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Weighing the Pros and Cons

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  • Weighing the Pros and Cons

    So this has been bothering me, I can't sleep.

    I've got a young horse, he's going Novice. This spring we planned to campaign him and hope to have him going training early fall. He's a really special horse, super excited about the season. Anyways, 2 weeks ago today he gets in a 'skirmish' with another gelding, cuts his leg open. (It's half way between his shoulder and knee) Vet comes, diagnosis: it's a lot better than it looks, it's just surface cut, didn't need stiches. Vet even goes to say he can be continued to be ridden as he was.
    Well we were planning on going to an event this weekend, but decided to postpone to the next one which is next weekend.

    Pros: He's sound as ever, there are very few events we can make it to, and he really needs to get exposure.

    Cons: he's got a hole about half the size of your fist in him, and though they say you shouldn't worry about what others think, obviously I don't want my reputation on the line for taking out a horse whose not 'all together' (I don't even like taking out a horse whose not clipped and mane pulled)

    Now there's a week and a half away, so by then it will have gotten better, but I still think it will be noticeable.. What would you do?
    If no one was there, I would have absolutely no worries, but obviously that is not going to happen.
    (This is a rated event as well)

  • #2
    Honestly? If it was me I would stay at home. I couldn't take out a horse with bad cut let alone a "hole half the size of my fist" in him. There is a bit of a difference between giving him some light exercise to keep him ticking over and trailering him to and competing him at an event even if it is only at Novice height.

    A friend had a horse with what sounds like a very similar injury and it took quite a while to heal up.
    Sorry, I hope I haven't been too negative, but that would be my approach on it - I personally wouldn't take out any horse to a competition that wasn't 100%.


    • #3
      I would not run. Instead, if it is not too far afield, tell them the resson you are scratching and offer to volunteer. I did that twice when I had horses with minor injuries. Got a lot of kudos from organizers, etc. And in one case, free xc schooloing for the season, so totally worth it. You probably won't ride your best if you are worried about him and if anything were to happen, it would likely be tough not to second-guess yourself
      OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


      • #4
        It is just now February....missing an event or two will not set him back for the rest of his life, especially when talking novice. Keep him home, let it heal.

        That being said, Vernon bashed his hip leaving his run in one morning at full tilt (I witnessed it and thought for a second he had broken his hip...it REALLY stung). A week or two after the incident, it was still not the prettiest looking thing, but I did take him to an event....however, it was a scrape, not a hole, and not on his leg. And while I worried about it, I don't think anyone really noticed it. You can't even see it in the pictures. (Funny....it was bad enough that it left a scar that got recorded on his passport several months later!).


        • #5
          Don't go. The last thing you want is filthy water from the water jump getting into your horse's leg-hole as it's healing.


          • #6
            You also don't need to spend the day explaining that "it's not as bad as it looks". Those that DON'T ask will just assume the worst. Stay home and let it heal. I second the idea of volunteering.


            • #7
              I guess I would take a wait and see approach.

              See how it looks right before the event. If it is still a pretty open hole...I probably wouldn't take him to compete.

              I might also still plan on taking him if as you say he needs exposure to going to events....if he is so green that he just needs to go be in the atmosphere.

              I had one do something to himself in the trailer down to Aiken. HUGE gash right down his hip and took off the hair in a few other places. He looked like he was the loser of some big battle but nothing was more than cosmetic. His competition was two days later.

              I debated spraying something to make the loss of hair less noticeable...but in the end, just used the silver spray and dealt with the fact that he looked like some kid was doing graffiti over him

              Only a couple people I know even asked me about it...and it was more along the lines "what did he do to himself now?!?". The horse was moving great and sound....that is all people cared about.

              It is far more noticeable to me and troubling to me when I see one head bobbing lame or more often, really short behind....than if I see a horse with gash that is clearly being treated and not bothering the horse. But I would want to be sure that the hole wasn't going to be made worse by competing etc.
              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


              • #8
                Think big picture. One event won't make or break the horse. I'd err on the side of caution and stay home. Not because of what people might think, but because the horse has a wound that isn't healed yet. Give him a chance to perform when he's at his best.
                Click here before you buy.


                • #9
                  I would stay home from what you've told us. Can you post a picture to make sure we understand what this is? A minor surface cut that required no stitches 2 weeks ago vs. a hole half the size of your fist....I'm not sure I understand fully.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Win1 View Post
                    I would stay home from what you've told us. Can you post a picture to make sure we understand what this is? A minor surface cut that required no stitches 2 weeks ago vs. a hole half the size of your fist....I'm not sure I understand fully.

                    That I agree with. I'm picturing two very different wounds based on the description.
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                    • #11
                      Yeah, a slice that didn't need stitches sounds very different from a 'hole'. The former I'd spray with yellow stuff and go, the latter not so much..

                      Third Charm Event Team


                      • #12
                        Okay, so 10 days is a long way away. If you are still riding and exercising him, I would just play it by ear. It's amazing how fast some of these things can heal. Keep him in work, IF! that is what your vet said you could do, and play it by ear.

                        I can't tell you how many times I have seen horses look like death warmed over, and then a couple days later, you hardly notice the cut.....

                        IF couple days out, it is still a "hole", then see what vet thinks, and go from there. You are correct, I suspect if he has a big hole in his leg, people aren't going to understand. I also think if it was that bad, your vet wouldn't have had you keep going on him. Pictures would sure help!

                        JMHO. Good Luck, and please keep us all posted. OH, and if you are in the Ocala area, I have a spray by a vet in TExas, that REALLY helps that kinda thing. He is working on patenting it, but it's WOW. Let me know.
                        May the sun shine on you daily, and your worries be gone with the wind.


                        • #13
                          Ohmygosh. I had this same exact dilemna this past June. My young horse had completed 2 BN events successfully. I was signed up for 2 events--one at the end of June and another the 2nd week in July. The day before the event in June--she gets in a pissing match with the alpha mare in the pasture. Big, ugly wound, but no serious damage. Scratching from the first event was a no-brainer (it was still swollen and raw). But the 2nd event was 3 weeks away. She was sound--and the vet cleared me to ride her, but the gash in her leg needed bandaging and would bleed (and look awful) if it wasn't bandaged. I ended up scratching from the 2nd show (I believe Scubed was the TD, and she nicely informed me that a bandage, even with a vet's note, would not be allowed in dressage). I thought about trying some of those "liquid bandage" things, etc. but ended up scratching.

                          So, at the end of July, I had planned to move up to Novice, and was concerned that (due to the injury) I hadn't been to an event with my greenie since May. In other words, I hadn't been able to stick with the plan I had for our show season. I went ahead and signed up for novice. My mare did not miss a beat--she skipped around the x-c and stadium course. My point? We didn't miss a thing by scratching those 2 events. We even moved up a level after that "downtime" so it really didn't make a difference in our season. We moved up and went on to do the rest of our season without any other hiccups.