Thursday, May 8, 2008

Twelve Thousand Words

It helps to compare periodic photographs, especially shots of the legs and hind end. I see Argus every day, so I don't always notice the changes. Here is Argus last week. Look at his MUSCLES! Look at his gaskin (the area above the hock joint), and then look above that. Compare this picture with the one below to see the changes:

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This is a picture of Argus taken about 6 weeks after he left prison:


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And here's a shot of Argus the day after he left prison. It doesn't really convey just how straight his legs looked. Everyone commented that his legs looked "like sticks." Rehabbing a horse like this is a new adventure for everyone involved ---- vets, farriers, and, of course, me. No one really knows the full effect of so many years of confinement:


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One of the things I remember the most about Argus is that the muscles in his hind end, especially on either side of the tail (what are those called?), felt like soft, gooey bread dough when he first came to me. I would press my hands into these muscles and memorize the feel, because I had NEVER EVER felt anything like it. Today, his muscles feel like regular horse muscles, firm and with substance.

Here is Argus playing "follow the leader" with Ridge. Can you see how it's getting harder and harder to tell them apart from a distance?
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Argus keeps his front right leg bent a good deal of the time. The tendons are hard and contracted in that leg. They have relaxed and stretched some (for example, his leg no longer shakes when he stands quietly), but only time will tell if they ever become normal. I massage these tendons with my hands. They are as hard as concrete. I am hopeful and amazed that he hasn't injured or bowed a tendon on this leg. It's one of the reasons I had to be so careful about turning him out in deep or muddy footing
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A tangle of white Thoroughbred legs. These two are good friends.

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Bookends. Can you tell which one is which?
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Argus and Half Pint strut their stuff. It's good to see Half Pint trotting. He's a rescue horse, also. He was a PMU foal who was rescued at auction by a friend. Sadly, he's had many health issues during his 7 years of life (colic surgery, severe lameness). He has been severely lame over the past two years, despite many trips to see "Uncle Dr. Black," a lameness specialist at Pioneer Equine Hospital. A last-ditch attempt to help him be pasture sound was undertaken last fall, when Half Pint had a bi-lateral neurectomy. For the first time in two years, Half Pint is able to trot and canter around our pasture. It's good to see him enjoying life again.

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Which is which? That's Ridge on the left, Argus on the right.
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He's finally starting to look like a regular horse! Head down, grazing, and look at that hind end. It's not so badly tucked under now. See the lack of muscling in his butt? It makes his back end look like a triangle.

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Argus stops to investigate the crazy photographer (me) who is laying in his field, taking pictures. "What are you doing down there, food lady?" he seems to be saying.
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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh My, Katie-see why you have trouble telling them apart,even close, they are so similar--but only one Argus and one Katie, who saved him to be a horse again---what a miracle this story is------I look forward to every word from you about the chronicles of Argus and Watermark. Especially in this week of pain from a loss not supposed to happen. It helps our spirits to know there are happy horses out there and safe,too. Thank you for every entry!

Susan said...

Two days in a row!!! Don't spoil us!!! He looks wonderful, they really are two bookends. Please do something special for yourself this Mother's Day, you deserve it!

FishermansDaughter said...

Don't remember how I first found your blog but have been following it since your first days with Argus. His recovery is nothing short of miraculous and strong testimony to the power of one woman determined to make a difference. Love the pics of his progress, keep 'em comin and an early Happy Mother's Day to you.

StableBabe said...

Love the new pictures of Argus!! He still has a long way to go to look like a normal horse, but I'm glad he has you to give him that opportunity. :-)

elaines630 said...

He looks so wonderful! Thank you for posting the pictures so we could see how much he has improved! You are doing truly wonderful things for him and for his pasture mates!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for so many new pics! I just love that last one of Arus, the look in his eye tells so much about how far he has come. We can see such a difference, you are making that difference for Argus.
RobinTx

PaintedPromise said...

oh happy tears!!!!! wow it's hard to type with your eyes full of water... we just got 2 rescue donkeys in last night and although their story is nothing like your Argus, i look forward to comparing pictures in a few months to the ones i took last night. those poor poor things, they are matted with burrs EVERYWHERE, feet are bad, one is terribly thin and the other terribly fat... but both so sweet and loving! thank God for a kind woman who saw them and could not stop thinking about them, so got in touch with someone who helped her get them out of there and to us... and thank God for my husband who doesn't say NO, we have too many already...

Abraham Lincoln said...

I have read all the way to here and thoroughly enjoyed every word and every photograph. You and your family are remarkable people whose work is a blessing to mankind and to the horses and donkey and jackasses you have helped and given them their lives back.

You and your blogs have certainly made me feel good.

Anonymous said...

Sigh
I too am so very upset about Eight Belles. I too have tears in my eyes, reading your blogs and the comments. Thank you Katie for them, the pictures and the hope you give us animals/life lovers.
I adore you and all that you stand for. God Blessed all of us, with you. Hugs for you and all your precious "saved ones"!