Last Friday, July 2nd, marked the 6 weeks that JB has been in his cast. 6 WEEKS! I am so proud of him for being such a trooper through this whole thing. I won't lie and tell you its been an easy 6 weeks. It's been 6 weeks of constant worry , many hours of extra work to keep him comfortable, and all kinds of interesting schedule adjustments. When someone asked me the other day if I would do it again.. my simple answer was "No"...Without a doubt, I would never go through this again. I don't regret the decision I made for JB, but I would never do it again, albeit JB or any other horse.
But.. that said, we have arrived at our 6 week destination point and for JB atleast, there is no looking back.
The timing of getting the cast removed was less than ideal, right before the 4th of July. While things are healed enough to get the cast off at this point, JB certaintly isn't healed completely and is still at risk for injury or undoing things. With that in mind, I opted to make him go a few more days to get through the fireworks with a little added insurance policy of leaving the cast on. (cringe) I didn't want to extend it because I wanted so badly to give JB the relief of getting out of that cast , but I also know what I would be facing on the night of the 4th.
You see, through this trauma with JB, and being confined, he has changed a bit. He's not entirely the same horse. As with any trauma, whether a person, a dog or a horse, there are lasting effects and unfortunately these are usually negative.
In JB's case, it's noises. He has always been more hypersenstive to noises than any other horse I have ever dealt with. He startles easily and his first reaction ofcourse is to flee. The accident (possibly the noise from the gate during his thrashing in his attempts to get free??) and the pending confinement of not being able to see his surroundings have amplified issue. These days, he startles terribly, nearly jumping off the ground with all four feet at even the smallest sounds, such as metal can being dropped to the ground after emptying his pellets into his feed pan, or when I accidentally smack the pitchfork against the wall of the stall. Noises that never used to bother him now just about send him over the edge. Strong self preservation can work against a horse in a case like this. I am hoping that in time , when he gets out of the stall, this reactiveness to noises will eventually lessen , although, I suspect I will have some work to do to help him get through it.
So, when the fireworks started, you can imagine what he was going through, even through a good dose of sedatives. 6 weeks is a long time to bring a horse through recovery and I wasn't about to let it slip away now. I spent 3 hours in the stall with on the night of the 4th, keeping hold of his halter, petting him to try to soothe him and just trying keeping him safe, from himself. He was very scared and had I not been there, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have attempted to leap out, even though the panels are 6 feet high.
I have tonight to get through with him as well. It will be more of the same I suspect but maybe not as much, hopefully not as long. The cast comes off Tuesday morning. I am anxious for him to move onto the next phase of healing.