From Endurance to Dressage
As promised, here is how I wrap something really low on the leg.
#1 - Get it Clean
First clean the wound as well as possible. For this wound, I've been using baby shampoo and then toweling the leg dry. I also squirt Betadine on the wound just before wrapping to prevent infection.
#2 - Soak with Saline
Since the wound is only about the size of a quarter, I am cutting the hydrophilic foam pads into fourths. Use a clean container for some saline. Press the foam down and squeeze gently so that it absorbs the saline. Since the container is clean, and I don't need a sterile solution, I just snap the lid back on after I am finished, adding more saline as needed.
#3 - Cover with a Hydrophilic Foam Pad
Place the saline soaked pad directly over the wound. I like to use brown gauze to hold the pad firmly in place. It doesn't do much good if the pad slips off the wound. If you're worrying about applying the gauze and elastic bandage too tightly - a legitimate concern, use a roll of cotton sheet bandage between the pad and the brown gauze so that when you pull everything tight, the cotton will prevent the gauze and elastic bandage from pulling too tightly. I did not use cotton.
#4 Wrap with Elastic Bandage
Dr. Tolley likes to create a twist to "anchor" the elastic bandage which keeps it from sliding up too much. I don't have a lot of success with this technique, but it does slow the creep-up. If the horse is shod, try to get the elastic bandage between the bottom of the hoof and the shoe. This also keeps the elastic bandage from creeping upwards.
#5 - Cover it Smoothly
Finish applying the elastic bandage, leaving it pressed smooth without anything to grab the tail end of the bandage which could cause it to loosen and unwind.
#6 - Duct Tape
I like to finish off the bandage with a layer (or 5) of duct tape. Use caution though; duct tape doesn't breath, bend, or flex very well. You obviously don't want to apply it to hair, but it will stick fairly well to a dry hoof. The instant it gets wet (or cold) however, it tends to slide off.
#7 - Bell Boot Cover
Depending on where the wound is, I like to add a bell boot. For a hoof abscess, I don't use a bell boot because I don't bandage very high up the pastern, and I don't need a rub on top of an abscess. Since this wound is below the pastern, and since the pastern is well protected, I use a bell boot to discourage chewing at the bandage. Chew stop also helps.
#8 Repeat as Needed
Be prepared to rewrap daily if the horse is a walker. Horses in pain tend not to do much walking which will keep the bandage in place for another day or two. Izzy isn't in any pain, plus, I am riding him daily which means I pull it off in the morning, ride, and then reapply.
This method will get the wound healed, but it does take persistence, patience, and lots of duct tape - the more the better.
It has been a hot minute since I've had to deal with a wound, injury, or illness. I guess the universe thought I could handle one more thing. Thanks? Fortunately, this go-round doesn't seem bad.
After we got back from Nashville a week ago Tuesday, I headed out to the barn early Wednesday morning to check on my boys. I know them so well that it takes me seconds to spot anything amiss. Right away I noticed a dime sized patch of bare skin just above Izzy's coronary band. I gave it a gentle poked and was a bit concerned at how spongey it felt, but without any oozing, heat, or puffiness, there wasn't much to do other than wait and see.
Each day, I gave it a quick check and a feel. For five days, it did nothing. Then on Monday, the 4th of July to be exact, it burst open and drained. Rather than being upset, I was relieved. Doing nothing usually means a wound is doing something inside which is not usually a good thing. I scrubbed off the discharge and gauged the size of the wound. Happily the worrisome spot was no bigger than a nickel, and things looked pretty good.
As luck would have it, the vet was out that same day for one of the ranch mares who was a bit colicky after the neighbor's fireworks party the night before. He asked how my horses were, and I mentioned that I would be calling the next morning to ask about a small wound Izzy had on his foot. Before he left for the day, Dr. Gonzalez came over and gave the wound a quick glance. He didn't seem too worried about it but suggested I wrap it to keep a summer sore from developing. The Habronema fly has been causing some problems in our neck of the woods.
On Tuesday, the wound looked a little bigger, so I wrapped it. On Wednesday morning, it seemed a bit bigger still, so I put on a different kind of wrap. Yesterday, it had grown to the size of a quarter and was looking much like ground hamburger which is not a healthy look for a wound. Fair warning, the picture below is a teeny bit off putting.
