Hooning and cold hosing

Calais cantering in the run

The horses have been hooning again Thursday morning. Cantering up and back, up and back down the run. Bucking, kicking and carrying on. Calais, the little princess, has bucked shins as a result, and I have spent the past couple of days cold hosing his hind legs. I noticed heat in both shins Thursday afternoon. The swelling was only just visible as a slight bump about half way up the front of his cannon bone on his hind legs. A normal person probably wouldn’t have even noticed, the swelling is so minor. But, I am me, and I have thoroughbreds, so when it comes to legs, I notice every tiny silly little thing.

Bucked shins

It’s tricky when the front of the leg swells, because it’s basically just bone with skin on top. The part that swells is usually the connective tissue, and there really is nowhere for the swelling to go. A severe case of bucked shins can take a long time to heal, with the initial heat often going away quickly, but the residual edema taking a long time to budge.

In such a minor case, I thought cold hosing would be enough to bring down the inflammation, along with a slather of swell-down gel. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.

Later that night, a mob of kangaroos got into the paddock and tore down part of the portable electric fence. The horses panicked and ran loose through the pasture, eventually running straight through part of the electric fence themselves before my partner caught them. They weren’t badly hurt by the electric wire braid, friction burns got rid of some of their chest hair though. When I knew they hadn’t cut themselves on anything, I was more worried about Calais’ injured hind legs copping more concussive damage.

Bucked shins

Sure enough, the following morning the bucked shins were more pronounced. With more cold hosing, more swell-down gel, padding and wrapping the legs with wet bandages, both legs have come down almost back to normal. The left hind still has some heat in it, but as far as bucked shins go they really weren’t that bad to begin with. Sometimes I wonder if my acute eye for unsoundness in the legs is a blessing or a curse? Before I owned thoroughbreds, I probably wouldn’t have noticed such a minor swelling as this. Then again, any other breed of horse probably wouldn’t come down shin sore just from a morning of paddock hijinks. And there’s always the worry that if you don’t jump into first-aid overdrive and hose and wrap every leg, that it could get worse, and then you’ll be wishing you just wrapped the damn legs in the first place.

And I am kicking myself now for not wrapping and bandaging Calais the first night I noticed the swelling. My gut feeling was to wrap the legs, but I didn’t. In truth, I was being a bit lazy. I thought cold hosing would be good enough. More fool me! I should know better than that – I own thoroughbreds!

Calais running

It certainly doesn’t help when all your injured horse wants to do is run! When I tried to catch Calais this morning to take his bandages off, he would not be caught. He trotted off, like it was the most fun game ever. I figure if he’s happy enough to trot away from me, like the naughty horse he is, then it can’t be that bad. No more bandaging for now. Woohoo!

I did give the legs one last hose down, just in case. Old habits die hard!

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