I suppose by now, I should expect it. The completely unexpected, that is.
I was caravanning to the Whidbey Island One Day Event with Tracy and her daughter, we were planning on leaving Stoneybrook at 12:30 — and since we were on the road by 1:00, that I was counting as a huge victory. Kip loaded relatively easily, it just took a couple of circles, and Bodie standing at the front of the trailer, his head visible through the window, for Kip to step on to the trailer.
I had Kip’s shipping boots on, because he has been known to step sideways and pull a shoe off while trailering.
Traffic was not bad, and we made good time, even through Everett, where it can get pretty sticky. We turned onto Highway 20 and made it over Deception Pass, a bit nerve-wracking pulling a trailer. Not only are those bridges high, they are really narrow; and it is a tourist spot, so people are everywhere. But we were fine. As we drove along 20, a hawk dived toward Tracy’s truck, narrowly missing it — it was freaky, I can’t imagine what that bird thought it saw.
Driving through Oak Harbor, where Highway 20 makes a turn to the west, I felt a big lurch. It was odd, because the road seemed smooth there, and I hadn’t noticed a big dip or anything. But in town, in traffic, sometimes you can’t see the road as much as you’d like. All seemed quiet now, and we would be there in 10 minutes, at the outside.
We pulled in, and quickly scoped out which corrals we wanted, and went to unload the horses. I opened the door and immediately saw Kip had hurt his leg, there was blood on the shavings. His left hind shipping boot was laying on the floor of the trailer, and I could see lacerations on his leg. His sock was red.
In retrospect, what I think happened, is that when we took the turn in Oak Harbor, he stepped sideways to steady himself, caught the edge of the shipping boot, pulling it partway off. Then in trying to get it the rest of the way off, Kip kicked out, which made it flap, and suddenly become terrifying, and so had to be escaped from NOW, he kicked hard, and it came off. But I think in kicking it off, he wedged his hind leg in the angle made between the divider and the trailer wall, and the pressure of it opened up his leg.
But I figured all that out later. After unloading, I put him in a corral, and got my first aid supplies out of the trailer, and Tracy went to the bulletin board and found the number for a local Vet. I really owe Tracey, she was so much help in this crappy situation. Anyhow, we cold-hosed the leg, and I could take a look at it finally, and could see a couple of the cuts were to the bone. It doesn’t take much to get there on a horse’s leg, they are just skin, ligaments, and bone. But I knew we’d need stitches. The cuts were all very fresh and bleeding, so it had just happened — which is what leads me to believe it happened in Oak Harbor.
The Vet arrived very quickly – it turns out she just happened to be driving by and Tracy saw her and told her about Kip – she never got my phone call, because it was the end of the day, and her phone was dead. But Tracy flagged her down, and directed her to our corral. She sedated Kip, and cleaned up the wounds. Five stitches and twenty staples. He will need to be on antibiotics for seven days, and can have his stitches and staples removed at fourteen to twenty days.
I stayed overnight, because you can’t trailer them after being sedated like that. He was a pretty good boy, and did not demolish his corral, like last time. So that was a victory.
He stepped right on the trailer in the morning, although he stared banging and carrying on the moment he was loaded. We need to work on being a little more relaxed about trailering. (sigh. This situation will make that harder, I fear.) And I need to do standing wraps and bell boots instead of shipping boots. It is always something. Anyway, we drove home with no incidents.
He does not seem to be lame. The vet said I could ride on Sunday — that is today, so we will see.
I had been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time, and I am so disappointed. I don’t believe there is anything I could have done, short of having a crystal ball, to keep this from happening. You know why I think it happened? I did not do my Lucky Manicure.