About two weeks after our second horse show it was time for Athena’s feet to be done again. She is usually pretty great now with the farrier, but out of nowhere she snatched her foot, started backing up and bumped into the farrier stand. There was a tiny drop of blood and she was walking fine. We flushed it out with some water and it had already stopped bleeding, so we didn’t think any more of it. Minor scratch, right?
Well about 24 hours later when we went to bring Athena in for the night, she had a very, very minor limp. She was running and bucking really hard in her pasture that morning so we thought she maybe sprained her ankle. I went to walmart to pick up some Epsom salt to soak her leg the next morning.
She was really sore the next morning, and by the time I came out there around noon I noticed something was wrong right away. Athena saw me but did not meet me at the gate. She had her hip cocked to the side and wouldn’t walk up to me. My heart sank. Athena wasn’t putting hardly any weight on her back leg. I immediately called the vet and he said it would be out there in about 30-45 minutes.
(Her eyes are so soft, warm, kind, and intelligent now! I just love them.)
I started to bring her into the barn and it took her so long to get just a few hundred feet. I sobbed the whole way. I was in pure panic mode. You see, Athena had gotten hurt pretty bad almost one year before this and it almost took her life. You can read about her previous injury here. I made her comfortable and started evaluating her leg. I was positive she must have gotten an infection. I seriously felt like I was going to throw up. My husband met me at the barn as I sobbed in his arms. I was not ready to go through all of this again. I couldn’t lost my horse.
(Athena is totally MY horse. We are both such messy eaters! Haha!)
Doctor Garret from the Animal Hospital of Fayetteville came over and determined that an aggressive infection had gotten into the cut. He gave me two options, to take her over to his farm to be put on IV antibiotics (we would give her the strongest available), or take her to NC State to scope the ankle. We were nervous the infection had already gotten into the joint which would require an extremely expensive surgery. We decided to take her to Doc Garrett’s and go from there. I was crushed. If the infection had already gotten into the joint there was a good probably she would never be sound again, words I heard just one year before. I was in a haze for a few days.
(Her gains over the past few months)
As soon as we started the antibiotics, Athena drastically started to improve indicating the chances for the infection getting into the joint were slim. I would visit Athena every day (sometimes several times a day) to give her love, change out her blankets, and help with bandage changes. She was still a little nervous around new people and it helped when I came over. What started as a very small cut about the diameter of a pencil turned into this great ordeal. With injuries in that area, the cut and area around it can turn into proud flesh. Doc had to cut away some of the flesh before it became something crazy. Here are some pictures a few days after he cut some of the flesh away.
The staff with Doctor Garrett took such great care of Athena. I was so grateful for them and their constant care! Athena was able to come home after about two weeks. I was dancing all morning waiting to pick her up! Haha! She remained on stall rest for a few more days and then returned to her normal routine. She was off from work for about a month (probably a little longer). I would just hang out and spend time grooming her. Sometimes we would work on minor showmanship skills. But Athena was in the clear, and eventually Athena was cleared for light work as she regained her strength.
This was the first day off stall rest! I knew she would be pretty excited, so I had my camera ready! She was jumping and flying through the air!
I was totally expecting her to be wild the first few rides, but she was sweet and settled as always. We spent the first two weeks just having fun, with light rides going over the basics again and lots of bareback time. My pup Tinkerbell even hopped up for a few laps! Hahaha!
Words cannot expressed how relieved and grateful I was that Athena was ok. I was prepared to do whatever it took to make her better. I had to, she was my best friend, my once in a lifetime horse. During this time I had so many great friends who gave me support and offered so many prayers for us. So many were patient as I was a total blubbering mess those first few days and was there to give me a shoulder to cry on. We figured Athena is very prone to infections so now with any sort of cut, no matter how large or small we are going to start putting her on preventative antibiotics just to be safe. And I may invest in some horse health insurance because of how accident prone she can be! I guess she takes after me! Haha! 😉
February was by far the hardest and most frustrating month I ever had to deal with Athena. Be sure to stay tuned for that update next week!
Thank you for reading and being so supportive of Athena and I!
Read more about our journey together by CLICKING HERE! You can read how I found her, how we overcame an injury that most said she wouldn’t recover from, and how she went from an aggressive and scared rescue to a stunning and loving friend and show horse!
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