Sunday, March 25, 2007

Mira's Scary Pasture

Ok, here goes, the story of Mira's "Big Adventure." I got Mira's pasture all ready for her on Friday afternoon, and took her down there and turned her loose. I sat on a stool and had fun watching her run around and graze. She LOVED it - normally in a new pen she will explore the boundaries first, but here she started eating right away! I got some good pictures of her and of the pretty day, and then read the book I brought with me. She was rather agitated when I tried to leave to go up to the house, so I ended up staying there for the next couple hours and then took her back to her normal pen.

After our ride the next morning we went down to the pasture and I turned her loose in it again. I hung around for a while, but then I had to go up to the house to do some stuff. (The house is maybe 100 feet away, max.) She started running around in circles and whinnying like horses do when they feel insecure in a new place. I got her a bucket of her regular feed, which she likes even more than grass, and she started eating it, so I came on up. She immediately started running around again!

Bottom line, after 20+ minutes I wasn't getting anything done because she would not calm down and it was worrying me. She never challenged the electric fence or anything, but she just would NOT settle down. I decided it had been long enough and if she hadn't settled down by now, I wasn't going to be able to try to "ignore her 'till she gives up." Besides, I don't believe in ignoring someone who really is scared. So I went down to get her... Somehow, in the intervening time she had knocked over her plastic water bucket and in the process had bruised her left rear leg. Either that, or she jumped over a pile of branches and bruised it that way.

Here is the bruise:

I spent quite a while hosing off her legs and examining her very, very carefully. Nothing's broken that I can tell, (thank God!) the bruise is hardly even swollen, but it doesn't exactly look nice either. No swelling or heat in any tendon/joint area, but she might be a little warm in the area of the bruise - not sure though. I keep checking for warmth, and palpating her legs, but so far she doesn't react except right on the bruise... She might have a little bruise on her right leg, but it does not seem to be bothering her. She is definitely favoring both her hind legs, which I can understand as she ran around for a while AFTER she gave herself that knock.

Once the initial tenderness is gone I will do some handwalking to help her keep that circulation going. She puts full weight on all her feet, but she walks slowly and carefully. I have been watching her from the house (she's in her regular pen now) and she seems to be following her usual movement/resting patterns, which is good. She's just slower. I can deal with not riding for a while, even for several weeks if necessary, but I am frustrated because I have been working at slowly and carefully conditioning her for the last 4 months. I just hope this won't be too much of a set-back for her. I'll keep hosing/icing her back legs several times a day for a week or so... Now, if I could just stop feeling guilty - I know I'm overreacting, but... ;-)

1. Right rear leg 2. Left rear leg 3. Bruised left leg, side view.

So, to me it looks like she a. Bruised her leg, possibly slightly bruising the bone, and b. Is stiff and sore from running around whinnying like a goofy 2-year-old.

I can tell she's enjoying having her usual 4 feedings split into 8 today, and though she doesn't really like getting hosed off, she doesn't mind too much. She actually almost trotted the last time I went out there, I could see her thinking about it and then she walked instead, but she does seem to be feeling better.

The one thing I never really expected about horse ownership was the constant worrying, but from all the reading of horse books and blogs and articles that I've done, and the owners I know, I should have realized that if you get a horse, you are "dooming" yourself to a life of intense joy and intense anxiety!

Anyway, the lesson learned: Don't bother to try rotational grazing if you cannot turn out 2 or more horses, together!

Any tips/links from you more experienced horsepeople on keeping her comfortable and healing quickly would be welcome.

Next time: 3rd management-intensive grazing article, with info about fencing and how to figure out the number of paddocks you need for a good rotation schedule. Also, how rotational grazing can help you get rid of almost all parasites.



Lori Schmidt (LoriProPhoto) said...

Hi L

Thanks for visiting my blog, all new visitors and very welcome.

Sorry to hear about the bruise on Mira's leg, it sounds like what you are doing is the best thing for her, hosing the legs is a must with any injury on the legs. The only other thing that you can do is keep her in her stall until it has healed. I know that is hard but it is the only way, excessive movement will only agitate it. I had an 18 month old colt with a bad cut on his front pastern fetlock joint (He got his legs over the top of the roundpen and his front leg slipped down in between two of the panels and I found him hanging from his front leg upside down). The vet wanted to put him down but I refused. Anyway to cut a long story short it took over four months for his leg to heal with me soaking and dressing it every day right through winter. He stayed in his stable that whole time to keep him quiet. What I did was make things for him to play with because he is a really playful colt. One of those balls with the handle that they sell (Jolly Ball), four plastic coke bottles tied together which he used to jump on, bite, flatten, rub up an down the wire of his stall to make a big noise, and if you check back a few days on my blog you will see him with a feed sack that he had a big game with. Anything to relieve the boredom but to limit movement.

My horses are the same if there is only one out, een while I am bringing them in and out, the first out and last in get very agitated. They are herd animals and always pair off. You will also find if there are three out together, one will be the outcast and they will chase him/her.

Okay now that I have posted a dissertation LOL, thanks again and I hope Mira's leg is much better now. I will check back from time to time to see how you are doing.


L said...

Thank you for your comments and advice, Lori! I will be posting an update on her leg soon, so stay tuned...

I did see that picture of your stud colt, he's really gorgeous, and looks very playful! :-)