the stall rest time goes by quickly and as easily as reasonably possible. This too shall pass.

  10. It does sound like a stressful day but it ended well. Now that he's home I'm sure he will settle in and be happy to see all his friends and you again. Hope he heals quickly and the farrier adjusts his schedule for you.

    Dusty goes on Previcox occasionally when she needs it. I haven't seen any adverse effects at all. So I wouldn't worry about that too much since he will only be on it for a short time.

  11. I'm glad it worked out. Sometimes you have to release the stress and start over. I think you did the right thing.

  12. You did right by Red in the end, and that's all that matters. I think most of us have "been there" with a crying jag regarding our horses, so no need to be embarrassed.

    Wishing Red a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.


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