I snapped the photo below and sent it to Dr. Tolley over at Bakersfield Large Animal Hospital. Within twenty minutes he was on the phone giving me his thoughts. He agreed that it was probably some type of abscess. He asked a few questions, but since he knows me so well, he already knew what my answers would be: No, there hadn't been any heat or swelling. No external signs of infection. No loss of appetite. And while I hadn't taken Izzy's temperature, I had considered it, but with zero indicators of a fever, I didn't do it. And finally, no, Izzy was 100% sound. Photo below ...
Dr. Tolley advised me to keep a close eye on it and to keep it clean and wrapped. Wrapping is something I know well. If you want to read about the many types of wraps I know how to do, read how I wrapped Izzy's leg every other day for a year. You'll have to start at the end and click previous to find the beginning of the series, but you might find something useful. I specialize in leg wraps.
Wrapping the coronary band isn't the easiest wrap to do since horses love to chew these off, but it can be done. Over the years, Dr. Tolley's bandaging preferences have changed. Now, instead of Telfa pads soaked in white lotion, he recommends using hydrophilic foam dressing pads soaked in saline. I applied one of those directly over the wound and held it in place with brown gauze. I covered that with vet wrap and topped the whole thing with a bell boot.
Since Izzy is not lame, and since the wound isn't in a place that experiences a lot of movement like a knee or fetlock, Dr. Tolley gave an okay for Izzy to be ridden while it heals. Again, since Dr. Tolley knows me well, he knows that being ridden hinges on how well the wound is healing. If it is not healing or shows signs of worsening, he knows I'll call back and/or take Izzy in to be seen.
Over the weekend, I'll rewrap it, but I'll take step-by-step photos to show how you can wrap a coronary band and get the bandage to stay. Speedy actually had a pretty nasty wound at his coronary band that took months and months to heal. Near the end, I kept it covered with a sock with the toe cut off. Izzy already ate the top of the bell boot above, but since he has done that so many times before, I have ten or more mismatched bell boots that are missing their mates. As he destroys one, I'll just drag out a "new" one. That's why I never toss a lone sock; you never know when you'll need just one!
Now what, indeed.
In this case, that isn't a figure a speech. Over the weekend, both of my boys saw Dr. Tolley at Bakersfield Large Animal Hospital. While we didn't do any diagnostics or bloodwork, Dr. Tolley did do all of the usual things. He listened to their pulse and respiration, checked their bellies for signs of sand, and gave them both a general once over.
Before doing all of that though, we also put each one on the scale. When Speedy was at his heaviest, he weighed in at 1,005 pounds. He's never been an easy keeper, but since he hasn't been working, he's held his weight really well. He came in at 958 pounds. He got a little thin early in the winter, so I upped his daily supplemental feed. I was happy to see that his weight has held steady at over 900 pounds.
The big brown horse, a beast by most any standard, surprised us all. Dr. Tolley couldn't believe how big and solid Izzy is. He remarked several times that Izzy has really blossomed. He agreed that there isn't an ounce of fat on that horse; he is solid muscle. I was sure he'd hit the 1,400 mark this time, but nope. He came in exactly at 1,350 pounds like always.
That morning, Izzy's poop was super splatty. I am still trying to test out how frequently to use the GastroElm, if at all, so I went from once a week to none. At exactly the two-week mark, I got piles like the one you see in the photo above. Gross. Doctor Tolley agreed that products don't work forever. He said that psyllium, great for removing sand, is also a general fix-it-all for tummy imbalances. I'll be starting Izzy on a seven-day treatment this week. It also seems like I should use the GastroElm once a week until I can find something to trade off with.
Once we were inside, Dr. Tolley started with Speedy. His separation anxiety is harder to overcome with drugs, so we always do him first. Izzy screams and hollers, but he isn't likely to hurt himself like Speedy might. And once Speedy gets all jacked up on adrenaline, it's harder to sedate him for the dental work. Izzy screamed the entire time, but with a little cocktail and me by his side, Speedy didn't even notice.
