“The greatest deterrent
to freedom are men and women of zeal, well-meaning, but
without knowledge or understanding.”
~Justice Louis Brandeis~

"People are so quick to defend their own agendas, but they so often fail to realize we must protect the rights of all if we are to continue to have any rights of our own."

Ranch meaning, in general, any real world dwelling probably not involving full care board. Kind of a rural voice of real horse owners, trainers, traders, auction owners, rodeo contractors, etc.. all of us who have taken a verbal beating and called greedy ass hats. Back at the Ranch contributors, moderators, subjects, and so on, are pro-horse, pro-owner, and pro-slaughter.
Back at the Ranch was formed by a group of like minded horse / livestock owners. It is a place for us to try to educate, a place to vent our frustrations with the current equine industry, a place to share humor and snark, and in general try to open the eyes of the public who seem to be anti-agriculture.We do have a section for comments of course, and if you would like to email us you can do so directly or through the contact us form. We like to hear from our readers. I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as I enjoy managing it.
Ranch Manager

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sometimes You Have to Play a Hunch and Hope for the Best……

I had a call from an acquaintance/client early this spring. He was given two starved out yearlings a couple years ago. I am not sure about the details of the transaction but young cowboys tend to shift jobs early on in their careers. I think that’s probably true of many young people, but when young hands move on the situation and number of horses they can take with them often changes and this was the case for the first owner of Woody and his half brother Ike. So they came to live with Mark. Ike was ridden some as two year old last year and was well on the way to becoming a productive horse citizen. Woody on the other hand was not so lucky. He jammed a piece of wood in his stifle as a two year old. The vet probed the wound which at the time was dangerously close to the joint capsule so the least invasive treatment was taken. There was no indication of any remaining pieces during the original exam and the horse healed over once but continued to have problems.

Mark brought Ike for a tune up this spring so he could take him west for the brandings as he always does his young horses. Woody’s future was in question since he was still having problems with his stifle. Mark and I discussed this too. Although he had spoken with two different vets in the area about why the wound wouldn’t heal, he hadn’t pursued treating the horse. First the cost issue and second since the current infection was at a higher location closer to the flank the vets seemed to think there was a new injury in combination with the old. The long and short, no one was quite sure what to do. The Ciderwood/Leo Maudie bred gelding had dropped from “rescue” to “unwanted” to “what the hell am I going to do with this thing”. To put off what he thought was the inevitable Mark wanted to give him to me. It's been said everyone has several 15 minute bouts of insanity during their life. This was one of mine. I said I would take the colt, turn him out and do what I could, but if by the end of the year I hadn’t been able to fix him Mark had to take him back to put him down. I liked Ike and before he was hurt Woody had supposedly been the better of the two. That’s the best excuse I can come up with for taking Woody in the first place. It sounds so much more business-like than I didn’t like the thought of the crippled colt being stuck in a load of killers. Obviously neither did Mark.

I have to admit even I wasn’t prepared for the deformed rack of bones that came off the trailer. What should have been a big ranchy looking colt was thin, sickly, and his entire left side from the shoulder back was atrophied. He looked like a polio stricken concentration camp refugee. Turning this horse out in the hill pasture was not going to be an option. It certainly wasn’t going to fix the problem and he more than likely wouldn’t survive the stress of heat and flies. He had a softball sized hard knot in the bottom of his flank which oozed thick puss constantly. He stood with the injured leg stretched clear forward under his belly or hip shot and stretched out behind him. Either way he bore no weight on it when standing at rest. If he had a chance to gather up before he moved off he could and would bear full weight on the leg. When startled into moving off quickly he hopped pitifully, carrying his bad leg like a lame dog. The poor wretch hobbled around the barnyard eating grass for about 10 days while I watched him trying to come up with a plan.

The oozing lump at the base of his flank was hot and painful. His stifle was cool and seemed to be normal so it was unlikely the joint or joint capsule were infected. Rule out the bone chip theory. I started thinking deep tissue abscess of some sort but why wouldn’t or couldn’t it heal on its own in the first place? With the idea “the only way I can make him worse is to kill him and maybe that wouldn’t be the WORST” in mind, I talked with my local vet.. He is a good country large animal vet who happens to be badly infected with Thoroughbred disease, at least that's what he calls it. We decided to open the wound back up, cut away any scar tissue, infected tissue, and start over with a cleaned freshly incised wound. In the event Doc felt the horse couldn’t recover normally, well then Woody simply wouldn’t get up from the grass in front of the clinic, our chosen operating table. It was a warm May afternoon so it seemed like the best spot to lay him.

The young vet newly hired by the practice was keeping a scrap book of odd cases. She took these pictures.

The first photo is Woody before.
The second is the tissue lump in the flank of the horse.

The next picture is of the incision and the scar tissue which was later cut away and removed. The wood was up behind the mass of scar tissue along the muscle of the horse's inner thigh near where his thigh and belly came together.

The fourth is of the wood with a hemostat used for a size comparison laid out on the thigh of the colt.

Some things to keep in mind while looking at these photos. The belly of this 15.1 hand three year old gelding is barely wider than the two hands of the vet. The horse carried this 1” x 1” x 6” piece of wood in his inner thigh for over a year. How he had lived as long as he had was anybody’s guess. Judging from the looks of him he was dangerously close to out of time.

Brandi, the young vet, has a record book case for her scrap book. Doc has a really good bar story for quite some time. Whoever ends up owning Woody will have the trump card tale for how tough his horse is. I don’t have to look over the fence at that miserable scrap of horse and wonder how I am going to get out of this. Woody went to the hill pasture yesterday, two months later, incision healed and running sound with the other horses. One sunny day in May went pretty darn well for all involved I'd say.

I can only think of one down side…….I didn’t have the good sense to parlay this $197.50 ordeal into donations to cover x-rays, surgical costs, hospitalization, and of course lifetime support for Woody. He’ll come back from the pasture a different horse in October I’m guessing but then he will have to get a job. We’ll wait for the “after” shot until then.
Written By RH1


  1. THAT was one hell of a splinter! I know people who whine about a little hay sliver lol.
    I look forward to the after pictures. And I hope that colt gives you the profit you deserve and not one penny less!

  2. Just for the record he was named Woody BEFORE because of the Ciderwood in his pedigree. Poor bugger, I can imagine how it felt to carry that thing around all that time. I don't pat myself on the back too much. It seemed to cheaper to put him down than to feed him that long for nothing. I had no clue what to do but had the advantage of being involved when there was nothing left to lose. I fully expected him not to be comming back from town that day.

    He has probably gained 125 pounds but like all the Leo Maudie horses I have ever seen he will never be known for his halter looks but I think he'll make a horse.

  3. Wow! How that horse lived with that is amazing. Lucky he ended up with you. I, too, can't wait to see his after pictures! And, by the way, go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. You did the right thing the right way, and didn't expect a thing for it. No donations, no accolades. You simply did the right thing-it's what more folks should do. I think we'd see a lot more horses in good hands if more "horse angels" followed your example.

  4. "Just for the record he was named Woody BEFORE because of the Ciderwood in his pedigree."

    HAhaa I was going to ask about his name but I kinda figured it had been his name before the wood was removed.
    I'm glad he doesn't have todays halter looks! He looks like he could do a job though when he's fully recovered and like you said what a tough horse.

  5. If you're searching for the ultimate bitcoin exchange service, then you should go with YoBit.