An excellent post from Soft and Sound on what it means for a horse to trust, and what it takes to get a horse to put trust in your leadership.
* * * * * *
Red gets to see the vet . . . again . . . next week for a diagnostic ultrasound. Although he seemed to be OK after our almost-fall about two weeks ago, about three days after that he developed a mysterious swelling on the outside of his left hind leg. His outside left hind is where he had splint bone surgery, and the leg, although fully healed, does have some lumps and bumps. But this was a soft, puffy swelling, and the location was a bit problematic in my view - in the area between the lateral suspensory ligament and the flexor tendon. The swelling is clearly defined, not that large and about two inches above the top of the fetlock joint. It could be a result of the almost-fall, or somewhat that was exacerbated if he ran in turnout. On the lunge, he's only slightly off on that leg - barely detectable - and he doesn't seem sensitive to palpation. On a straight line at the trot, he appears sound.
Here's a picture - we're looking obliquely at his left hind - front of the leg is to the left. The white line is where the hair grew in white over his surgical scar.
Horses with ligament and tendon injuries can sometimes present with minimal swelling or lameness, or after a fairly brief period of rest, no swelling or lameness, even if the tendon or ligament isn't fully healed. This can result in a cycle of injury/soundness/back to work/reinjury/etc./etc., ultimately compromising the structure of the ligament or tendon to the point that soundness is impossible to retain when the horse is in work. Maisie and I went through that a number of years ago - I was less experienced at the time and also got poor advice from the vet and trainer I was with at the time. I don't know if ultrasounds were available at the time - more than 10 years ago - but no one suggested one. After repeated reinjuries, she was retired in her mid-teens - she's pasture sound but can't be in work - and is happily enjoying her retirement.
It's possible, due to the location of the swelling, that Red simply tore an adhesion from his surgery. But the ultrasound will give us a more definitive answer on Friday. Keeping fingers crossed . . .