Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mid-week critter - The miracle pony

Nearly four months to the day after stepping on a nail and puncturing his navicular bursa and coffin joint, Taran was pronounced 100% sound and ready for work by our vet. If you read up on the outcome of nail punctures, especially if both joints are compromised, you'll know that this is nothing short of a miracle.

Taran had surgery to clean out both joints, and then spent two months wearing a hospital plate to protect the surgery site.

Surgery site after a month. We had to clean and pack this every other day.

His rehab started with handwalking, proceeded to tackwalking, and finally trotting under saddle. As of yesterday, he's allowed to transition back to full turnout (he's been stall bound since the incident) and can be slowly brought back to full work. WOOOOOOT!!!!

Early tackwalking could only be done on the road, since soft surfaces aggravated his DDFT, which the vet thinks was also damaged by the nail. In the last month we were able to move him out to the trails and more varied surfaces.

One of the biggest issues we faced (in addition to the surgery site) was how underrun Taran's heels became in shoes. This aggravated the DDFT, so the farrier did his best to shift the toe back, using Natural Balance shoes. However, two weeks ago we were finally able to pull Taran's shoes, and he actually became MORE sound after the shoes were off. He continues to have a toe-first landing, but you can see the improvement day by day.

You can see the MASSIVE event line from the surgery, especially on the heel. In this picture it's just below the hairline. It's going to take some time for this to grow out.

Of course, you don't just start a horse that's been stall-bound, with light trotting only, back to work immediately. Nor do you just throw them out in the pasture to tear around like a nutcase. So, we started last night at the vet's by letting Taran loose in their round pen. He spent about 20 minutes bucking, rearing, and bouncing - but carefully, and without any tearing around. He seemed to know his limits and did his acrobatics within them. Whew!

Tonight, I let Taran bounce around on the longe line before Fuzzypony got on him. He did the same set of antics, combined with some trotting and a bit of cantering. Taran's actually a very good boy on the longe, so despite the bouncing he didn't pull on me and was clearly only performing antics that were comfortable for him. Afterward, we went out for a ride in the side field, followed by a nice long cool-down on the trails as the sun set.

On our ride, Fuzzypony cantered Taran for the first time in four months. Despite the blurriness of this picture, I think you can see the big grin on her face!

I'm not sure either of us ever thought he'd be able to be ridden again, let alone return to full work (for him this means lower-level dressage, trail riding, and foxhunting). It was the work of a crew of people, not the least of which was the fantastic vets and staff at Austin Equine. Thanks to everyone who pulled for Taran's recovery, even against the odds!


  1. That's absolutely amazing! The vets did a fantastic job, but YOU kept it clean. Great work. So happy to see the lil dude roaring around!

  2. Hooray for Taran and kudos to his caretakers for doing such a fantastic job! I bet he's as happy to be done with rehab as everyone else because he looks just as happy as Fuzzypony!