Dr. Tolley has been Speedy's dentist for fifteen years. When he looked in Speedy's mouth, he proudly stated, "this horse has the best teeth of any older Arabian." It's because of Dr. Tolley of course. He is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to teeth. After doing his exam, he handed his head lamp to me so that I could do my own inspection. I always tell him what I see or feel and he either agrees with me or redirects me. Speedy needed very little work this year. Dr. Tolley believes that horses have an easier time in their senior years if you do annual work on their teeth.
Big brown horse didn't need much work either. Dr. Tolley did the same exam and followed the same process. He starts with power tools and finishes off by hand for the detail work. He works efficiently so that the horses are done quickly with as little drama as possible. When Izzy was done, he joined Speedy in his own catch pen to sober up a bit. I walked back to the office to chat with the ladies, get vaccination certificates, and wait for my bill.
The doctors and staff at Bakersfield Large Animal Hospital are really phenomenal. They know their clients and treat them as friends and family. There is an unpretentious atmosphere that I really appreciate. I wish I could have the same type of relationship with my dogs' vet, but they barely let clients in the door. Dr. Tolley welcomes my hands-on approach, probably because he knows that a hands-on owner detects problems much more quickly than the other kind.
While I love going to the vet for routine care, I hope I don't see them again for at least six months.
That is the politest way to say how I am feeling which is closer to holy shite, Batman! If you've been reading somewhat regularly, you'll probably remember that in the spring, Speedy developed a summer sore in his urethra. Here are all of the previous posts detailing our battle against that malady.
Part 1 - Oh, Boy
Part 2 - Oh, Boy Was That Ever Gross
Part 3 - Still Gross
Part 4 - Speedy's Junk
I have probably mentioned Speedy's summer sore here and there in passing since that last post, but that was the final one specifically devoted to his man parts, until today that is.
On Thursday afternoon, the temperature was still in the high 80s, so rather than ride Izzy, I decided to remove Speedy's penis sock. Our fly season is nearly over but so are my opportunities for giving baths. We have a big storm rolling through today, but we might have one or two more warm afternoons in November. Since the horses' winter coats are coming in, I don't like to get them all the way wet unless I know they have all afternoon to dry off, especially Speedy. I realized that Thursday's warm weather was probably my best and last chance to soak Speedy without having him shiver.
To the rest of the world, what I am about to describe would be gross enough to make anyone gag and turn tail and run. Those of you who love your boys as much as I love mine know that sometimes, the only way to get a job done is to simply hitch up your britches, roll up your sleeves, and put your hair in a pony tail (no pun intended).
First of all, that sock was so stiff with dried urine and caked-on dirt that it was unbendable. It was as stiff as cardboard. I figured with a bit of water and a handful of Excalibur Sheath Cleaner, I could get it to slide off like an old bandaid. I was wrong, very wrong. I can't imagine how uncomfortable that has been for Speedy. Next summer, I have a different plan for protecting his nether region from the flies. Neither vet at Bakersfield Large Animal Hospital had any idea that sock would last more than a week or so. That it endured for four months was beyond their comprehension.
I started by squirting water up into Speedy's sheath to soak the the sock. When that did nothing but cover me in urine tinted water, I poured Excalibur into my hand and reached as deep into his sheath as I could, spreading the gelatinous goo all over the sock and the top of his penis. I alternated rubbing the Excalibur all over the sock with flushes of water from the hose. At the end of fifteen minutes, my only accomplishment was annoying the heck out of Speedy. The sock was still firmly attached.
I decided to tackle the probable a different way. Instead of Excalibur, I tried softening the adhesive holding the sock with baby shampoo. I sudded up, reached my soapy hand into his sheath, and began massaging and rubbing the stiff edges of the sock in hopes of getting a bit of movement from the bandaging material. No luck. Speedy was getting crankier by the moment, and truthfully, I couldn't blame him. As gentle as I was, I knew it must have been painful to have a sticky bandage being pulled repeatedly from his penis, especially so since it wouldn't come off.
Every few minutes, I acknowledged his I am trying really hard not kick you, lady threats and gave him a break. He never actually kicked, but his hind leg was cocked and ready to fire. He also kept swinging his head around to glare very pointedly at me.
