Friday, May 30, 2008

V is for vetting out

This is Russell and me less than three weeks ago, getting ready to enter the arena and win Third Level Test 2.

This is Russell less than two weeks ago, enjoying some pasture time.

This is Russell now, wondering why he's shut in his stall on "all hay all day" when there's fresh, yummy grass is growing just outside (see the pout?).

Today we were supposed to be competing at Third Level again. Instead, a letter from my husband is on its way to the show secretary explaining that Russell had to be pulled from the show due to a torn high suspensory ligament in his left hind leg (although with no waiting list, there will be no refund). Don't ask me how he did it, or when, because I can't tell you. I did notice he took a funny step with that foot on Tuesday, so I watched him closely. He kept cocking his left hind foot whenever he stood still for a moment. My gut told me something was wrong. I went ahead and hauled him for a lesson with my wonderful instructor on Wednesday (she has the best "eye" I've ever seen, so if nothing else I figured she could help me figure out what was going on), but it was obvious when I started warming him up that he was lame. Neither of us could find any heat or swelling, but it was clear I would need to scratch the show. I called Rick, not knowing if he would be able to examine Russell that night before flying out early Thursday morning for a conference. Gem that he is, Rick stayed up late to do a thorough lameness exam (flexion test, ultrasound, nerve blocking) and then treat Russell with extracorporeal shock wave therapy.

Russell could have injured himself Monday when Rick turned the other horses out first (they go in a separate pasture). We heard a mighty BAM from the barn, and knew that Russell had expressed his displeasure about being the last one turned out by kicking the wall. Later Rick found a big chunk of wood missing from the tongue-and-groove. So how am I going to keep my opinionated horse from further injuring himself (or the barn) now that he can't go out at ALL for awhile? Keeping the other two horses in is not an option with hay prices being what they are and at least a month's good grazing available in our pastures. Then there's Cowboy Campmeeting coming up the first week of July; he won't be up to that. Oh Russell, Russell; why ARE you so accident-prone?

That's it for now at . . .


Kara said...


Russell is so beautiful! You two make such a pretty picture. I hope he is alright. I know how heartbreaking lameness issues can be, with any horse but especially with a horse you have worked so hard with. You are fortunate to have a vet in the house!

Karen B. said...

Hope Russell heals quickly, Michelle. How lucky you've got a vet in the house to get him on the road to recovery.

Kathy said...

It's good that Russell has a good mom like you who will take care of him. There are so many others who wouldn't have pulled him, wanting to get ribbons instead of caring for their teammate. Way to go, Michelle! And pat Russell for me, will you?