Sadly I had to leave my dear Mr. Oats while I was travelling in Mexico for the past five months. He was left in the very capable and caring hands of my barn friends and his half-leasor, Chris. Unfortunately it immediately went downhill, with a series of health issues for Mr. Oats 😦 He experienced really horrible diarrhea due to his hay (sensitive to high sugar, despite how $$$$ the hay I buy is!), and then refused to eat his meds (he is on Previcox for arthritis, and Prascend for his Cushings disease), and then the worst of all worst things happened: Serious lameness due to a problem with his hoof. More accurately, my amazing barn friends would pick out his feet, and BLOOD would gush out. Needless to say he was in a lot of pain, and lame intermittently.
It was apparently challenging to diagnose as well (as it ended up being the literally perfect shitstorm: My vet was going through serious health issues, and we had a stand-in vet. Very nice but did not know what was going on!). I really did appreciate the thoroughness of the stand-in vet but GOD DAMN was it expensive while I was travelling. I had one month of 7 thousand dollars in vet bills, hay bills, board, car insurance and horse insurance. Almost none of it was from travel? Good christ!!
So, the long story was…It was close to 4 months of drama, drama, drama, drama and oh? More drama! Yay. Shoot me.
It was immensely stressful and I almost flew back actually. My leasor certainly did NOT sign up for this shenangians and I felt sooo horrible that I was traipsing off in another country enjoying beaches, etc. when everyone was really struggling at home. The stress and guilt ate me alive inside. It was horrible.
To top it off, my fabulous leasor was also going through serious health issues and wound up in the hospital as well. And our barn manager who keeps the whole shitshow running? Her mother passed away as well. So, like…good news all around, right? Shiiiit. It was not good, and I felt very guilty.
I called my regular vet when we were in our last leg of Mexico and he said to just schedule an appointment with him when I got back. He was not concerned- just said as long as there is no swelling coming up in his leg, he’s fine to wait. So we waited a few more weeks (what’s a few more when he’s been off for four months, eh?) and I had an appointment with him on Apr. 14. I got back into town on the Wed. of April and he looked good actually! Much to my amazement!
For months I’d been hearing pretty bad, seriously grim things about his foot/lameness. Words like coffin bone infection, or a hoof tumour (keratoma) were tossed around. It was the worst case of all worst case scenarios pretty much every single day I was gone. Looming over me like the nastiest black cloud, it did colour a lot of my trip with negative emotions, fear, stress and guilt.
I saw that Oats was pretty darned sound, so the day I got back he went for a walk, and then I started riding the next day! Vet appointment came and the vet is known for being a bit of a gloom-and-doomer and he was like nah, this is a puncture wound. Big deep one, would have taken ages to heal and no wonder the horse was lame- it’s super painful! We then had a few weeks of more on-and-off drama, as we struggled to get the hole to close in. I left it open to give his poor chafed heels some healing time, and the second I did that, BOOM! A sliver of hog fuel got jammed in the hole, Oats almost fell to his knees in pain. I jumped off, pulled the splinter out and it gushed blood. I was SO sure this was it, end game due to my stupidity.
He was fine! I booted him though to ride the next day (sound!) and the boot rubbed the everloving shit out of his poor feet…Damned if you do, damned if you don’t eh? He developed really nasty heel abscesses and was foot-dragging lame one day. What a freaking time of it eh?
The next day, he was fine! Hah. WTF horse?
Oh Mr. Oats…we had our first lesson back on Thursday! He was such a gem, I love him and missed him SO MUCH. I now owe a LOT of favours to people, whooo boy. I am just lucky, so lucky, that it turned out ok~