From Endurance to Dressage
I know I am being overly cautious, but I am not taking any chances!
I am still wrapping Izzy's leg with the mini bandage, but it finally occurred to me this week that I should probably stop using the white lotion. White lotion is a lead acetate product that serves as an irritant to the skin which prevents over granulation. Since there is no longer a hole in his leg and the skin has epithilialized, I should probably stop irritating it.
I don't feel comfortable going completely bandage free though, so I have switched out the white lotion in favor of a small smear of Biozide Gel, an antibacterial and antifungal goo.
Way back in the beginning, when this whole thing started, Biozide Gel was Dr. Tolley's wound dressing of choice. When the tissue began to over-granulate, or develop proud flesh, we had to switch to the white lotion. Now that proud flesh is no longer an issue, my plan is to use the Biozide Gel with a loose bandage for a week or so.
If all looks well on Sunday, I am going to paint the very center of the scar with a liquid bandage, but I need to wean the leg off the bandage. Even though the current bandage is not a pressure bandage, I've learned that even the slightest pressure needs to be removed gradually. Instead of using both the cotton layer and the Vet Wrap, I am going to omit the cotton and wrap the Vet Wrap as loosely as I can, changing it out every other day.
If that looks good after a week, I'll try to leave the Vet Wrap off for several hours and re-wrap each day. I'll be on Christmas vacation by that time so I'll be at the barn for longer periods each day. Hopefully I'll be able to see any swelling before it becomes a problem.
I'll keep you posted!
I know I said I was done with updates, but the wound didn't finish up as I had hoped. Bleck.
If you're new here, Izzy sustained a pretty massive laceration in January while under the care of a trainer. You can read the first and second posts here. The rest of the posts can be found by visiting "Izzy's Leg" in my posts by topic.
It's not that there is, or was, anything horrible going on with it, it just won't finish healing. I am starting to feel hopeful however, as the wound has made a giant leap forward of late.
I wish I had pictures, but I got so irritated that I sort of stuck my head in the sand and rationalized that if I quit taking photos, the situation would resolve itself. I guess that's sort of what happened.
Once I quit wrapping it the last time (early September), that tiny little bit that had a tiny little scab didn't just dry up and go away. It got bigger week by week until there was a small hole in his leg. And then this weird bump started to grow which was accompanied by an oily discharge when squeezed.
Oh for the love of God! That was all I could say day after day. Now what?!?!?!
I watched that little bump grow and fester and just kept my head in the sand. It wasn't particularly painful, anyone will flinch if you poke them hard enough, and it wasn't changing colors or developing an odor, so I just left it. Until I couldn't stand it anymore.
In late October, I started wrapping it again with the white lotion, but I made the wrap as simple and pressure-free as possible. I soaked a tiny strip of Telfa pad with white lotion and wrapped it in place with a thin piece of cotton roll to hold the Telfa pad over the wound. I topped that with two to three layers of Vetwrap to keep everything in place. I changed the bandage every other day as before.
When I took the horses in to see Dr. Tolley for vaccinations and fecals in early November, I showed him Izzy's leg and asked him what to do next. As I mentioned in that post, Dr. Tolley thought it looked fine and encouraged me to stick with it. He also recommended using a liquid bandage once I take this bandage off. The part that I hadn't shared before is that Dr. Tolley had a possible explanation for the slow healing.
He suggested that there might have been a foreign body, such as a bone fragment, lodged in the center of the wound that was preventing it from healing completely. Given the way it has behaved over the past two months, I am pretty sure that diagnosis holds water.
I took the photo on the left a few days before Thanksgiving. It actually looked better in person. The scab was paper thin and for the first time, it looked knit together. I took the photo on the right a few days after Thanksgiving. Notice that there is only new pink skin and no scab!
Up until this point, there has always been the slightest gap in the center of the scab. I am going to continue wrapping it until there is no scab and the skin looks like the rest of the scar. And even then, I might bandage for another week after that before I apply the liquid bandage (which I have ready and waiting).
I've been teasing myself lately about my impatience. This first happened on January 6, 2015. Wouldn't it be fitting if January 6, 2016 turns out to be the day it's officially "healed?" I won't be at all surprised if it takes another 6 weeks for that skin to really heal tightly.
If I had known last January that the trainer's prediction of "10 days" was going to be a year... But I didn't, which was probably for the best!
Before we left for Phoenix this past weekend, I wrote a blog post about taking both boys to the vet for vaccinations. I didn't realize how many people have been following Izzy's leg wound story and recent lameness. Based on some of your comments, there are some out there who are a bit worried. I guess I need to fill in some blanks.
First off, Speedy is happy and well. He is not thrilled with all of the recent leg yield work, but he is kicking some serious butt at the canter transitions. At Second Level Test 1, you have to do a simple change of lead through walk on a serpentine. I am desperate to get to that test, so I am schooling that particular movement to the best of our ability.
Right now, in my short court, he can do the change of lead through trot on centerline. This means we canter to the quarter line, make the change of lead at centerline and canter around the half circle to the next quarter line where we do a quick downward transition to trot. We do a change of lead on centerline again and canter the next half circle to C or A where we start over.
