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Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Routine Emerges and Beamer Gets Hurt

So where were we? We had just learned to get Beamer into the trailer easily and consistently. Life was settling into a bit of a routine albeit and difficult routine. The barn we were boarding at was only about 10 minutes away but it was proving to be extremely difficult to get The Instigator over to work with her horse on a consistent basis. Try as we might, it always seemed that two nights a week was all we could do. At the time, we did not recognize that the universe was conspiring against us.

One night I was getting ready to take Tira-Toes to gymnastics when my phone rang. The Instigator was on the other end and there were tears and fear in her voice. Beamer had tripped and his knee was bloody. Rats. I was able to make arrangements with another parent to take Tira-Toes off to gymnastics and off I went to the barn.

I found the instigator standing with the barn manager and they had rinsed Beamer's knee with an iodine and water mixture. I asked what happened. The Instigator had taken B for a walk. At the end of the road was a bridge over a large irrigation ditch. We had been over this bridge several times so it was not unknown to the horse. But, being an Arabian, this day he spooked as he got to the far side of the bridge. Being a klutzy Arabian, he tripped when he spooked and went down on his front knees. God has a special place in His heart for new horse owners and He likes to make sure we know exactly what we have gotten ourselves into early on so B's knee landed on a sharp rock and cut it open fairly bad. Here is a low quality picture from my cell phone.

So we load him into the trailer with a little fuss and its time to head for the vet. A vet. Slight stumbling block here. We don't have a vet yet. The vet we used for the vet check was to far away to become our regular vet so we ask the other owners around the barn who they use. Golden Animal Hospital emerged as the leader. They were close by so off we went. Timing in these kinds of accidents is everything and our timing was, as to be expected, bad. We called the vet to let them know we were coming but since it was our first time to go there, we didn't know exactly where they were and that lead to a couple of wrong turns. We did get there but after 6:00pm which kicked us from normal hours to emergency after hour care. We were not about to let the knee go until the next day so in we go.

The vet looked at the knee and didn't think it looked to bad. She started to wash it. She took a large syringe and filled it with a water based cleaning solution and squirted it into the open wound. B didn't like that much but stood patiently. The vet sat back on her feet and said, "Hmm." I knew something was amiss instantly. I said, "What?" She was concerned that a lot of the water she injected into the wound did not seem to come back out. She was afraid that the wound was deep enough to have punctured the knee capsule and was concerned that an infection in the actual knee joint was possible. Know, given the little I knew about horses then, I still knew that was bad. The vet gets an IV bag of penicillin. She places one needle in one side of the knee and places another needled in the other side to which she hooked up the bag of antibiotics. The idea is that we would flush the antibiotic through the knee capsule to clean it out. We spent three hours squeezing that large bag and only managed to work about a quarter of it through the joint. My arms hurt for three days after that!

The vet decides that we have done enough so its time to stitch the wound closed. First, she gives B a sedative. He snores when he sleeps. Then she set to work and stitched the knee up. While the sedative wore off she taught us how to properly bandage the knee. We would need to keep in bandaged for about 2 weeks before the stitches came out and then a couple of weeks of stall rest to make sure the knee healed properly. The vet finally sends us home with a little stock of bandaging supplies and a rather large bottle of antibiotics. 18 tablets a day for the next ten days is a lot of pills. Mixed with a bit of applesauce was the only way we could get him to take them.

We had a great time with the bandaging largely because the horse hated it. He stood quietly while we did the bandage and that made it easier. But we had to apply the bandage very tightly to minimize knee movement. So when we let him go he had to try and figure out why his knee would not bend the way it was supposed to. Very amusing. Well that was our first experience with the vet. And our tally at the end of this little adventure is thus:

Okay, so the tally stand thus:
Daughter: $900.00 for horse

Dad: $100 dollars for horse
$950 for trailer
$550 for receiver and hitch.
$300 first months boarding
$450 for saddle, breast collar and cinch
$120 for saddle pad
$200 for headstall, reigns and grooming supplies
$75 for miscellaneous sundries such as muck rake and bucket and the like.
$200 for trailer training
$1200 for four months board.
$50 for grain (Grain! Are you kidding me! Why do hay burners need grain! Next up - nutrition)
$1800 for about 6 months more of board.
$50 for 6 months of grain (we figured out a reasonable ration)
$1250 for knee care

I am pleased to report that B's knee healed fine. There is not even a scar. He did not develope any infections and there have been no lingering issues. Except he is still a klutz.

Last summer, The Instigator gave B a bath. She spent and hour washing and drying and brushing. He looked pretty darn good. She took him back to the pasture and let him go. He went into this beautiful extend trot that only Arabians can do. Head high, chin down and tail almost straight up. With a freshly cleaned main and tail he look good. Really good. And then he tripped and fell down. He rolled over and popped right back up with a look on his face that seemed to say, "That was planned. I'm fine! Nothing to see here!" The look on my face said, "Damn! Time to call the farrier for a trim."

And one more thing to note at this point. I am starting to learn something about myself. I am discovering that I like horses. I have learned that they each have a unique personality. I have learned that I like riding a horse that is not part of tourist trail riding string. Who knew.

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