Friday, December 16, 2011

The Dentist: winter 2010

As winter progressed, we tried to keep Suki's bare skin from drying out and allow that last section on her back to heal. The last of the dead skin finally came off, and the wound needed to be maintained with antibiotic ointment and cleaned daily. Healing was slow, as this was a third degree burn, and there were several layers of skin that needed to mend. Suki was pretty cooperative during the treatments, typically eating her hay or grain at the same time.

Little by little we gained more regular access to Suki's head and ears, and when her face was particularly itchy she liked to rub her head up and down while the brush was held in place. It was so funny to watch how she would turn and angle her head to gain access to the itchiest parts of her face. Now that her flexibility was back Suki was also able to bend her body in half and scratch her belly with her teeth. One of my favorite things is watching Suki scratch behind her ear with her hind foot. It seems such an incredible feat for such a large animal to have that kind of balance and flexibility. I found it difficult in the early weeks after the fire to watch Suki attempt to turn to scratch only to stop suddenly because she was not able to bend. I think that her the burned skin was probably very tight and set her off balance.

Soon it was time for the annual dental check up. Suki was still not wearing a halter in February and we quickly realized that we would need to begin to work on this. Suki would not be at the rehab farm forever, and again it was going to be time to transition to life at a regular boarding facility. But the dentist visit was imminent, and restraint was necessary. X, the dentist would be visiting during the day on a weekday, and once again I was not able to be there. Ugggh!

The dentist was aware of Suki's situation, and had actually performed a dentistry on Suki the year before. He was patient and kind. Speaking to her softly, and scratching her face, he was able to slip the halter over her head. The rest of the visit was easy, and I looked at this as a huge milestone!

I knew that come spring, we would be ready to move to a regular boarding situation and Nikki would be ready to come to us after her first month under saddle. It was time to look for a barn for the girls!

December 16, 2011
I can't believe that it is almost the end of 2011! Where has the year gone? So much has happened this year. The skin graft, the Associated Press article, meeting more burn survivors.... Suki lives the normal life of a retired horse, but I know that isn't enough for her. She loves being lunged, but now we are limited by frozen ground, darkness and no indoor arena. I am hopeful that the skin graft area will toughen enough over the winter to allow for a saddle pad and surcingle so that we can begin the work in hand. I think that she will enjoy this. I have plans to speak with a few companies about designing a saddle pad that won't slip and irritate the area. *

* Surcingle: A strap that goes around the horse's belly and sits where the saddle would, but is only about six inches wide and made of leather and/or canvas. There are D rings along the top and sides to allow for the driving lines (long lines) to fit through. It looks like a modified version (and much less complicated)of what you would see on a carriage horse but as the "driver" you are on the ground to the side of the horse.... maybe this picture helps??

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