So, I realize that my original post on what happened to Chinga is really quite vague so I've decided to explain what actually happened to him and answer a few questions people have been asking me at the same time.
On the 24th of June, Chinga had an abnormal amount of swelling in his back left leg. I got the vet to come out and look at it and he believed it was a tendon injury. But wanted to do a scan to confirm and see how severe the injury actually was. We booked in his scan for the following Monday, and knew to keep him bandaged and rested until then. But he was okay, we weren't looking at anything bad.
On the 26th, I went down to change his bandage and all four of his legs looked like tree trunks. I quickly contacted the vet, knowing myself that it was cellulitis (something we had dealt with twice before with him). However, our vet was away so we got the locum vet out. She agreed with me and gave him penicillin as a twice a day drug - something he had been given previously, with no signs of reaction. We were upset, but we weren't worried about the cellulitis. More the tendon.
On the 28th, we gave him his AM shot and he was looking good, his swelling was starting to go down and he was perking up. He was especially cuddly and 'in-my-face' so I decided to spend the day with him. We gave him his PM shot (correctly, drew back, etc), he stood fine for about a minute and rested his head on my arm. Then he jumped forward, at first we thought he was just spooking at something and then he began to pull backwards, his back legs collapsed out from under him. Someone made me let go of him, realizing it was more than an allergic reaction just as he fell backwards. Tangling his legs up in a gate, he managed to get out of that fairly uninjured. But, we don't know if it was from fear or the seizure he was having - but all he wanted to do was blind run. By blind run, I really do mean blind. He galloped around, hitting fences from a full gallop and falling over. We could see his legs were bad, but there was nothing we could do. We made sure everyone was out of the way and that it was safe enough for him - but we weren't lucky.
Chinga jumped over a stable door, into a stable, catching his legs on the way. He fell badly, but was still by miracle (and adrenaline) running around. We saw blood coming off him, but, until he stopped we had absolutely no idea how bad it was. When he did finally stop - we saw that there was a large amount of blood on and coming out of the side of his face, mouth and nose. When I got closer to him, I saw that there was a large hole in the side of his face - bone & tissue were exposed. I froze. I have never been so devastated in my life. A very good, and older friend, quickly stepped in and took him from me. Leading him and putting him in the round yard to keep him safe if something happened again. Chinga wasn't walking well, but was still standing. We knew it was going to be awful once the adrenaline and shock wore off, so someone quickly contacted our vet.
From the round yard, Chinga was calling out. I was told it wasn't safe for me or him to be in there. Everybody knew his face was bad, but believed it could be fixed. My mother arrived about five minutes before the vet, having no idea how bad it was until she got there. When the vet arrived she gave me a hug and went to look at his face. She told us he'd need to be taken to the clinic and need emergency surgery. It wasn't until she got her torch and actually inspected the hole, that she could see that it extended to the top of the skull and the bone on one side of his face were shattered. Fragments of bone were already in his skull. The bones in his back legs, along with the tendon, were also completely ruined.
Surgery was an option, but a very cruel one. Because of the extent and number of his injuries, he wouldn't have been okay. If it had been just one, maybe we could fix it. But not all of them. We made the decision to let him go, one the vet agreed with. So, first she sedated him and he laid down. Resting the injured side of his face in my lap. Getting lots of kisses from my mother, sister, coach and I. There were many other people around, all giving us our space but letting Chinga know he was the best horse in the world. My father was away, so I spoke to him on the phone. When it was time, I rested my hand on his neck and felt his pulse as it stopped. It was something I couldn't believe, still can't. He's in a better place now. There were so many tears, I've never cried so much and so hard in my life. But it was so peaceful - even our vet cried!
Chinga truly touched and changed so many peoples lives, I've never come across a horse that had so much heart and so much willingness. I absolutely love him more than anything in the world. He was perfect. It breaks my heart knowing he is gone, and I question if he is happy and well. I just want him to be okay. I hope he knows we made the choice only for him, not us.
I love you my little brown pony.
''Its hard to look out into the pasture, and not see you there.
It's hard to know that all I have is a piece of your hair.
I'll miss your attitude, your looks, and the twinkle in your eye,
It's hard to know you're gone,
It's hard to say good bye.
It's hard to fill the space in my heart
It feels empty; there's only air.
If I had one more chance, I wouldn't change a thing.
If I could touch your face again,
If I could cry on your shoulder, just one last time.
Then maybe, just maybe
I could find the strength to say goodbye."
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