I seem to be learning a lot of lessons these days, such as the importance of ALWAYS having a well-stocked first aid kit at the barn. A human first aid kit wouldn’t be a bad idea either, but it’s imperative to have a horse kit ready to go. I thought I did. I thought I was all organized like that, but when disaster struck and my horse was in need of medical attention, my kit was, shall we say, lacking. This was rather embarrassing since I work at a tack store so really, I don’t have any excuse. I also learned that making a list of all the necessary items for said first aid kit BEFORE driving to the tack store is a brilliant idea. My mind, however, sometimes lacks in brilliance, so in one day, I made three trips back and forth to the tack store, each time forgetting yet another important first aid item.
All this un-asked for learning came about last month after Zappa somehow managed to puncture his fetlock. As any horse owner knows, it’s not a matter of if your horse will hurt himself, but when and how bad. So while we avoided an emergency a few weeks prior when Zappa got his foot stuck in the fence, it seemed this time our luck had run out. The small puncture wound became massively infected and I quickly found myself calling my vet for some much needed help.
Thus began a week spent driving back and forth from the barn, three times a day, to change Zappa’s wraps, be there for the daily vet visits and give him his antibiotics. The rest of my day was spent worrying about him and wishing I was back at the barn. I was pretty useless to anyone other than my horse that week.
Now that this whole ordeal is for the most part over (I just got the okay to start jumping Zappa again and I actually delayed writing this post in fear that I’d jinx his recovery—yes, I’m paranoid/superstitious like that) I’ve had some time to reflect on the situation and to try and find the positives since as with so many things in life, it could have been much worse.
One positive: I’ve learned how to give an IM injection without any squeamishness or uncontrollable shaking. (I also now know that IM stands for Intra-Muscular. That’s right! Might as well call me Nurse Nunn. And yes, I’m aware that I love alliteration a little too much…)
I realized very quickly that I prefer a digital thermometer to the old-school mercury thermometer, which I tried in vain to use before giving up and running to the drug store for the easier, digitized version (for some reason it still feels like cheating but every time that thermometer beeps I am unreasonably happy that I don’t have to squint to read the numbers and find the mercury line and try to make a decision on what exactly his temperature might be). So I suppose this is a positive, right? It’s good to know about thermometers…
Another positive: This incident also forced me to tackle yet another one of my fears—wrapping Zappa’s legs in standing bandages. I’ve been warned of the dangers of mis-wrapped polos and standing bandages many times before. I’ve heard the horror stories of the resulting bowed tendons and because I never got to participate in Pony Club, this is a skill I never acquired in all my horsey filled years. At my first cross country clinic, my more experienced horsey friends taught me the basic gist of what to do when wrapping, but even then I’d usually wuss out and beg one of them to wrap his legs so I could study, yet again, how it was done.
Lastly, I think after all the extra attention, daily grass walks, additional treats and time spent with Zappa, we are much closer. He now often whinnies when my car pulls up at the barn, and he’ll come out of his, “house”, sometimes even abandoning his hay, to greet me at the gate. He’s probably just looking for treats, but I’d like to think his affection means a little more. I know it’s sappy, but after all this, I am even more aware of how lucky I am that he recovered and I have a happy and healthy horse to continue riding. Not every medical emergency ends so well.
So, it looks like I’ll continue to have more horsey stories to share on this blog after all—stay tuned!