It’s Thursday, that day where I often post a Joey training session recap. Unfortunately today Joey is out on the injured list and today’s post will be be an Calamity Joey recap, instead.
There are many reasons I love having my horses at home, one of which is that when they come limping dead lame up their sloped paddock on a sunny afternoon, I can see it from my living room window and immediately rush out to help. I thought I saw Joey take a few off steps as he walked up from the shady bottom to his shed at the top of the paddock yesterday afternoon, but I wasn’t sure, and I went right out to see. When he saw me coming he just looked at me, interested but un-moving, so I knew something wasn’t right. He also had his left hind hoof cocked, but he often does that.
Well this time it was cocked for good reason! Like perhaps the rusty nail protruding from his heel bulb. My heart just dropped. Our property is an old one, like Indian artifacts old, and random junk and rusty hunks of metal do appear from the ground as time goes on and we rotate animals and rearrange and use the land differently. Still of all the things to show up in an otherwise spotless paddock with no climb fencing, capped t posts, and hot wire..a rusty nail in my one hind shy/hoof-shy horse’s hind hoof. BLARGH.
I haltered and tied Joey up so he wouldn’t walk anywhere else with the nail sticking out, rounded up my blessedly cool headed husband, and away we went. Joey has gotten to where you can handle and lift his left hind, and mercifully the nail was in that hoof and not his Precious right hind (see Blanket Incident for that tale of woe). But still. I do believe Joey knows we are trying to help him, you just have to be very quiet, calm, and persistent and eventually he realizes it’s nothing harmful to be dramatic about, but it’s also not going to stop happening on his terms. When he embraces this concept and engages his brain to be curious instead of fearful, he gives in and we can move forward on the challenge at hand. Some things take longer than others, but this is his pattern so far, every time.
With his calm air and very fast hands, my husband got the nail cleanly out in one, straight, fast, sharp pull, fortunately it wasn’t in very deep! I irrigated the little hole in the center of his heel bulb with syringe-fulls of diluted Betadine and got some Vetericyn in there. This morning I ran to town and got a few supplies, then I caught him up again and it took about an hour of prancey-dancey and deep breaths on everyone’s part before he let me handle his hoof enough to clean and look at again. He was calmer when I lifted his foot gently with a rope around it, and I did this over and over, until he didn’t mind my hand in addition, and then just my hand. Finally after a few misses, re-irrigating, and repeat, I managed to get Vetericyn soaked cotton stuffed up there and secured with vet wrap, so dirt can’t get in. He is very sore on that foot, it’s right in the center of his heel of course. But he seemed quite okay with the fact that all the melodrama resulted in him scoring an apple at the end. Yep, bribery and all that. Food is about all I’ve got going for me with ever-wary Joey at the moment and I will exploit it as necessary, judge as ye shall!
We parted as friends. I hope that things will go smoothly and perhaps this injury will just lead to lots of positive leg handling and overcoming that obstacle some more to an extent, as well as a clean healing for the wound of course. Cross your fingers! I’ll be checking it daily and he is starting an antibiotic regimen tonight.
“hmmm, what is this thing she took so long to convince me to allow?? Perhaps I can rip it off in under 5 minutes and she’ll turn the color of her hair??! Let’s see!”