Month: March 2017

Harvard Fox Hounds’ Closing Hunt

Harvard Fox Hounds’ Closing Hunt

Gina and I closed out our second season hunting with Harvard Fox Hounds on Saturday! I spent Friday afternoon braiding Gina’s mane- Harvard is generally pretty casual, but I like to braid for Opening and Closing Hunts. Friday night was very rainy, and Saturday dawned damp […]

Friday Five

Friday Five

It’s been a busy week, y’all! Work has been preparing to go to the World Cup in Omaha next week, so I’ve been swamped with packing, organizing last-minute shipments, and coordinating the more mundane aspects of the trip, like acquiring parking and vendor passes. If […]

Roscoe gets a neurectomy

Roscoe gets a neurectomy

Yesterday, I hauled my friend Holly’s horse Roscoe down to Pine Ridge Equine Hospital for a neurectomy. (If you missed the entire Roscoe Saga, you can catch up here: Part I, Part II, Part III.)  Roscoe has had sporadic lameness on his left front due to a combination of arthritis and navicular. OsPhos and corrective shoeing worked well for Roscoe last summer, but didn’t do anything for him this year. The excellent vet Holly and I use recommended a neurectomy for him; she believed it would make him more comfortable and relieve much of his pain.

A helpful graphic from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

A neurectomy (or “nerving”) is a surgical procedure in which a portion of the nerve supply to the foot of the horse is cut or removed. When performed successfully, it will alleviate the pain associated with navicular syndrome. However, the removal of the nerves means that the foot is numb; nerved horses won’t be able to feel puncture wounds or brewing abscesses. Many horses who have a neurectomy return to careers as riding horses.  This isn’t really a concern for Roscoe- his owner simply wants him to be comfortable and pain-free as a pasture pet.

“Get me outta here, lady.”

When we arrived at the clinic, the surgeon blocked Roscoe and had a vet tech walk and trot him so he could evaluate Roscoe’s lameness. After discussing the procedure with Holly, Roscoe was prepped for surgery. I was surprised to hear that the surgery could be performed while Roscoe was standing up and under sedation with local anesthesia. This had never occurred to me; I was totally thinking Roscoe would be strapped to a table.

Clipped and bandaged for surgery!

The procedure was also a lot less disgusting than I’d anticipated. Holly and I were invited to watch the whole thing; I’m pretty squeamish about blood and gore, so I was lukewarm about watching. I figured I ought to, though- it’s not every day I have the opportunity to watch surgical procedures!

The surgeon made two small incisions along the back of Roscoe’s pastern. (He said that many surgeons make one long incision, but he prefers to make two small ones.) Another veterinarian helped hold the incisions open so the surgeon could find and remove the nerves. At one point, the surgeon said, “Do you want to see what a nerve looks like?” I didn’t, really, but I bent down to look anyway. Turns out a nerve looks a lot like a very pink piece of angel hair pasta! While there was a steady trickle of blood from the incisions, it wasn’t overwhelming or exceptionally gross.

It was hard to get a picture without getting all up in the surgeon’s business.

The surgery didn’t take long- maybe half an hour- and Roscoe was stapled up and bandaged quickly. He stayed overnight at the veterinary hospital because the surgeon wanted to do the first bandage change. Roscoe comes home today and will be on two weeks of stall rest.

Wrapped and ready to go!

As I mentioned earlier, Roscoe won’t be returning to his life as a dressage and trail horse. He’ll simply live out his life in the pasture he shares with his friend Semper Fi. Here’s hoping he’ll have many pain-free years to do so!

Have you ever known a nerved horse? What’s your experience been?

Trail riding at Keystone Lake

Trail riding at Keystone Lake

My neighbor, one of the boarders at the barn, and I headed out to Keystone Lake for a trail ride yesterday. I opted to take Candy,  who seemed moderately more enthused to get in the trailer and go somewhere than she’s been previously. Progress! Keystone Lake […]

Happy birthday, Gina!

Happy birthday, Gina!

Today, Gina turns 20 years old! To celebrate, I’m feeding her an apple and not riding her. I would put a party hat on her, but I’m pretty sure she’d spook at it. Anyway, here’s a look at some of my favorite Gina moments over the […]