Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sensitive Timing

We've had ongoing construction making a racket around the neighborhood these past few weeks, so this was bad timing for me to have a horse with a hoof abscess. I have to change his poultice wrap every other day amidst all the noise and activity. From past experience I have learned not to try to change leg and hoof wraps in enclosed spaces such as stalls, because if the horse can't see what is making the noise, the spooks are bigger and more violent and I have less room to escape flying hooves.

This morning I noticed that the heel of Bombay's poultice wrap was torn and dirt was getting in, so I had to cut it off and apply a new wrap A.S.A.P. The only problem was that my neighbor had a cement truck pouring cement onto a new driveway for him. The noises ranged from the sound of the drum rolling, which vibrated my entire house, the sound of one worker whistling in code to the driver to direct him, the sound of voices yelling, the sound of cement sliding down a chute, and the sound of all the dogs in the neighborhood barking.

Scrappy comes when people whistle, so all the whistling from the construction workers was confusing him. He was barking inside the house asking to be let outside so that he could respond to the whistle.

I waited several hours for them to finish their job and leave, but it seemed they planned to live there. I had to bite the bullet and try to change Bombay's poultice with all of this going on.

I walked outside and the horses seemed to be okay with it. They were relaxed... until I approached with halter in hand. They must have thought I was going to catch one of them and load them up into that back of that spinning cement truck. I caught Bombay, and the mares panicked, whinnying out of fear that I was taking him away. I walked him to the side of the horse trailer where they could still see him. They galloped over to the fence to stick close to him.

Of course, Bombay instantly went on alert and began snorting and doing a dance. I closed the trailer door so that he could keep his eye on the cement truck and see that it isn't coming for him while I started cutting off his old poultice. It was difficult with all the kicking and dancing. I was afraid that I was going to stab him with the scissors, so I backed off and made a little video of the situation.

He was settling down by the time I made the film, so I put the camera away and tried again. This time I probably doubled the amount of duct tape. It makes it more difficult to cut through with scissors, but at least it doesn't rip and let dirt and manure into his abscess.

At one point Bombay backed into the pile of trash I left on the ground from his old poultice, and he stepped on the dirty gauze with the sticky poultice with his hind hoof. He kept kicking that leg, trying to kick off the sticky gauze, but it wouldn't budge. He was like someone with gum and toilet paper stuck to the bottom of his shoe. Once he settled down, I got him to lift his hind hoof and let me remove it.

At another point I was doing something with sensitive timing and needed Bombay to hold perfectly still. Right in that instance, Gabbrielle let out an outrageously loud whinny that made Bombay jump.

Of course, as soon as I finished wrapping the Elastikon around the top of the duct tape, which is the last step, the construction workers packed up and left. That's my life story. It took me an hour to do what could have been done in 15 minutes had the horse been relaxed.

Last Friday his abscess was amazingly deep and wide. I figured it would take a couple of months to heal. However, here we are seven days later and the hole has already mostly filled in from the inside out. I cut the opening wider with a hoof knife just to assure that it wouldn't close up from the outside and leave another abscess.

He is walking normal and off all pain medications, so I could probably have him out of his poultice and be riding him at the end of next week. Now if only winter could take a vacation and allow a few more weeks of fall weather without the rain, I'll be set.


Judi said...

Now that, is a beautifully wrapped hoof--particularly under the circumstances!

Jeni said...

Very Good !!!!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

You are getting very good at those duct tape boots. lol. I'm glad he's doing better.

fernvalley01 said...

I am sorry but I had to smile at the video ,I have no doubt that he was dancing a jig and nervous as all get out before , but he was sure calm when you were filming! rotter! Glad he is on the mend! and hope you get some saddle time before the S... flies

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

fernvalley01 - Yes, the trick would have been to have someone film it while I was trying to work with him, but no one was home to help. I took me a while to find my camera which gave him time to relax. The construction workers are out there again today. This time they started their racket at 7:00 AM. If they pull that over the weekend when people are trying to sleep, I'm going to have to have a chat with the home owner about showing some consideration of others.

Stacey said...

NICE duct tape boot!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Nicely done on the poultice wrap. I've been wrapping up Apache after treating her for thrush this past week, although I still don't think she had thrush. But I'm just covering the bases.
But I'm not as brave as you and have had Val over to help hold Apache while I scrub and pack and wrap her feet. She really hates when I remove the duct tape and will even do a small rear and then try to run off.
Here's to days of not having to wrap any more feet, eh?

Bombay sure was cute in that video, even if he was on high alert.
Sure hope the cement people stay away during the weekend and things are quieter for you.


JanLou said...

Glad to hear his abscess seems to be healing quickly.

Judy said...

Our Badger horse, had a hoof abcess last month. She can be a good patient or a horrible one. By the time we were done with the period of soaking, wrapping, and antibiotic shots she was getting pretty cranky. We had her in the calving shed for two weeks and she was getting pretty lonely. Although we had put another mare that is a buddy in with her the first couple of days to keep her company. Badger was so ornery to Kalin, she ended up by herself in the barn. Glad your horse is on the mend! Badger is back to work, she moved cattle for the first time yesterday since her abcess. It is great to see her moving so well and painfree!

achieve1dream said...

Poor Bombay! I wish all of your neighbors would pack up and move away. Sheesh. Hope he heals quickly. :)