Since it's a short court, my half circles are only about 15-meters. Even so, Speedy can still get the lead change on the centerline every. single. time. The dude rocks it. The simple change is coming.
Izzy is also happy and well. The soreness, whether from a bruise or not, seems to be healed completely. Late last week I was finally able to get in several schooling rides that included walk, trot, and canter. I didn't feel a single mis-step. The rides weren't exactly pretty, but we spiraled down to the far end in the trot in both directions and did a bit of canter work.
Chemaine will be here this coming weekend for Casual Clinic #3, so we will have plenty to work on.
As far as his leg wound, it really doesn't look bad at all. I am just frustrated that I am still dealing with it. I want to be addressing the scarring, not the wound itself. There is still a teeny tiny part that doesn't want to close over completely.
Sorry for the poor photo, but by the time I get to the barn, the light is pretty bad. You can see the little part that I am talking about. It's the circular area right in the middle. It has a little scab on it, which I am hoping is a real scab this time and not just the cap to proud flesh.
Over the past two months, the scab had been closing over the top, but proud flesh was growing underneath. I would pick the scab off only to find over-granulated tissue underneath. Right now, this scab seems right, so I am leaving everything alone.
So there you have it - two healthy horses. They're both getting ridden regularly, and everyone is fit, healthy, and happy.
Alright. This should be my last update on Izzy's leg. It seems to have healed over completely although if you look really closely at the center of the wound, you can see a tiny area that has a scab that should probably be picked off. I am done with scab picking though, so it can just dry up and fall off on its own.
There is zero swelling anymore and he's sound as a dollar (and has been since day one). Now all that's left is for the scar to shrink and fade away. Many of you have recommended a variety of oils or treatments to help reduce the scar, but I've hesitated until I was certain that the wound was closed completely. As of the end of August, I feel confident that this puppy is done.
This has been a very long process, all of which started with a phone call on January 6, 2015. I first saw the laceration on January 10th wherein I immediately placed a call to my fabulous vet, Dr. John Tolley of Bakersfield Vet Hospital. When he saw the wound, he shook his head in disgust at the treatment vet's care and later diagnosis. The treatment vet claimed it would heal in ten days. This has been the longest "ten days" in the history of the world!
Over the past eight months, I regularly photographed the healing process. For the first five or six months, I took a photograph each time I re-wrapped the wound, which was every other day for four months. Let's just say that I have a lot of photos! In the early months the wound showed rapid changes from one week to the next. Here's an example.
Towards the end of the healing process, the skin took much longer to knit together, or epithelialize. I was slower to take photos during that period as the changes were almost impossible to see.
In early April, the wound looked nearly closed, and my vet gave the okay to remove the pressure bandage. That night, the leg swelled up enormously, tearing the skin open which set us on a course of frustration. Each time I removed the bandage for a day or two, the leg would re-swell, tearing open the wound again.
Throughout the summer, I began reducing the size of the bandage and eliminated much of the padding while also wrapping it looser and looser. Eventually, the bandage put about as much pressure on the leg as a sock. I then weaned the leg of even that bit of pressure by removing the bandage for several hours a day. Eventually I was able to wrap for 24 hours and then leave the bandage off for 24 hours.
Ultimately, I removed the bandage completely and let the leg's circulatory system struggle to re-establish its equilibrium, much to Izzy's and my relief. That was in early August. I continue to pick at it now and then, but like I said earlier, I am kind of over the scab-picking thing. Now, I use a jelly scrubber on it each day to remove any dead pieces of skin or loose scabs. He's not sensitive to the touch, and the skin is thick and hard. At this stage, the skin is tough enough that I don't even use polos or leg wraps anymore when I ride.
Over the past eight months, I've been adding photos to a slide show. It's just over three minutes long and includes a remake of Jim Croce's "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," sung by Josh Turner. The first dozen photos are a bit graphic, so if you're squeamish, peek through your fingers for those.
And with that, here's a time lapsed video of Izzy's leg laceration from start to finish.
Izzy's leg is still attached to his body. It also still has a tiny hole in it. The hole has closed and opened several times due to the nature of wounds. While a bandage was obviously necessary to aid in the healing process, it ultimately has proven to be a detriment in the later stages of healing.
Each time I would phase out the bandage, the leg would swell, stretching the skin until it burst open. Once the wound was small enough, I quit bandaging. We are now dealing with a very small area that is struggling to close, but I am pretty sure that once it closes this time, it will stay closed.
There are just things on which I would rather not become an expert. Bandaging a large laceration on an equally large equine would be one of them!
I was a bit discouraged when I shared the last update. All I could think was this thing is never going to heal. I am definitely encouraged now. It's so close to be completely epithelialized, and since I haven't wrapped it in weeks, there is no more swelling and no chance of the wound bursting back open.
I've included 8 photos in the slide show, one for each month of healing. The photos were all shot almost exactly 30 days apart with the exception of the June photo. I was on vacation and forgot to get a photo before I left.
It's almost finished ...
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: