Just when I think that Red couldn't possibly get himself hurt again, he proves me wrong. But let's start at the beginning of the "story".
I bought Red in May 2012. Basically, a green 6-year-old AQHA gelding. He's bred well for barrels and is a wide 15.2. 2012 went fine, besides me having a very difficult time figuring him out and getting used to him. Let's just say that he is bubbling over with personality and quirks.
On January 16th, 2013, the "fun" begins with injury #1
He got his hind left leg into the smooth wire fence. He must have been goofing around and kicked out and got caught, as best we can piece together. He cut himself down to the joint capsule of the hock and the tendon. (Full thread here: Need some healing prayers for my boy Red (some graphic photos -- beware!) ) He was on about 45 days stall rest, and it took me some time, but I finally am a professional at hock bandage wrapping.
The vet flexioned and tested him for lameness in early April, and he passed. The wound was still healing, but I was cleared to ride him.
Fast forward to the beginning of June for injury #2
I had Red at a reining trainer for 30 days, which helped us a lot and me understanding him better. A couple weeks after I got him home, he started feeling "off" in his front end. A very faint head bob that would come and go. Right away I chaulked it up to him being him, because he (overall) is a short-strided horse. When my mother made a comment, that's when I knew something must be wrong and I took him in.
I didn't get a conclusive answer from the lameness vet, but we believe he is landing/loading on his front feet unevenly which is causing him heel pain. We did x-rays and his short pastern joint spaces are slightly uneven. But Red is also slightly pigeon-toed. (Full details here Crooked joints in a 7-yr-old? Possible navicular changes??? )
I thought it would take months of experimenting with corrective shoeing to get him to "feel" right again. But to my surprise, a simple 2 degree wedge shoe and wedge pad on the front feet, one week off with bute, made him 100% sound. He felt so great!! We don't plan on keeping him in wedges forever, but it worked great this year. Will try just a plain shoe next year.
And that brings us to injury #3
On September 7th, 2013 I took him to a family rodeo to compete in barrels, poles, and keyhole. After watching the video, he didn't look right in his back end. He was pushing off both legs, instead of reaching underneath himself in the turn.
I took this video a few days later to confirm my suspicion
He was actually cross-firing in his back end; worse on a right barrel turn. Off to the lameness vet we go again. She diagnoses him with a catching stifle in his right hind. I actually felt it for myself and could feel it "catching" every few steps.
She thinks it can be maintained by just riding lots of hills and keeping him legged up (may be hard in the North Dakota winters without an indoor arena) because it's not that bad. I've chatted with a lot of people about this, and when spring rolls around when I'm ready to ride him hard again, I think I want to try injections or something. I kept him legged up really good all year, and he still had a catching stifle. No, it wasn't hill work every day but he was in darn good shape. I'm just doubting exercise is going to do it for him.
So I've still been trying to ride him 3 times a week, even though it is now dark at 6 PM.
Except ..... I haven't ridden in the last week due to injury #4
Notice the enormous right front leg? **facepalm**
Last weekend, my two boys were turned out in the 120 acres with the rest of the horses I board with. Well apparently on early Wednesday morning, Red decided to exit the pasture. Thankfully all the wounds are very superficial, but I'm betting he smacked his right knee on a T-post. Initially, it was only his knee that was swollen. That morning of this picture, he had been standing sleeping, and I suspect it had stocked up. I did my usual hand-walk and cold hose and it helped.
Thankfully, there is no heat to the knee and he is not lame on it. He doesn't like it if I pick up his foot and bend his knee all the way, but it just may be because of all the fluid, and not necessarily that anything is damaged.
I've already spoken with the vet on the phone, and we're playing the "wait and see" game at the moment. I am certainly not in a rush to take him to the vet when he's not lame on it, and I've already spent thousands of $$$$ this year on vet bills. I am not made of money, for crying out loud!! Apparently Red thinks I am.
BLAH!! So there it is. Four completely different injuries in less than 12 months.
Seriously Red .... do I need to wrap you in bubble wrap?
And build a treadmill so that your crooked front end can rest and get better, but I can exercise your back end stifle issue?
Not really sure if there is any meaning behind my book-long post .... except that I am sick and tired of a "hurt prone" and "accident prone" horse.