Stormy Weather: Literally and Figuratively

Ever feel like you can’t catch a break? Like, you’re a pretty good person (you donate to charity when you can, you foster unwanted dogs, you don’t murder people even when they reallyyyyyy annoy you, that sort of thing). But then bad luck just rains down on you, FOR NO REASON. I haven’t done anything that made karma come for me, I swear!

Trainer called me on Monday afternoon- Rio the Houdini had escaped from his stall and taken a swan dive on the an area of asphalt on the property near trainer’s house. Vet was there already stitching up his elbow and making sure the rest of him was mostly in one piece,

The wounds appear predominately superficial, but he took some deep-ish gouges out of his left stifle area. We may x-ray it on Friday when the vet comes out to remove the drain (he left one in his left elbow where he had to stitch it up). He said that he felt like the stifle joint capsule was tight and not disturbed, but it’s really swollen and torn up so it was hard to tell. He also tore up his left medial distal hind, the area from 2 previous surgeries that I have tried so hard to keep protected with the custom made for Rio Equifit boots and various pastern wraps. The same area that I had worked SO HARD to get it to heal previously, and even resorting to daily laser therapy treatments.

Post surgery when stitches didn’t hold and the area opened up
At it’s largest
Never fully healed despite intensive care. Always has scab/scar type tissue, but never bothered Rio unless aggressively palpated.
One of the types of boots he gets worked in to protect the area- Equifits


So…. possible stifle damage, which is scary enough, and then who knows how the left medial hind, aka the area from HELL, will heal. Let’s just say I haven’t been sleeping well.

Top left: Left stifle. Top right: medial left hind Bottom left & right: left front


A few other small scrapes are not pictured. Also not pictured are the left elbow sutures, because it’s a difficult area to wrap and was wrapped up really well. The only leg that escaped abrasions is the right front. All legs are swollen to some degree.

I’ve been bemoaning my poor fortune and sulking since I heard the news on Monday, but I work at a university hospital and a few of my recent patients kind of put stuff back in perspective for me. I am moving the “woe is me” to the back burner and trying not to dwell on it.

I am also trying to see the silver linings. The injuries could have been worse. Rio is at a great facility with excellent care, so even though I love doing the tending, wrapping, and cold hosing myself, I don’t have to worry about getting out there twice a day to make sure it gets done. We don’t have any shows on the near horizon that we will now be missing. Compared to what we have been through together when it comes to freak medical issues, this is small beans (hopefully… that stifle…). It’s been raining so much lately that’s it’s too wet to ride anyway. I just renewed his insurance policy, so minus the deductible I won’t have an insane vet bill to contend with.

Back right and left. The distal medial left hind is where Rio has had previous surgeries and very poor healing. The whole area got torn open.


So… I seems crazy that I am writing another “Rio is injured” post but here it is. Fingers crossed for quick and easy healing, and no lasting damage!


Posting this pic because it’s pretty and I want to end on a smile



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  1. I wondered why he wasn’t in his stall as we came back from the long road trip on Monday! Sorry to hear this and hope things resolve for the better quickly!

  2. oh my good god, that is awful 🙁 ugh Rio buddy, you gotta stop doin this!!! asphalt is no place for playful ponies!!!!

    hopefully the bulk of it just proves to be superficial road rash and heals up without any complication. i’d be pretty upset tho if i were you too. ugh. hang in there tho!

  3. What was he thinking?! I can commiserate somewhat since Simon tried to first pull the fence down with his front feet/legs a couple weeks ago and then was off last week and when I got to my house for the vet appointment the vet was radiographing his stifle. Horses absolutely keep us humble! I hope all Rio’s injuries are superficial and he’s healed up soon!

    1. Ack Simon! What goes in their silly heads?! It’s the not knowing part that really kills me, ya know? The “what if” something is wrong. Horse injuries are THE WORST!

  4. HORSES! So glad he isn’t hurt any worse! Crossing all crossables for quick, speedy, UNCOMPLICATED healing, too.

    And FWIW, from my experience, stifles can take a surprising beating and be okay! Q took a big hit to her stifle resulting in a nasty cut that had to have a drain put in in 2013. She was off on it, rightly so, for a day or two, but ultrasounds etc. found that the joint capsule wasn’t compromised at all. It was a nasty wound that flabbergasted the vets involved both at the ride and at Marion DuPont, but fortunately the wound was the worst of it and everything else was okay!

    Wishing you all the best <3

    1. Thank you Liz! That is very reassuring to hear about Q. Up until now, I have never had a horse with a stifle injury, so even the thought of one is scary to me. It’s not THAT bad (didn’t require stitches) just looked a bit rough. Fingers crossed it’s so much better looking on Friday that we won’t even need to xray it.

  5. Ugh so sorry you are going through this but I absolutely know what you mean, sometimes it feels like the universe likes to pile bad shit upon bad shit. Changing your mental framing is the only way to go in this situation. I hope his wounds heal soon (and you have a lot of great experience on what it takes to get Rio healed!)

  6. hi sorry for the late reply but wanted you to know that I hope Rio is getting better and back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible. Hopefully he learned horse skating on asphalt is not an Olympic sport 🙂

    And ugh on him getting boo boos again on that hind leg. I hope it heals decently. Poor you!!

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