Not all poultices are the same. There’s green goop for poulticing hooves (the Epsom salt paste), and then there’s clay poultice for limbs. I’m talking about the clay poultice today.
After our Saturday lesson, Eli had Sunday off. I rode him Monday and despite off-and-on light rain he felt great and didn’t seem to mind the rain, which is unusual but maybe he’s getting over that, too. It rained more heavily Monday night, and more rain came through on Tuesday. I figured I wouldn’t be riding, so I went out to the barn with the intention of letting Eli graze for a while if it wasn’t raining, and hand walking him in the barn for 20 minutes.
I pulled him out of his stall, dragged him into a cross tie, and went to pick his feet. And there was swelling. No, not the left hind like last time but the left front. He had localized swelling below the knee on the outside. I couldn’t find a cut this time. My mind raced back to the stumble he had on Saturday … but wouldn’t the swelling have presented earlier if it were an injury from that, like on Sunday? Wouldn’t he have been lame on Monday? Well, if it’s a minor splint maybe not, but if it’s up high it wouldn’t be minor I don’t think …
I tried jogging him to see if he seemed lame, but I was the only one there and it’s hard to get a good read on soundness when you’re the one jogging. He seemed sound but couldn’t say for sure. It was too wet to put him on a line to check, too. I tried poking and pinching a bit, and he didn’t really react like anything was tender.
If there was heat, it was minimal. I felt the outside of the right front for comparison, and I had a hard time feeling a difference. Still, it’s swelling, i.e., inflammation. I did what any horse person does for inflammation and cold hosed the leg. I threw an ice boot on the leg and walked him around in the barn for a few minutes.
Then I figured just in case he’s *really* really injured, I hadn’t better walk much. Back in the cross ties, I started apply a poultice to the left front. I also wrapped the right front so that wouldn’t blow up in case Eli wasn’t putting weight on the left, but that was probably an overabundance of caution.
When I poultice, I use Sore No More … then wet some brown paper (I use cut up lunch bags) and wrap that over the poultice, then wrap a standing bandage over that. This prolongs the cooling nature of the clay.
On Wednesday, the swelling was gone and Eli looked sound both directions in the round pen. I gave him the day off again, and just let him eat grass for a while.
On Thursday, turnouts were dry AND Eli’s LF looked totally normal. I rode him, and he felt totally normal (you know, for him) under saddle. Hopefully the same will hold true this evening.