When I got him home, he was so happy. Harley let out a big sigh of relief to not have to be here alone any longer. I’m pretty sure he thought he wasn’t coming back, and when he realized home is home, he couldn’t stop eating and nuzzling.
What amazed me was how well he was walking when I picked him up. I expected him to be slightly lame from the surgery, and he wasn’t at all. There was some swelling, which I expected, but otherwise he was walking better now than before the surgery.
When I loaded him up, they thanked me for letting him be there, because they all fell in love with him. He is such a sweetheart, and he loves all of life he comes across. I was happy he showed them how wonderful thoroughbreds are.
Driving home I knew that the easy part was over, and the tricky and challenging part was ahead of me. We need to rehab his leg and create equal strength. We won’t be able to start doing exercises for a month, and all of it is at the walk. It will be three months before we can trot under saddle. I also need to figure out a way that we can afford to reduce cartilage degradation. The hardest part is convincing him that we need to go slow. He doesn’t like doing anything slow. He is a calm horse, but when that switch goes on, watch out.
When we got home, Bill was waiting for us. I unloaded him, and he and Harley immediately said hello. Bill and I had a picnic beside the barn hanging out with him so happy that he was back.
The next day I noticed he was stiff. We had a chilly night, and his leg wasn’t too happy with it. I am allowed to do unlimited hand grazing with him for a month and a half, so I took him out to graze. Within five minutes the stiffness disappeared.
What are the immediate changes I’ve noticed after the surgery? He no longer drags his hoof. He used to drag it especially at the canter. There was an area that the synovial fluid was leaking into creating a sac that never went down; that is gone. Before the surgery when I stroked this area, all of his muscles would twitch, and now not even a little twitch. He does still stand with his leg behind him, but that is usually after he has been sleeping. Before he used to put it out to side and have his toe on the ground. Now it is directly behind him with his hoof completely on the ground. He also is putting full weight on his leg giving his left leg a break like a sound horse does.
Our day consists of me hand grazing him, giving him a break, hand grazing again, another break, and then we do some light bodywork. He’s a little tired of me hand grazing him, because he usually wants to break out into a run, or play with me by rearing up. Once he realizes I’m not letting him get away with it, he reluctantly grazes…lol.
He is eating and cleaning out his bucket each day, so his ulcers didn’t flare back up. Life is good right now.