Monday, January 2, 2012

Stubborn burn

By the end of the summer that stubborn burn had many ups and downs. It was clear that this had been a 3rd degree burn, while most of the others were 2nd degree. On many days the bandage would be rumpled after turnout, but sometimes the wound itself survived the roll without additional damage. Suki was very good about having the wound cleaned and debrided, often turning her head around to snuffle my leg while I worked. The bandage consisted of 2-3 4 X 4 non-stick gauze pads layered with three, one foot long Elasticon strips (the 3"). Some days the bandage was changed twice, depending on the rolling. Most days there was a small amount of blood on the gauze, which was to be expected. Fortunately we never had a problem with infection.

I continued to lunge Suki 2-3 times a week to keep her mind active. Before the fire lunging equipment consisted of a surcingle or saddle, side reins and a bridle. Without the ability to wear a surcingle or bridle Suki was lunged in a halter. While she still listened attentively and responded promptly, there wasn't a "hand" for her to push her hind end into, so the work was not as difficult. That was fine for the stage of recovery we were in. Remarkably, though, Suki was 100% sound, and the quality of her gaits was evident. Sometimes it was heartbreaking. SOME days, Suki would leap, buck, squeal, etc on the end of the lunge line. Yes, this behavior is frowned upon but I guess I felt that sometimes she just needed to let loose after everything she had been through!

One day as I led Suki out to the arena some of the horses started playing in the fields. Suki passaged next to me as I walked across the gravel parking area. A 17.3 horse who is puffed up with excitement passaging next to you can be a bit intimidating...I growled at her and she came down to a walk. Suki was doing her very best to behave, but kept her neck arched and her eyes twitched in the direction of the other horses. To regain her focus I performed some of the leading exercises that she had been taught. Basically it is just walking forward, stopping, backing and turning right and left. But the exercises have the desired effect: the horse is now focused on the handler instead of other external stimuli!

I continued to try a variety of moisturizers for Suki's skin, but the skin was still becoming dry. It wasn't totally dry and flaky, but I thought it could be better. Lori offered a tub of Elta, which is a petroleum based moisturizer used on human burn survivors. Her son was allergic to it so she had some extra to spare. The Elta seemed to work magic! Suki's skin finally started to improve more rapidly, and the fly sheets developed a sheen on the inside surface that helped protect and moisturize further!

This photo is the burn on Suki's back in September 2010.

January 2, 2012
Last night I just did a quick check on Suki because we had been out all day. She was a little muddy, but overall ok. I think she was a bit insulted to not have our usual hour together and even tried to follow me out of the stall! So funny!

This morning Nikki was full of herselF Granted, yesterday was 50 degrees, and this morning it was 30 degrees when I rode! She was a little wild on the lunge, and when she finally calmed down I got the lash of the lunge whip caught in her tail!! As you can imagine, that did not go over well! Nikki is a big 4 year old, so it can be a little nervewracking if you think she might do that under saddle! But, as usual, as soon as I got on she was focused and ready to work. Such a good baby!

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