It’s not always sunshine and daisies 

I have been MIA lately.  As it turns out, I’m not very good at blogging when things fall apart. I don’t like to talk about disappointment, sadness, and the hard stuff. I constantly describe myself to people as a happy person. My horse is REALLY important to me. Anyway,  I promised myself this would be short so I’ll get to it.

***Warning: This post contains very graphic images***

This is the abbreviated version!

I rode Rio the Thursday after the show. He was good, a bit unmotivated, but I didn’t blame him. I was still feeling the horse show hangover a little bit myself. He had Friday off and I headed out there Saturday for my jump lesson, excited to build on what we learned at the show.

Trainer called me on my way out there to tell me his right hind was very hot and swollen. She had already called the vet. Trainer thought it was likely cellulitis but we wanted to be sure. We took xrays and immediately discovered that his sesmoid bone was fractured. He has no external marks on the leg, so it seemed likely he kicked his stall just right. I was devastated.

We immediately put him on stall rest and started sweat wrapping the leg to try to decrease the swelling, with a plan of re xraying in 10 days to assess his progress. Two days later he seemed good, a bit off his food but was hand grazing happily and seemed in ok spirits, minus being locked in his stall all day.  The next 2 days (Tuesday and Wednesday) he went down hill a bit. His leg continued to swell despite the wrapping, getting higher and higher up his leg all the way to the stifle. It also REALLY hurt him. He seemed in way worse spirits and was eating less. Wednesday evening when M unwrapped his leg she found a new lump on the medial leg. Amazing Vet was called.


What the… where did this come from??



It drained a purulent liquid. Pretty icky. So… what the crap?! Does he have a broken leg or raging cellulitis that somewhat blew an abscess out the side of his leg? The fracture had some signs of possibly being old, which is also what the vet who xrayed him said (same practice, different vets). We disregarded it at the time though, because the symptoms seemed to match a fracture.  Amazing Vet (AV) re-xrayed it and the fracture looked the same, so we weren’t looking at a sequestrum. AV put him on antibiotics and said that he should be a lot better by the next day if we were looking at bad infection.


Happily grazing the evening away on Thursday


Sure enough Rio was much better in 24 hrs. Eating normally, moving much less painfully.  I got to visit him that night (Thursday) and hand graze him and he seemed fantastic and in really good spirits.



He is still doing relatively good. The wound is really gross and draining a ton. Amazing Vet has been visiting him a lot, and considering all the differentials. At this point we think the fracture is old, and an incidental finding, but we can’t be sure. What we do know is that he responded to the antibiotics (leg way less painful, swelling went down, appetite returned) and he has a gaping hole in his leg that has necrotic looking tissue. It is draining a LOT still and we are not sure why, but monitoring it closely. AV has consulted with some really great surgeons that I know and trust and everyone agrees we are on the right track, it’s just a puzzling case. Tomorrow she is coming again to check him, and we will be putting him on a more intense broader spectrum antibiotic.



So you are probably wondering what caused this. Well… so are we. Snake bite? Spider bite? We suspect something with poison because the wound is bad and looks like it is going to get worse. The tissue is necrosed and we don’t know why. We are crossing our fingers that with time (and meds!) he will continue to improve and hopefully we will start to see some wound healing. In the meantime we are taking every precaution to keep him happy and healthy. I switched his supplements so now he’s on Smartpak Gut and Rehab supplements. He is getting omeprazole (ulcer) and probios paste daily.  This new antibiotic is pretty strong so we are trying to make sure his tummy stays happy and healthy.

Anyway, I have tried to write this post about 5 times, and here it is, finally sticking! Everyone goes through tough times, I just kind of suck at it. I am staying hopeful though, it helps to be surrounded by such incredible people. Amazing Vet, Trainer,  and M (who takes care of the horses) have been so supportive and helpful, I can’t thank them enough.  Every one of them cares about Rio as much as I do, and wants the best for him. Hubby gets a huge shout out too for letting me sit on the couch all last weekend (when it all started) and feeding me Mac and cheese and banana splits when I cried relentlessly and binge watched bad TV. Trainer has been letting me lesson on and ride her wonder horse as well, so I promise to post soon with some fun pics and video of Cascai.

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  1. Oh no! I’m so sorry. It’s even harder when you don’t for sure know what you are fighting. Hang in there! Sounds like you have a great team working to get him right again. Please keep us updated.

  2. Horses! I think we have all been there with illness and injury to our beloved equines. It is just awful and i’m right there with you in sympathy. I hope things have turned around now and down the road you will be back showing!

  3. The hard stuff definitely sucks, but everyone goes through it. It is not all roses for anyone. It is part of life. I hope he recovers fully and soon! Poor guy! Thank you for sharing your story. You do not know who you are helping by sharing.

    1. You are definitely right. I’ve been pretty lucky in my horse life up until this point. My horses growing up never had any major injuries, I can’t remember ever having to miss a show with a sick horse. Rio is a fighter though, and I have a good feeling that things will start to get better soon!

  4. I can completely relate to your post and somewhat to your experience! I went out to ride yesterday (my horses are at home) to find a very funky moving Sterling. At first I was terrified it was something neurological, but when I looked more closely I found that he had some major swelling on his left stifle. A few photos and videos to vet and trainer confirmed that he most likely got kicked (really hard) in his stifle. Vet thinks he will probably need to come drain the fluid this week, but until then we are cold hosing twice a day, DMSO on the swelling (which often results in me getting kicked at because ouch), banamine and stall rest. This comes after the last six weeks off due to a quarter crack on his right front and he JUST got new shoes last week.
    Horses do nothing if not keep us humble! Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Rio!

  5. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear he has such a nasty (and puzzling) injury. That’s really tough. It sounds like he’s getting the best possible care, though, and I have my fingers crossed for you both to have a positive resolution soon!

  6. Ugh I’m so sorry. Horses really do need to be wrapped in bubble wrap. Georgie was bit by a poisonous spider two summers ago and it presented similarly. The good news was she had a full recovery- and it’s good you caught it quickly. Poor guy. Draining is good though, get that crap out of there! Hopefully he’ll be feeling great in no time!

    1. Wow I am interested to know that you had a similar suggestion. Anything you did differently to treat it? About how long did it take to heal? Glad to hear Georgie recovered fully! Gives me a lot of hope

      1. Georgie’s presented differently: she had this weird swelling in her neck and then a couple days later a wound opened on her forehead and there was this yellow serum EVERYWHERE. Her entire head was swollen and this gunky crap seemed to be seeping out her pores.
        We put her on iv antibiotics and it resolved very quickly. Obviously we have different spiders here in Idaho and they think this was a very toxic one. There was a hole with a lot of drainage. Healed quickly and despite her hair sloughing off she looked normal within a couple months. I blogged about it back in July 2015 if you want pictures 🙂 glad your boy is feeling good!

  7. Oh no! I am so sorry to see this! Nothing is more difficult than seeing our horses in pain–I am glad the antibiotics seem to be working and I hope Rio recovers quickly!

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