After thirty minutes of getting nowhere, I finally called the vet and asked for some advice. According to Dr. Gonzalez, I was doing everything right, but he did suggest a calming agent. I am not sure why I didn't think of that, but I thanked him profusely and grabbed a tube of Dormsosedan Gel. Dr. G recommended that I give Speedy 1.5mL and allow it to work for at least 20 minutes. I keep the Dormosedan on hand for the 4th of July as Speedy gets really anxious when the neighborhood fireworks get too bad. I gave him a dose under his tongue and sat down to wait.
Speedy's penis never dropped all the way, but he did drop just enough that I was finally able to work one end of the Elastikon free. While keeping a tight grip on his penis, I was able to unwrap the bandage bit by bit. I know it was uncomfortable for Speedy, but once I had it going, I did lots of super quick pulls in an effort to unwind the bandage. To both our utter relief, the sock finally slid off. I gave Speedy a big pat and let him rest. After that, I had to reach in a few more times to pull off the crust that was adhered to his penis. With a bit more Excalibur, I gave his sheath and penis a final scrub, and then I rinsed everything gently and very thoroughly.
As soon as I was sure everything was clean, I unclipped his lead rope so Speedy could graze on the lawn. Instead, he gave his head a shake and gaily trotted away from me as fast as he could. That was a great sign. Almost immediately, he found his pee spot and let his penis drop. I hurried over to where he was squatting and gave his penis a good visual inspection as he peed. Everything looked bright pink and healthy. Over the next few days, I felt for any swelling and looked closely at his urethra and was relieved to see everything looked good.
While the penis sock did its job, I am not sure the difficulty of removing it was worth it. Poor Speedy!
For my horses, and only for my horses. The way things are going right now, I might not be using it for a while.
On Saturday, I stopped by my local feed store for some beet pulp and rice bran. Hanging on the door was a sign saying they had dewormer. When I walked up to the counter, I laughed about the sign and asked what that was all about. Apparently, there is now an ivermectin shortage. First it was toilet paper, then it was computer chips for cars, and now it is dewormers.
When I asked why, the clerk said she didn't know, but the gal who runs the place can't get it back in stock. None of her suppliers have any. We both whipped out our phones and did some searching. We both found article after article reporting the same thing: feed stories around the country are now keeping dewormers behind the counter, and in some cases, requiring proof of horse ownership before they'll sell a tube.
I shook my head in bafflement. So did she. The media would like me to believe that every looney tune across the country has decided to hoard ivermectin to use as an antidote against COVID. Other media would like me to believe that the government has forced manufacturers to reduce the production of ivermectin so that the medical field can't prescribe it to combat COVID. I am certain that there is a reasonable explanation for the "shortage," but I don't know what it is.
Based on my vet's recommendation, I deworm with ivermectin twice a year; once in the spring and once in the fall. I almost always have fecal tests done first, but I've been a bit lazy about that this year. My horses always have a zero eggs per gram result, but I use the dewormer anyway. There is a long explanation why, again, based on my vet's recommendation, but that's not today's topic.
I generally deworm in November after the first few cold days of the fall, not that it actually gets "cold" here. When I buy my ivermectin boxes, I usually get them in groups of three or four. Once I made it home from the feed store, I checked my medical drawer to see if I still had a few boxes left. I didn't, but I did find a brand new bottle of prednisolone, a box of Prascend, and some whitening shampoo. I like to buy things in advance.
If I am ordering from Dover or another online tack shop, I'll often throw in a few tubes to meet the free shipping requirement or to just round out my order. With nothing else to buy, I decided to hit up Amazon first. The price of ivermectin there has shot up several hundred percent. The last time I ordered ivermectin from Amazon, I paid under $12.00 for 3 tubes - about $3.50 a tube. The price is now closer to $18 a tube.
Before paying such a ridiculous price, I took a peek at the Riding Warehouse, my go-to for most everything equine related. Fortunately, the fine folks over there have only raised their price a tiny bit, if at all. I was able to buy four tubes for under $34 - $7.95 a tube. More expensive than I feel is normal, but it was an acceptable price.
I don't understand the world right now, but it's making me very angry.
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%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2022 Show Schedule
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%