I’ll fully own creating this monster, but damn, dude. Eli tried to give me heart attacks on both Wednesday and Saturday. In the same week.
Let’s start with Monday. Rode Eli. It was fine. Nothing unusual at all. Didn’t make it out Tuesday due to work obligations. Headed to the barn after work on Wednesday with the intention of riding, right up until I pulled Eli out of his stall.
All four legs were swollen. The right front was especially suspicious looking but I had concerns about all of it. Like …. wut. Why.
Thankfully for some small miracle, I jogged him for a trainer and he was sound. But even more mysterious, really. Because he was sound, we decided he should walk and that might help reduce some of the swelling. So I did ride … just at the walk. The walk definitely did the swelling some good, but I iced his front legs and poulticed them, too. Eli also got some bute with a little grain and water before I left for the night.
Thursday, Eli’s front legs looked … kind of slightly less swollen? I had left a note that he was okay for turn out so maybe a little moving around had helped. Iced/poulticed/gave bute again.
Friday, I walked Eli for a while under saddle again and the swelling in the right front had gone down quite a bit. I iced both fronts again, but for Friday night I switched from poultice to liniment and wrapped over the liniment. I also felt that since the swelling had subsided enough and Eli was still sound that he didn’t need more bute.
I rolled up to the barn a little late on Saturday morning to see Eli hanging out in the “big” paddock. I brought him in and noticed immediately that any signs of swelling were gone (props BoT Limber Up). I let him eat lunch (I was that late) before riding. But then, time to go back to work — so I took him on a walk in the fields after a light workout on the flat.
It was warm enough for a rinse and I washed his tail. I also washed all four legs. They looked tight, like normal. I put more liniment on him and rewrapped before letting him go back to his stall for the afternoon.
I had been at my house for only about an hour when I got a call from my trainer.
Eli was laying down and not eating his grain.
I talked to my trainer and the barn owner/head trainer on my way back out to the barn. The barn owner’s mom lived close by and is also a trainer so she was headed out to check on him, too, and give banamine if it seemed appropriate.
That was a trying 25 minute drive for me and I will just leave it at that.
Once I got to the barn and met up with the owner’s mom, I was immediately put at ease. We went over all of Eli’s vitals and signs and more than anything he just seem a little tired to her. He got banamine anyway, and I sat outside his stall for an hour, watching him eat, and drink, and poop, and acting totally like himself. I guess I messed up Eli’s afternoon nap by riding him after lunch instead of before. He really did seem fine by the time I got there, and he really wasn’t showing any signs of colic. That doesn’t mean I slept easy, but I did feel that he was not sick. It was pretty warm on Saturday, too, so that could have been part of his casually napping through dinner service.
I just want to stop and say here, I feel very lucky to board where I do, that so many professionals are looking out for the horses, and owners are contacted immediately at the slightest sign of something being off. I am so grateful for this level of service and attention that Eli and all the horses at this barn get.
I managed to get out to the barn at an earlier hour in the morning on Sunday, and Eli happily went out for some bitey face time before I brought him in for a ride. (The good news here is permanent fencing is now going in! Yay, more new & improved turnouts!)
His legs looked great and he felt sound, relaxed, and happy to march around the arena. We were having a good day, so I jumped him over some small fences. If this week taught me anything, it was take advantage of the good days because they are not guaranteed.
I don’t know why his legs had swelled, but he tends to swell up easily if bruised, so maybe he just played hard in turnout and whacked himself on Wednesday. As for the brief finicky eating behavior, he’s done that before, too. The labyrinthine adventure that is thoroughbred ownership isn’t new to me, either, so I can’t say I’m surprised.
So that’s where we are … still no plans! Just cantering low jumps for now.
For all of the stresses of horse ownership, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The fun times are so fun. Eli is not my rock, exactly, but I’d like to enjoy and savor our partnership, for however long it lasts. This level of privilege can’t be taken for granted.