Monday, July 20, 2009

Missy Heals

I was recently asked by a friend and blog reader how Missy was doing. I realized it had been three months since her injury and I hadn't updated everyone about her progress.

Thanks to Dawn's dilligence and patience, Missy's tendon injury is healing well. Dawn cares for her daily with feeding, grooming, dressing the injury, and tending to her as anyone would a family member. Missy has flexion in her foot and while she walks with a slight hesitation in her left rear leg, full function of the tendon is apparently returning.

The next step in Missy's recuperation is thirty days of controlled walking with small increases in distance. In the photo above, Dawn and our friend, Leelee, are walking Missy down the driveway and back. While the photo shows a happy threesome, shortly after I took the picture, Missy tried to turn loose by rearing and kicking. Leelee's husband, Tim quickly took the lead ropes so she couldn't get loose and my son, Andy, who was nearby, came over to calm Missy down by setting some firm limits. Missy's behavior was dangerous and discouraging to Dawn.

This summer Dawn had hope to get starte with Missy's training, something she'd looked forward to since last year. After the injury, Dawn not only couldn't begin her training, but she had real concerns about her full recuperation. Now she was face with another bump in the road toward Missy's recovery: a new development in her behavior that would make it difficult to continue and help her heal well. Dawn worried that the aggressive behavior might continue.

After nursing along many confined foals and other horses, we've found that confinement can easily breed agitation and aggression in any horse. This doesn't necessarily last a lifetime. Once they're turned out they settle down and return to exhibit their original personality. We believe this will be the case for Missy. Three months of confinement is as difficult mentally for a horse as it would be for any living thing. The need to be out and about and to be with other horses is critical. So, we can imagine Missy being as frustrated and aggressive as she was as she tried to get free.

Throughout her experience, Dawn is gaining a sense of resiliency in dealing with the ups and downs of Missy's recovery. She views Missy's aggressive behavior as a bump in the road and while it was upsetting to see, it must and can be dealt with in a practical way by continuing with their controlled walks with Andy's help. Dawn's commitment to Missy's full recovery has yielded good results after the first three months and will most likely result in a good outcome for Missy long term.

Missy's next step will be work in the round pen. I'll keep you posted!

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