Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Riley says "Hey, this ain't no SPA!"

Riley's surgery is not until tomorrow, but they asked that we bring him in the day before. As it happens, we hitched a ride with another horse going to the same clinic so we left this morning with them at 7:45am. The hour's drive during rush hour was made all the more exhilarating when an overturned tractor trailer brought I-78 to a standstill. We got off at the nearest exit and hoped to find an alternate route. We were lucky, and arrived only ten minutes late for the other horse's appointment.

All of those breed shows, plus a pretty mild temperament, have made Riley a seasoned and easy-going traveler. He went into his stall, rolled, and started eating like he'd always lived there. I rubbed him down and picked the shavings out of his tail. He was munching hay and watching the clinic activity like it was a TV show. I left by 10:30am and stopped at Horseman's Outlet on the way back. Got Harv a nice saddle pad for under $20 and replaced Riley's cheapo brushes with a couple of natural bristle ones. Grooming will be his main recreation for awhile...

Questions answered, rads on disc!

I talked to Jessica, the surgeon's assistant, and got copies of his x-rays, so you can actually see what's happenin'...

Whole hoof shot: This is the right front. Can you see the margin irregularity?
Speckles are probably duct tape adhesive...

Closeup. You have to look close for the toe notch.
My local vet did a good job of locating the key area, don't you think?

Horses can lose up to 25% of the pedal bone, no worries. You can see from the radiographs he hasn't lost much bone, really. That's good! While I was at the clinic I also got a little more info about what specifically is happening tomorrow...
  • Surgery is at 1pm and should take 1.5 to 2 hours. Jessica told me that Dr. M---- will call me after Riley is standing and walking. "Oh, no need to call, I'll be here!" I told her. Thank goodness I'm on vacation.
  • Bad news: Riley will be under general anesthesia for the procedure. More risk--more expense, too--but mostly more risk. I'm sure it will facilitate the surgeons job, though.
  • Good news: They are hopeful that they'll only have to drill a hole into his hoof, not anything more invasive. They don't know yet, can't promise, but that is their initial thought.
  • They may be able to trim up his hooves (he's at 5 weeks) prior to the surgery. He may not feel like getting trimmed/shod for a looong time afterward.
  • If the minimal procedure is possible, his layup time will be less than the 3-4 months I'd planned on, and the bandaging will be relatively cinchy!
So Thursday the 30th, at 1pm, EST, be thinking good thoughts about Riley. We appreciate any waves of positive energy, prayers, Gipper talks, jingles (for you COTH'ers)--bring it on! Start now if you want (research studies show it does help). Tomorrow's post will not be Riley-related but I'll do a quickie update at the top of the post when I get home...


  1. Very interesting to see the xrays.

    My old horse had two surgeries under general anesthesia and he was just fine, so I hope that helps a little with your worry. I'm sure your vets are experts.

    Here's hoping they can do the less invasive correction. That would be so much better for both you and Riley as far as aftercare goes.

    I will send some good vibes and say a special prayer for you both. I am sure it's going to be just fine.

    I take it you have explained everything to Riley already? It will help him understand much better as things go along.

  2. I've got my "good vibe" generator set on EXTRA HIGH for Riley's surgery!

  3. I heard about the accident on I-78...I had a friend showing at Applewood that I went to cheer on and some people were stuck on the highway with horses trying to get to the show for hours! Are we allowed to ask what clinic you went to or is that a on the down low.

    I hope all goes well!

    As the owner of a horse who has had 3 procedures my thoughts are with you and I hope the news is good!

  4. Having had horses go through surgery, I know how anxious you must be. Sending all the positive, healing energy I can send to you and Riley.

  5. Stacey, give Riley a hug and kiss from me. I'd be there too, you couldn't keep me away, so don't forget to think of you through all this!

    I'll be back for the update!

  6. I sure hope that the hole drilling works. I don't want my nephew horse going through THAT! I will keep you both in my prayers. It will be fine he is in the best hands and you made good decision. Good luck Riley boy!!

  7. Sure -- I didn't want to broadcast it in the blog itself, but since you ask, we're at Dr. Furlongs (Furlong and Assoc) and Dennis Milne is doing the surgery.

    So far my experience has been super. They are very caring and meticulous.

  8. Sending good thoughts - he should do well if he's used to dealing with stuff and has a relatively calm temperment. And will send more good thoughts tomorrow!

  9. Sending positive energy your way!

  10. Jingles for Riley! Thinking of you guys today!

  11. My thoughts are with you. I hope the procedure goes smoothly and his recovery time is quick.

  12. My jingles and prayers are w/ you.

  13. Sending positvie vibes, jingles, thoughts and prayers your way for Riley and you. I know it is scary, but it looks like you have a great team...You and Riley will be back in the arena before you know it :)

  14. You and Riley are in my prayers. Sending loads of positive energy your way, too!

  15. Good luck! Hopefully he will pull through the surgery like a champ and you won’t age years from the worry!

    Since stall rest has already proven to test the patience of both of you, maybe you should try trick training? My preferred method of training is with a clicker, for it causes the animal to really think about what behavior is being requested. Plus, it’s easy to modify a behavior into a new one with the use of a clicker.

    I have a dog that is extremely smart; this is a problem. She gets bored very easily! If I don’t do a “clicker session” with her, she’s obnoxious that evening and the next day from boredom! I use part (or all) of one of her meals during the training. She LOVES to train, and not just because of the food!

    With Riley needing to be at a low activity level, the type of tricks you could train would be limited; however, there’s still plenty you can teach him. For example, you can teach him to: pick up an item and give it to you; hold up his hoof (the bad one) and then pivot around in a circle; shake his head “no” and nod “yes”; lift his lip and “smile”; play various instruments (such as nudging a wind chime, tapping a drum with a stick, hit a triangle with a stick, run a stick over a xylophone, bite down on a bike horn, shake a tambourine, etc.); dunk a ball into a basket (or a bucket, whatever you have lying around); bow (if he tucks his bad leg, it might work for him); give you a “kiss” on the cheek; wave a flag; paint (hold a paintbrush in his teeth an rub it over paper); the only limit is your imagination!

    Good luck with everything! Hopefully both you and Riley will stay sane!

  16. Olivia and I send huge jingles to her 1/2 brother Riley! Hopefully this will take care of his abscess issues and he'll be sound in no time and ready to resume his brilliant career as a riding horse.

  17. That's good to hear that is not as bad as it could've been. I'm rooting for a good surgery and a good recovery starting in thirty minutes!! I'll do some warm-up rooting until then, though.


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