March 2, 2013
so my horse may or may not have a serious injury to one of her front legs. a few nights ago our barn owner called to tell me that cookie's knee was swollen, but she had already cold hosed it (the equine equivalent of icing it) and there wasn't really any reason for me to come down. I went down friday morning and hand-walked her around the arena, because (depending on the cause) the movement can help the swelling. then I cold hosed again and I felt okay about it and left her. later in the day our barn manager called and said he'd taken a look and he thought that it was definitely some sort of blunt force trauma and that she probably banged her knee on the stall wall, which would have made sense because she was just moved from a stall with an open panel front to one with a solid wall front.
friday night I came back and was going to take her through the whole litany of 'things you do when your horse is mysteriously busted.' I poked and prodded her knee to see if any of that pressure hurt her (no), but halfway through that process I discovered a mysterious lump on the back of her leg, just behind the knee. bigger than a pea, smaller than a marble, and cystic to the touch -- not bone hard but not squishy like swollen tissue. somewhere in the middle. I quietly freaked out and showed the barn manager and his wife, and we all pretty much scratched our heads. he thought maybe it was an old ligament injury that had healed. pressing on it doesn't seem to faze her at all. but I have no recollection of any time before I bought her when she was unsound at all, ever. so I just don't know.
in the course of the last week, cookie has had her teeth floated, has moved to a new stall, has had her feet drastically trimmed, and then has been ridden on her drastically trimmed feet. any or all of these things could be the cause of the knee and/or the mystery lump. the knee and lump may or may not be related.
my horse has been sound the entire time I've owned her, and, I think, her whole life. so this whole 'treating an injury' thing is new to me -- which is kind of hilarious since I have been so chronically injured myself.
last night I cold hosed it again, walked her a lap or two around the barn, then hung out with her. I was waiting for the barn manager to feed so I could give her some bute, a horsey NSAID. but you don't give it on an empty stomach. all told I was there for nearly 3 hours. I think the poor girl was like 'why are you still here, standing in my stall?!!?!?'
best case scenario is that she just banged the knee and it will be fine (honestly I can't even tell if it's even swollen anymore; at any rate the swelling was never very bad), and the lump was something that somehow I never noticed. worse case scenario is that the lump is an indication of a tendon or ligament injury, to her check ligament or suspensory or deep digital tendon, the connective tissues that run down the back of the leg and tie all those fragile bones together. tendon and ligament injuries can take a year to heal.
it will be what it will be. I'm concerned about her, and super bummed because I had just started riding regularly again, but if it turns out she busted a ligament then I guess I'll just get really good at wrapping legs and we'll have to find some fun things for her to do in her stall for the next few months.
through all of this it occurred to me that there is probably no clearer indicator of just how bad things got for me than the fact that I was considering selling that horse. the idea that I was so desperate and terrified and sad is now sort of incredible to me. yesterday night I had my arm around her neck and I thought, I can't believe I ever considered selling you, and that was when I realized just the full extent of how badly and how long I have been depressed. today I was mucking stalls and thinking about what I was going to do about all this and I realized that I was concerned and bummed but that also, it was okay. and I realized that I think I've felt bad for much, much longer than I was actively aware of. because it has been ... longer than I can remember when I felt like I had a full handle on my life. or that I accepted that I didn't have a full handle on my life but anyhow it was fine.
modern medicine, I am grateful for you.
I mean, I thought about selling that horse. now when I contemplate how the eff I'm going to pay the vet bill (particularly if they bring the ultrasound machine out), I wonder where else I'm going to NOT spend money and think, well, I guess I will just be hungry for awhile. I did want to get back down to race weight.
in the meantime, send us good thoughts. how pathetic if both of us are busted!