Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Holy $%#@, that hurts!

I got kicked today — more or less. I'm not sure if it was a kick, or me standing in the way of a canter/half-buck. In any case, it hurts like you wouldn't believe!

I went out to the barn today with the intention of riding again, just like yesterday. It was a lovely day, and as I was grooming Panama, he dropped his penis. This is something he does fairly frequently, but today I decided I ought to try to clean his sheath.

I got a rag wet, but of course by then he'd sucked it back up. I discovered that by mimicking the brushing motion along his back and sides with my hand, I was able to get him to drop again, and went to work.

He was pretty dirty, but he was very good about me cleaning his unmentionables. The little pervert seemed to enjoy me looking for a bean. (I thought I'd heard that is the part they usually don't like, but oh well.) The scrubbing, on the other hand, he wasn't as fond of.

A single rag only does so well, though, and pretty soon I realized we needed a rinse. The hose was caught and wouldn't reach where I had him tied, so stupid me decided I could lead him over there and hose him off while I held him.

He was being good, but I expected way too much of him. He wasn't crazy about being hosed down by the water trough, and quickly got himself boxed in on three sides between the fence (right side) water trough (front), and me (left side). To make matters worse, that scary hose was stretched out around the front of him, and (gasp!) in Mommy's hand!

I don't think I actually got any further than getting his legs wet before he went berserk. He blew past me, spinning me around, and next thing I knew my leg was hurting and I was watching him canter off. It happened too fast to see what happened, but I suspect he bucked or kicked out just a little bit to make sure his legs were free, and I just happened to be in the way. (Initially I thought he'd just caught me in the leg as he launched into a canter, but I'm starting to think he did kick a little, as he caught me too high on the leg to be anything else.)

Of course, he was trailing his lead rope, which frightened him. He ran in one door of the barn like the devil was on his tail, and out the other. As he ran out again I called to him (I was in way too much pain to try catch him), "Panama, you're going to have to let me catch you, I'm the only one who can fix it." He looked at me, slowed down, and then stopped, facing me.

Normally in that situation, I would have yelled, growled, and run him a little bit, but I didn't want to do that with the lead rope dangling. Plus, he was facing me and seemed to be waiting for me, so I took that as a sign of submission. In any case, I was hurting pretty bad at this point — I had dead-leg and my leg wouldn't support my weight comfortably, so I was limping.

I called Panama and tried to get him to come to me, but he wouldn't — he just stood there facing me, looking scared and somewhat sheepish. He was breathing hard and the lead rope was looped over his neck and trailing in the dirt at his feet (I'd had it loosely thrown over his withers, and had been holding it under his halter as I sprayed him down).

Somehow I mustered the will to go get him, despite the pain in my leg. He let me walk right up to him, of course — now he trusts me. I led him over to a chair and sat down while he stood there and inspected me.

After a few minutes, the pain eased up a bit, and I was able to put a little more weight on my leg. (I think this must have been the effects of the adrenaline, or even sheer will, because it only lasted long enough to do what I needed to do.) I took Panama over to the hitching post, tied him, and this time took the time to untangle the hose and do it right. Damned if I'm gonna have him rememering the hose trying to kill him, when I worked with him so much as a 2-year-old to get him over his fear of the hose.

With him tied safely, I turned on the hose and brought it over. Panama sidestepped, pranced, tucked his hind end under in preparation to run. I yanked on the lead and told him to cut it out. After a few little reprimands, he stood still and let me hose off his back feet.

I praised him, turned the hose off, and gave both of us a short break. Then I turned the water back on again. This time he stood still while I hosed down his back legs. I gave him lots of praise, turned the hose off, and gave him another treat.

After another short break, I decided to go for the gold. The objective was, of course, to be sure he wouldn't freak out about the hose next time I put it near his sheath. I hosed off his legs, and he stood still and tolerated it, so I aimed the hose at his unmentionables.

Of course, he was tucked up nice and tight, and nothing was going to change that. And he sidestepped the hose a little at first. But the important thing is, he let me do it (with the help of a little verbal reprimand for the sidestepping).

It was far from a successful sheath cleaning. But it was also far from a total fail.

For a little bit there, the pain in my leg abated enough that I actually contemplating riding a little after all. Thankfully I decided that wasn't a very good idea. I was still having problems putting my full weight on my leg, and I could tell that it was swelling up, interfering with the motion of my knee. I gave Panama a few treats and turned him loose.

It was good I did. Now that I'd accomplished what needed to be done, my body was free to feel the effects of getting kicked — and feel it, it did. I got dizzy and a little nauseated and had to sit down (a challenge because my knee wasn't bending well at all, at this point).

Driving home wasn't fun, either. My leg was stiffening up, and the pain was traveling down and pooling in my knee and ankle. And of course it was my right leg, so I had to drive with it.

When I got home, I stripped off my pants to find that the outside of my lower thigh was swollen up like half a grapefruit:

The effects of getting kicked by a horse

I took a couple of Motrin, grabbed some ice, and settled myself on the couch with my computer and a bunch of pillows. It took me a while to get comfortable — to figure out propping it up actually made it hurt more, and a bag of frozen veggies worked better than a rock-solid cold pack — but now that the Motrin and ice have done their jobs, it only hurts when I flex the muscle.

My outlook has improved greatly since the pain has diminished, but I'm still terribly disappointed that I didn't get to ride today. I also had to postpone my lesson for tomorrow. Hopefully I won't be laid up for too long!



At September 15, 2009 at 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch! Hope you feel better soon!

At September 15, 2009 at 8:19 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks, Kate! This is my first time getting kicked, so I'm trying to think of it as some kind of initiation. :o)

At September 16, 2009 at 7:51 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Yikes. Bombay has to be sedated for a sheath cleaning. That's a dangerous job, so I leave it up to the vet, and even under a lot of sedation, Bombay still kicks out at him. You must have been hit hard by your description. Remember when I had that big bruise on my thigh from when Bombay kicked a fly off his sheath while I was standing beside him grooming him? That bruise was nasty looking, but I still was able to go on a hike and didn't need pain killers. I hope you feel better and there's no serious damage.

At September 16, 2009 at 9:18 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

NM, Panama wasn't crazy about the sheath cleaning, but he was actually fine with it -- he lifted his leg once or twice, but never tried to kick me. It was the hose that made him run, and I didn't have it anywhere near his sheath at the time. So I think I may be able to do most sheath cleaning myself -- I just learned how important it is to tie a horse for stuff like hosing them down afterward. :o)

As for the kick -- I think the reason why I was having a hard time walking because where it was, the swelling was interfering with the movement of my knee. The swelling is down today though, and I can move fine, if a bit more slowly than usual. I can also see now the mark where he got me, and he hit me with the sharp edge of his hoof -- it's no wonder it hurt so bad, with all of that force focused along one thin line of contact!

I'll post more detailed updates later. In the meantime, I'm heading out to the barn. Can't keep me down! :o)


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