I checked in with the vet to discuss putting Cupid back to work, and he prescribed some stretching exercises to help with Cupid's stifles! These exercises involve lifting and stretching Cupid's hind legs - flex straight up, stretch out behind, stretch out underneath him. 10 reps of each move on each leg, so it takes a little time to go through it. Recommended every 2-3 days. Cupid does not seem to enjoy it, but he tolerates it at least.
In the cross ties, waiting for PT to start
Cupid's been very good walking and trotting around the property. We encounter a lot of small animals (rabbits, birds, even deer), and he is not scared if they run out from the bushes. He doesn't mind shadows or puddles. But he doesn't like when there is a new object in a place he's familiar with. The other day it was a pallet of white feed bags stacked in front of the barn, he did not want to walk by. He finally danced past it, I told him he was good boy and we kept going and looped around a few minutes later and walked by it again. A little better the second time but he was still nervous. A few more times and he wasn't bothered anymore.
Ready for a ride
The first ride back in the arena had me concerned because he didn't want to trot at all. I wasn't sure if it was the stifle, or something else that hurt, or if he was just being naughty. I gave him the benefit of doubt and let him just walk. This was before I saw the vet and the vet said I should try to push him a little more - the vet thought he was moving okay and said we need to push him a little. The next time I rode it was outside and he seemed much happier to trot - I don't know if he was in a better mood or prefers the harder ground or just being outside. I also like being outside but unfortunately there aren't too many places we can ride without having to go along a busy road.
There hasn't been much to report in the last few weeks - I've been going out to see Cupid twice a day to turn him out in the morning, refill his water bucket, and change his bandage/check on the wound. For the first few weeks there didn't look like there was much change in the wound, then all of the sudden over the last week it just shrunk and closed up dramatically! Cupid is still wearing a standing wrap because I'm worried about him re-opening the wound, it has become clearly apparent that he is pretty accident-prone!
I put him on the lunge line on Saturday (wrapping his front legs in polos), and he was pretty uncomfortable trotting. His stifles/hind end look really stiff. Hopefully it is just from loss of conditioning, but I'll discuss with the vet if there are any other issues we need to check, and will try to stay away from circles at least initially. Then on Sunday I rode for about 12 minutes, with a few gentle inclines for him to walk up. We'll start gradually working back up.
I've been letting Cupid out in the pasture during the day, and he is happy to be with his buddies. Here's his first turnout in about three weeks.
I watched him for a little while to make sure he's not overdoing it or trying to take his bandage off, but he was good. He is getting more confident with the other horses, not a total pushover any more. He was bossing the new horse around! The big bay following him in the video is his buddy Spiffy, they seem to hang out together most of the day.
On Sunday I clipped reins onto his halter and got on him bareback and just walked around for a few minutes. Even though we didn't do much it felt good after not riding for so long! Cupid was a very good boy. I could feel a little difference that he's put on some weight during his time off, he was a little more comfortable bareback! But I still wouldn't want to trot.
Cupid is slowly healing - no setbacks it's just going to take a while. For the most part he has been a very good patient and has been very tolerant of me cleaning and wrapping his leg. He doesn't seem to mind being in his stall but definitely has a lot of energy when I bring him out and we've had a few adventures. I also feel bad for him because it does get pretty warm in the barn during the day. I've been letting him out before and after work.
One day when I was walking him he stopped and his eyes got huge, and I realized there was a new watering trough in the pasture that was scaring him. But he was also kind of curious about it so we went to take a closer look. Cupid would take a few steps stretching his nose out toward it, then stop and stare. He couldn't decide if he was scared or curious! But he gradually walked up to it, then realized what it was and took a big drink.
A few days ago I was letting him graze and he decided it would be more
fun to go for a gallop instead! I wasn't expecting it and just had a
loose hold on the rope so couldn't stop him. He galloped down the lane
between the paddocks and pastures, and stopped to say hello to the mares
over the fence. He got all the other horses riled up, and ran up and
down the lane a few times then decided he had enough and let me catch
him. Luckily no one was hurt.
Yesterday the vet cauterized the wound, to reduce the granulation tissue and allow skin to grow over it. Cupid was very good during the procedure, we didn't need to sedate him. We might need to do it again in about 2 weeks. The vet said I should switch to a standing wrap instead of vetwrap because it's better for the skin, and that he can be turned out as long as he can keep the wrap on. Cupid will be very happy to hear that!