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August 23, 2012: Hrimmi’s Injury

On Tuesday evening, Hrimmi cut her left rear pastern. There was, needless to say, considerable blood. Seeing it puddle up caused me to panic. I hate to admit this, but I lost it. I can handle being around other people’s injured animals, but I can’t handle being around my own. The problem is, I fear the worst. The worst case scenario was that Hrimmi might bleed to death. The second worst case scenario was that the wound might become infected. The third worst case scenario was that she might get tetanus.

Pete immediately took charge, and told me to put a halter on Hrimmi. I did as told, and he first cleaned and then put a

compression bandage on her wound. The filly was incredibly cooperative – she stood with her leg up, and Pete was able to do what he needed to do in record time. He then went to call Dr. Wellington, who is our veterinarian. In his absence, I cleaned the small pen, splashing buckets of water over the blood puddles. Then I put fresh straw down in the stall area.

The word from Donna, Dr. Wellington’s phone assistant, is that he won’t be back in town until September 1. So we figured out what to do. She said that we’d done the right thing, putting a compression bandage in place, and rightly added that it probably could not be stitched. I then talked with her about the possibility of Hrimmi contacting tetanus. Donna asked, and I told her that Signy was vaccinated shortly before Hrimmi’s birth. She speculated that Hrimmi probably had her dam’s antibodies. But, just in case, she agreed to find a vaccine source.

Since this happened, we’ve established a new routine, one that is reminiscent of the time in which Siggi had his shoulder wound. We’ve been cleaning the wound with chlorhexidine, and changing the dressing twice a day. Pete’s been getting up in the middle of the night, and giving Signy fresh hay. Otherwise, she’ll eat Hrimmi’s straw, which is bad for her gut. We have also given her a tetanus booster.

I learned some important life-lessons this time around. The most important one is to keep my cool when this sort of thing happens. We live in area in which veterinarians are few in number, so we can’t assume that we’ll immediately be able to get assistance. Thus, being resourceful has to be a priority in such instances.

It’s a given. Horses get injured; they colic, and eventually, they die. It’s never, ever pretty. The best we can do is to remain in the present, and if something bad happens, put on our problem solving hats. Sometimes it’s their time to go, and sometimes not. This was not Hrimmi’s time, though it could have been.

I was also reminded of the importance of early foal training. Hrimmi is by nature a very calm horse, and this has made handling her quite easy. But I’d wager that if we’d let her be that we would have had a harder time working with her. She is now halter broken, readily gives her feet, and stands for bathing. If she didn’t know these things, the outcome would have been much sadder.

And there’s one more thing – I was again reminded of how much I love Pete. Once again, he was very level headed; in fact, at a time when I was not. The best I can do is follow his example when things go wrong.

Next: 259. 08/24/12: New Compost Facility Project – on Hold