So, let’s recap.
Tristan comes in lame with a blown up RF. Yes, the problem foot.
Vet diagnoses abscess, and we go into full-blown neurotic mode: wrapping and poulticing for a week, with SMZs for that week. Wrapped constantly after that. X-rays are taken and minutely examined.
Two weeks later, it still doesn’t seem quite right, and he is just not using that leg as he ought.
Two days after that, the vet comes out and he longes perfectly sound. Vet says keep on keeping on.
One week after that, he gets his feet trimmed all around, and the farrier is iffy about the foot. He thinks the abscess goes deeper, and it’s not done yet. He takes out more foot to try and chase down the poor hoof quality channel, and then fills the hole with putty.
Five days after that, aka yesterday, I went out to the barn and had a come to Jesus moment with myself.
When Tristan first came in lame again, and it was an abscess again, I was not in a good place. I was by turns terrified, depressed, and foolhardy. I couldn’t settle on a way forward, so I bounced between options. I felt nauseated and anxious whenever I thought about it, imagining a repeat of that terrible 9 months that ended in surgery. I couldn’t believe this might be starting all over again.
Uncharacteristically for me, I backed off. I followed the vet’s instructions to the letter, but did not go above and beyond. I immersed myself in other things – work, the new house, training the dog.
In a way, I let Tristan down. I don’t mean to say that he wasn’t meticulously cared for. This is hands-down the best barn I’ve ever been at for noticing things and maintaining horse care. They are truly extraordinary, and I’m grateful for that every day. I haven’t worried even for a moment that they would not be on top of things. Trust me, I realize how lucky I am to feel that way!
But I didn’t do anything extra for him, either. I would go and pet him on the nose, re-wrap his foot, and bug out. When his shipment of new vetwrap got waylaid and delivered to the barn owner’s house instead of the barn, I sort of shrugged and trusted that it would arrive eventually. It did, but in the meantime I got dangerously low on wrapping supplies and honestly almost ran out.
I hosed off his hind legs when he spent a few days sleeping in his own pee, but not until weeks later. I just hosed them off, I didn’t scrub them down to help the skin out like I should’ve.
I didn’t really groom him, other than a cursory brushing and one or two sessions with a shedding blade.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I cleaned my tack, which is a good way to fill downtime. It’s been at least 9 months. Maybe more. (I’m sorry to all of you who just cringed!)
I didn’t really hang around the barn, either. I was completely surprised when the horses arrived back from Florida, because I hadn’t been chatting to people daily. I was surprised when the grain room relocated to its new (better, more organized) location. things have been passing me by.
As you can see, I haven’t been as on top of blogging as I’d like to be.
So yesterday, I tried to get my head back in the game. I gave myself permission to move on with a minimum of self-loathing.
I groomed Tris thoroughly, until he shone, and instead of a quick re-wrapping I carefully picked out any tiny bits of shavings with my fingernails, tested the white line and the sole, examined everything. I used my hands on him in addition to the grooming tools, feeling his body for any new bumps or irregularities – you know, the basics. I used to always follow the brush with a hand to constantly update my mental reference points on his body, so I would know what’s new.
Then I put his halter on, and we walked and walked around the fields. I figured the grass would be less abrasive on his duct tape bootie, and that I really needed the exercise too. He dove for grass for the first few minutes, but then he was clearly so happy to be out and about. It was quiet and peaceful and sunny and it felt good – if pathetic – to feel the burn of hiking up the long gallop hill. Tris licked and chewed, and dropped his head to stretch out over his back as we went up.
It was only about a 20 minute walk, but it was good for both of us.
The vet will be at the barn for other horses tomorrow, and she’ll jog him out so we can continue to keep an eagle eye.
In the meantime, I’ll keep with the handwalking, I guess. Keep on keeping on.