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We Are Flying Solo

September 14, 2016

Solo Struggles: The Tendons That Bow

Yes, you read that correctly.   No, the plural is not just a literary reference.

I haven't been able to write about it because in all honesty,  I haven't been able to think about it.  But as Solo & I try to take care of each other, he reminds me that we don't have to be alone.  So I wanted to try & share for the many of you who have been part of our journey.

On August 5th (it still feels like yesterday), I walked out to replenish fly spray layers during my lunch break.  It was a horrifically muggy Friday that was about to worsen by orders of magnitude.  My eyes snapped to Solo's forelegs as  he was standing slightly out in front, unusual for him.  And a pit opened in my stomach when I saw his right front pastern was swollen & there, in mid-cannon, was the smallest bulge of a textbook bow.
This one's sore, mom... (post-first-aid, obviously)
Knowing he was fine at breakfast, it had to be fresh, but it was also the same leg he previously had a low bow on a year ago.  I scrambled ice, hose, standing wraps still scattered from Hell Storm 2016 & got vet on phone.

Day 2, post-hose tendon bow
Long story & 3 emergency calls later, Dr. Bob confirmed my observations when he came out for fall shots 4 days later.  Three months confinement to small pen, six weeks with wraps.  Not the suspensory, which was good, but another insult to the compromised deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) in that leg.

Except a week later, the amazing Erica was visiting to help with care & repairs, when we discovered during a wrap change that the left front had succumbed to a matching support bow.  I am so grateful that she was here for support, as that crushing discovery alone would have been that much worse.

Turbulent Tending

The first few weeks have been full of stressful worry for my shining buddy.  He developed running diarrhea from the anxiety of not being able to follow Encore down the fenceline.  Trying to keep heat & moisture out of tendons during the hottest month in the literal modern record of the planet, with humidity you could drink, was exhausting in itself.

I can report that Solo has begun to stabilize.  We have returned to normal poo (always a cause for equine celebration).  It is 30 degrees cooler outside & swelling has been absent under wraps.  There is hardly any heat at all when the wraps are changed.  No limping, which is critical in such big animals.  And we're down to 1 gram of bute a day just to keep any swelling from temptation.

Prison breaks both our hearts, as I watch the horse who discovered pure joy in a galloping leap, gaze over his fence with longing you can touch.  But he has achieved two jailbreaks, one this week, & after ascertaining no harm done, I took solace from the renewing spark in his eye.  He will never return to a riding career, but all I need to know is that he is comfortable & happy.

Solo gave me an entire world, a sphere of irreplaceable gifts in moments & adventure.  I still need him here to light the path ahead though.

Because he literally walks on water... Photo by Brant Gamma

28 comments:

  1. Wow... I am so sorry :( Whats the chance!!

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    1. Indeed -- I am still baffled as to how he managed it, not moving much on a very hot day.

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  2. Hi there :) Wishing you & solo all the best. I can't imagine how this feels. You've had a tough year. At least the fire in his eye is still there, hopefully a speedy healing process will follow. Fingers crossed (and hugs)

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    1. Thanks, jules - the hardest part is definitely seeing him sad & sore. He is such a uniquely expressive horse, so it has been good to see him making trouble, even if it does give me a heart attack.

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  3. DAmn, I am devastated for you. Grace under pressure you are though

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    1. Your kind words are much appreciated. Hopefully the Google Earth satellites won't take pictures on the really ungraceful parts...

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  4. Sorry to hear this. Horses can be so heartbreaking. Hoping for a speedy recovery.

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    1. Thank you & I hope I can transition him safely to being back out without reinjury. I am certainly ready for a long string of misfortune to change direction.

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  5. Oh my heart breaks for you.. big hugs, lots of prayers for you and your amazing Solo!

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    1. Thank you & hugs back to you & pony. <3

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  6. Ugh, Solo! I'm sorry that you are both going through this. Hopefully all this horrible bullshit is gearing you up for something great to happen. :( Both your boys are lucky to have you!

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    1. Oh, I do hope you are right. I don't begrudge Solo a thing, he has more than earned all the care I can give & then some. I just wish I could do more for him & tell him that if he'll just hang in there with me, he will get to play free again.

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  7. If only he were as talented at healing! Poor Solo and poor you. :( I'm glad to hear that he's on the mend and hopefully you can rest a bit easier too...

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    1. Thank goodness for his patience & intuition, which does make the layers of wrapping easier. He has learned when he needs to stand very still & when he can shift his weight to make my job a bit less challenging. He's always been tough, with his huge heart & so much courage, which he is graciously continuing to let me borrow.

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  8. Ugh that is the pits, I am so sorry this has happened to Solo :( here's to hoping he heals quickly and completely

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    1. From your keyboard to his ears, I hope - thanks.

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  9. You are truly grace under fire. Wishing Solo a speedy recovery, and that he remains comfortable and sparky.

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    1. You are too kind, but I do hope he sparkles on, so long as he does so in a contained & sedate fashion until things are set & healed.

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  10. I am so sorry for you :( This is the pits. If only horses could just, you know, avoid hurting themselves??

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    1. Let's invent that - we can retire in 45 seconds as millionaires.

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  11. Oh Solo buddy... dude... don't do these things to yourself. Sending many healing jingles to you and your Solo buddy. I'm dealing with abcess after abcess after abcess with my girls - with horses if it's not one thing 'tis another :(

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    1. Ouch, I'm sorry to hear that -- it has been a hard summer on legs. Solo was stocked up behind a lot in the bad heat through June/July/August, which has never happened before with him. Neighbour had same problem, along with abscesses. All the poor critters...hope the girls are feeling better! <3

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  12. Brena, I am worried. I keep checking and checking and no update... please tell us how dear Solo is doing, and your other red one, and YOU, too!

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    1. Thank you so much for your concern - it means a lot. A nasty combination of work, health, life issues have been rolling in series. Solo has made it out of prison, we are trying to hang in there until we can share more updates. In the meantime, your note is a wonderful reminder of kindness making a difference. <3

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    2. I just remembered that I wrote to you last month because I was dumb and didn't check "Notify Me." Thank you for the reply! I'm really glad to hear Solo is allowed to roam the pastures again. I hope Encore is comfortable, too. I think of you and your job every time I read a new issue of the Missouri Conservationist magazine... I know this is a busy time of year. Any time you feel up to blogging I'll be glad to hear from you (and I'm sure everyone else here, too)! Sending (hugs) to you and the herd.

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  13. I too check in and miss my favorite bloggers, which you are one of. Hope all is well!

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