Alright. So my afternoon went to hell in a handbag rather quickly... After following a few threads on here, I decided that this afternoon would include riding my Dad's gelding (Texas) while ponying Cerra (mine) in the half-built "arena". (It's slowly getting there... currently is just a really big, rectangle enclosure.)
Well, he saw the halter/lead rope and booked it. Not a moment of hesitation, just that attitude of "if she can't catch me, she won't work me." The herd followed him, so I couldn't have caught Cerra anyways! Anyways, the pasture really isn't that big, so I sent them off at a faster pace than they wanted to go. They stopped so I tried approaching again. ^^ Repeat. After the second time, I squirrel'ed up in the shelter and peeked out to watch them. Instead of calming down and stopping, they just continued to play! (Beautiful to watch, frustrating to my cause.)
I saw Mom's gelding do a sliding stop and my lazy Appaloosa rediscovered her love for the family cow. (LOL). Texas suddenly stopped and his shadow (Cerra) too, but when he tried to take off again, I noticed that he was hobbling on three legs and his gait was extremely off. Cerra looked torn between me and Texas, but ultimately followed him. The Appaloosa had completely given up running by this time and approached me.
There was no way that I could get close enough to Texas to check out his leg at that moment, so *hoping* that it was just a misstep, I went into the house and reported the injury to my dad. (After all, it's his horse.) When I went outside about an hour later, Texas and the Appy were caught and penned in together; her desperately trying to solace him and him being extremely agitated by her actions. She was good enough to halter up and lead away so I could check his leg.
Foot was clean. No abscess or direct injury to the hoof. Not warm. (Thinking it is his fetlock because he reacted to it being gently bent.) Twice more, I went to alert my dad and get him out there with me. By now, Texas wasn't putting ANY weight on his leg and kept pawing. A few times he had tried stepping on it and infrequently, there was a sound. I can't describe it aside from that fact that I got spinal shivers. (Which added to my guilt.)
Is this a common injury? What may have happened to his joint? I feel so bad that this happened on my watch! Dad accused me of working the horses too hard (geldings' coats were soaked), and I retorted that it wasn't me pushing them -- they were playing for like 20 minutes! My tactic was to let them calm down/recollect and then try again. Although, it seems as though I've unintentionally trained Texas to run from me... :(
Hopefully I can get the vet out tomorrow (do you agree?) and check on the injury again for swelling/further injury.
Thanks in advance.