Update on Copper’s Leg

I’m not sure if I mentioned it last week, but when the vet was here to inseminate Paige, he also checked on Copper’s leg, but was unable to do anything with it. Why you ask? Because Copper was a 16.2 chestnut kite high on life stall rest. He’s typically bad for the vet but on this day, he was an absolute terror. Major kudos to my vet being a saint and trying his best to win over the fire breathing dragon Copper. My previous vet hated Copper’s antics and never would’ve tried for so long to sedate him to look at stitches. I finally turned to my vet and said, “are you ready to teach me how to remove stitches?” I may have been joking, but he replied with, “will he even let you unwrap his leg?” I have doubts about Copper and his relationship with the vet, but as far as letting me do anything with him, I’m fairly confident.

So I unwrapped his leg, and wasn’t pleased with what I saw. Apparently, despite being the (seemingly) perfect patient, he managed to rip his stitches out. He never really romped, and the only trotting that he did was a slight jog when I was leading him in hand. I blame the fact that he very likely laid down to sleep and pulled them out when standing up from napping. He loves his stall naps. So my vet looked at it and deemed that we’d likely have proud flesh and to keep it wrapped for four more days, then to remove the wrap and spray it with scarlet oil. (Spoiler alert: scarlet oil is named for its rich, red color. It looks lovely on Copper’s sock. *rolls eyes*) Naturally, I had to rewrap his leg under the vet’s watchful eye. Needless to say, it was an utter trainwreck since I’ve now wrapped a leg one time in my life. Practice makes perfect…and I’d not had an injured horse require the vet in almost 10 years.

Smith & Sons

Note the red on his leg on Day 17 is the scarlet oil. Day 23 is pre-treatment.

So my wrap job held up for all of 24 hours (as compared to my vet’s lasting 12 days and still looking perfect upon removal) before it started to slide down on the bone at the back of his knee. Doc has stressed to me not to cover that bony protrusion since it would cause friction, which would eat away at the skin in less than 48 hours. Charming. So I unwrapped his leg and enlisted A to come and rewrap when she came to ride Highness. Her wrap lasted until Monday without covering the bone, at which point I unwrapped it with the mindset of checking the progress and possibly rewrapping/possibly turning out the giant psychotic horse that Copper had become. It looked much better than it had on Friday, and my donkeys needed to come in and get off of the grass for a while to keep Chloe sound…oh laminitis…

So I decided I’d lead Copper into the herd to introduce him to everyone so that there would be fewer histrionics. ha. ha. HA. I’m used to handling quiet little quarter horse types with excellent ground manners. So imagine my horror when I led Copper outside the barn and suddenly he was charged with rocket fuel or something of the like. Que super prancy in place trot…with his head STRAIGHT up in the air and tail bannered. One of L’s horses, Rumor if I remember correctly, came trotting up gleefully with a “hello friend” expression on his face and engaged with whatever it was that I was tethered to. It was around then that I realized that a) catching him with his lead rope waving in the wind behind him if he got out of my hands would be no fun and b) that I really liked being uninjured myself. So I shooed Rumor away and tried to calm the beast before unhaltering him. To his credit, he remembered his manners when I took his halter off and didn’t launch into a canter from a stop until I backed away and allowed him.


L To R: Special, Jethro, Blondie, Kricket, Rumor, Copper (Robin behind him) and Cartier. Lot of new faces for Copper.


L To R: Copper, Robin, Kricket/Paige in background, Blondie with her butt to me.

The beauty of turning him out then was that no one was super excited to see him for some reason or the other (maybe it was the fact that he’s crazy and pins his ears at them from his stall…). They were all peacefully grazing while he trotted between them wildly and while he did stir them up enough that they greeted him, they never took on the wild aura that he was emanating. After a minute of curiosity on their parts, they resumed grazing and he joined them quietly. Since then I’ve observed him smished in the run in with Robin (no surprise, that’s his mama as far as he’s concerned) and L’s Star. Typically he’s grazing with Robin or Paige and has possibly rediscovered his brain. Magic!


The whole herd (sans donks). L to R: Highness, Rumor, Copper’s butt, Jethro, Paige, Cartier, Robin, Kricket’s butt, Star, Blondie, and Special.

The current herd dynamic is comical. L’s Special and Robin are clearly the alphas and seem to exist fine together (minus him kicking Robin in the throat for whatever reason this weekend…) and have their own little bands of horses. Robin doesn’t care if she picks up a spare every now and then and is generally seen hanging out with everyone but Special, Jethro and Rumor. Paige has been marching to the beat of her own drum lately and has been with Copper frequently, which was previously uncommon (stall rest bonding?) and chases Cartier, Kricket, Highness, and Star away from Robin. Apparently she wants their herd to be her, Copper, Robin and, depending on her mood at any given time, possibly Blondie. Until I separated the donkeys, Kricket and Blondie were in a weird little herd with them. Highness is kind of just floating around looking for her place in the world without much direction. Notice that the geldings are the consistent ones? Oh mares.

I plan to drag Copper in tonight and hose his knee some before I coat it in the scarlet oil. Hopefully it will continue to heal uneventfully. I need to find some sharp little scissors to cut the stitches out with if I can convince him to stand stall. He still has the one stitch in his chest as well. The vet said that they will dissolve over time though, so I’m not super worried about them.


2 thoughts on “Update on Copper’s Leg

    • You’re telling me. Luckily only four horses and three donks belong to me. That seems small compared to the mass I’ve accumulated of other people’s horses. Lol

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