This is the second update on Miss Fifty since the publication of her story on BloodHorse.com. I will continue to post updates about her on this blog, though they will likely only be occasional for the time being. If you have not yet read Miss Fifty’s story, please do so here. Read the most recent update prior to this one here.
One day not long ago during Miss Fifty’s recovery, I allowed her to stand at the end of the barn, overlooking the sights outside – sights she’d never seen before. For minutes, she stood like a statue, her neck extended, her eyes bright, and her ears forward as she took in the new scene. It was one of the happiest I’d seen her since she became mine more than six months ago.
|Miss Fifty looking outside the barn|
Photo by Mary Cage (iPhone photo)
Moments later, however, I led her into a stall, where she could see a limited part of the outside world. It has pained me to watch her be forced to stay in a stall constantly, her only adventure being the few short steps from one stall to another when she periodically moves stalls. But in order for her to heal properly from her two fractured proximal sesamoids – or the small bones located on the back of the fetlock – in her right foreleg (an injury which occurred last September), Fifty has had to stay on stall rest.
At a vet appointment shortly after Christmas, our veterinarian informed us that the daughter of Johannesburg would need to remain stall-bound for at least another three months. At the end of that term, she would need to be x-rayed again in order to determine if she could be hand-walked or turned out.
On the afternoon of April 11, Fifty made her second trip to our veterinary clinic. Our veterinarian examined her leg, noting that – as expected – there was a build-up of scar tissue, before taking x-rays. With anticipation, I held on to the lead attached to her halter as I awaited the x-ray results. Minutes later, the veterinarian emerged, stating that the injury was trying to heal, but the fracture line was still visible. He informed us that it would be at least another three months before she could be turned out in a large area, but we could begin hand-walking her and turn her out in a small pen. However, we are not able to provide her with the latter just yet.
Nonetheless, I was thrilled for Fifty. I hadn’t been expecting for her to be able to be turned out, but the vet’s diagnosis that she could begin being hand-walked was what I’d been hoping for. We will begin with hand-walking her ten to fifteen minutes every other day before easing her into being hand-walked each day. This will expose Fifty to more of the world outside the barn, a world I know she has been anxiously waiting to see.
Hopefully, this will also allow her to calm down even further, as she has shown improvement in that department as well since the first update. During the first few months, she almost seemed like a completely different horse than when I’d initially met her, but she has become more comfortable despite being stall-bound and has showed her truly kind, smart self.
I will begin walking Fifty around a round pen, allowing her to finally enjoy time out of her stall. The path to recovery is a lengthy one, but as trialing as it has been, we will continue to strive to help Fifty. It has been a roller-coaster ride, but Fifty is worth it.