January 8, 2015

Frig, Frig, Friggity-Frig-Frig!

I really wanted to type a different F-word in the title. Really. BADLY.

When I started blogging I only talked about the good stuff. Mostly because as I felt insecure about mentioning the bad stuff, in case anyone would judge me. Then, I don't know, something changed over the years. You guys became a wonderful community of support. So I got real about it, and started posting about the good and the bad.

This is the bad, sucky side of horse ownership.

Last night I went out to feed the boys, I saw Hugo by the barn and I heard Gentry call to me from around the back side of the barn. That was weird. I walked around to investigate and found him up on a retaining wall next to the metal drop roof of the barn which is only a few feet off the ground. The drop roof (I have no idea if this is what it is called) keeps the snow from piling up against the barn wall after it slides off the main roof. He got in there by climbing over a shrub we think...based on the blood trail.

Gentry was standing there with a hunk of flesh hanging off of his cannon bone. My heart sank. I didn't need a flashlight to know it was bad. I immediately started thinking that he would be lame for the rest of his life now. All my hopes and plans for him ruined. He would be at best a trail horse and possibly just a pasture puff. I stopped my mental downward spiral and shoved all the worst case scenario thoughts to the back burner. I had to get him off that wall first.

I managed to get him down, by having him jump down the retaining wall like a bank jump where one fence rail had broken and was missing. He might have gotten up there that way and then just cut his leg messing about too. We are not entirely sure. He effortlessly jumped down it, onto ice, amazingly sure footed on three legs. I had a brief sad thought that it might be the last bank jump he would ever jump.

Once I got him off the wall I threw Gentry and Hugo their hay in one pile so that Gentry could stand still in one spot, and I went to get my flashlight so that I could thoroughly assess the damage. While obtaining my flashlight, I informed Hubs, who was playing with Junior after having just returned from a four day cross country ski trip in Yellowstone, of what was going on. Also, that we would likely need to jimmy rig a stall that night. Sure enough it looked bad. I thought it was cut to the bone. Regardless though, I knew it meant a lot of stitches and likely stall rest. Then I called my vet.

Cut on the front of his cannon bone.

About 15-20 minutes later my vet and a visiting vet surgeon (they were just about to go to dinner when I called) arrived at the farm. My vet informed me that yes it needed stitches and stall rest, but actually the prognosis is good. Aside from some exterior scarring and scar tissue on one of the tendons, he should be just fine. It did seem like had just cut himself up, so the tip of flesh that usually dies in these types of injuries, might actually live. I won't get my hopes up too much about that though. Usually the tip dies due to lack of circulation.

Cannon bone cut all stitched up. 10 Stitches and 2 drain holes.

Cannon bone bandage.

Honestly, I am amazed by the prognosis. This is by far the worst injury a horse of mine has ever had. In the long run though, three weeks of stall rest isn't bad, and so far Gentry put up with one night like a trooper. He has Hugo in the paddock for company, although he seems understandably confused as to why he is trapped in the stall. Luckily I still have all of Rose's stall toys in storage, so I plan on breaking those out today and giving him something to play with.

The next morning, a very tolerant Gentry in his makeshift run-in shed stall.

I am still really upset about the fact that this injury happened, especially because it was preventable. I had thought this could happen but let it go because everyone is always telling me I am overly concerned and worry too much about these things. As a result, because of winter arriving the opening to the retaining wall, where the shrub is, just never got fenced off. So, I am upset with myself. No one else. I should have listened to my gut, and insisted that it get fenced off, regardless of what others thought about it or my neurosis. Point being, I would rather people think I'm a neurotic safety nut than have my horse's leg slashed open ever again.

I cannot tell you how fast that retaining wall got fenced off last night...with a lot of cooperation...from everyone.
Happy trails and swooshing tails!


  1. On the bright side, how nice to have the power to go solve the problem (fence off the area) instead of just wondering when it will happen again (as at some boarding facilities).

    Well, it sure looks nasty, but I had a mare with an extremely similar injury. In fact, she did it twice. Hers was a front leg though. If she'd only done it once she would have healed with hardly a mark to show for it but she had to do it again and they weren't able to stitch so well that time. Anyway, long story short, she was 100% sound and we showed successfully for years. Sending healing thoughts!

    1. You make a good point Story. I am glad that fixing the problem was at least fully within my control. It's better than having to go through all this and then move barns as well.

  2. oh no!! poor Gentry, you must have been worried sick! sorry that you're kicking yourself for not fencing off that particular area... tho it seems like horses will always find a way... glad the prognosis isn't bad and that the vet is optimistic about it. hope he heals up quickly!!

  3. Oh no! That's horrible. I totally know what you mean regarding thinking the worst. That's always my first thought too. I'm glad his prognosis is good!

  4. Eee that looks nasty! So glad to hear the prognosis is good, and Mr. G is being a model citizen so far.

  5. ugh horses. They really can get into any possible trouble that might occur. Sending healing jingles!

  6. My mare had a very similar injury....but there was a gash with a large portion of completely skinned flesh...the gash part could go with or without stitches so I chose not too and I kept it wrapped and it was good as new within a few weeks! Horse wounds look so much nastier than they usually are....I'm sure he's going to be just fine!!!

    At least you knew what caused it and could stop it...we had three horses come in with a huge gash in their neck all in the same week....the vet said it was scary close to their carotid artery...but they were in a 15 acre pasture and no one could ever find where they were doing it!

    1. Thanks for sharing Marissa. It is good to know that this sort of injury heals up well. It does look nasty when it happens though! That is so odd about the other horses with the neck gashes. How frustrating to never have known what caused it.

  7. I'm so glad the prognosis was good. :) Don't be too hard on yourself!

  8. Horses have a talent for hurting themselves for sure. Don't beat yourself up too much (I know, easier sak then done). Sending good, healing thoughts your way.

  9. Oh no! I am so, so sorry to hear this... But very grateful the prognosis isn't worse!!

  10. OH MY GOD. He certainly got himself good, didn't he?!

    *hugs* Know that I'm thinking of you and I'm sure he will be okay :)



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