APOLLO'S INJURY GOES FROM BAD TO WORSE - A series of unfortunate events affects Katy's riding goals

Katy’s horse Apollo recently injured him self and had to spend time in an equine hospital. 

katy and Thomas image

On October 31st Katy returned home from her holiday all relaxed and looking forward to riding in the Dodson and Horrell Championship, on arriving home she received a phone call from one of her liveries who had gone up the yard early saying that Apollo needed immediate veterinary care.  

Within minutes Katy was at the yard, followed shortly by her mum and her trusty vet from the Bakewell Equine Clinic. They were greeted by a bloody mess due to Apollo somehow tearing his left nostril off his face. The vet immediately started working on Apollo and managed to restore peace by stitching his nose back together – A fantastic job giving Apollo his good looks back! Over the following days  his nose begins to heal and the vet is optimistic for a full recovery in readiness for Katy’s and Apollo’s big championship. Everything seemed to be going to plan – Or was it?

Katy continues…

I soon began to realize the wound was really irritating Apollo. It was very itchy and he wouldn’t stop rubbing it which irritated the wound further and damaged the stitches, undoing all the great work the vet had done. 
Apollo  1 BEFORE
Over the following week the vet came out every other day to check on Apollo’s wound, devastation hit on Wednesday the 6th November when it was decided that the wound had got so bad that it needed re-stitching again. Although I was very anxious about the wound not healing, I was happy that the vet had once again managed to do a very neat job. 

However within just two days Apollo had once again managed to undo all our hard work and by the morning of the Friday the rubbing had turned his nose in to a sore and infected mess.

My vet decided there was no more he could do and the only option was to try and find Apollo a space at an Equine Hospital – we started calling around all local hospitals, desperate to find a space before the weekend.

Hospital space found, we set off on a two hour, eighty mile trip, plenty of time for Apollo to rub his wound even further. When we finally unloaded him on arrival, I took one look at his nose and was thankful I could hand the problem over to an expert…. Poor Apollo looked terrible.

I spoke to the vet briefly and he told me Apollo would need surgery. Something I hadn’t prepared for! It was a horrible feeling, leaving my boy at the hospital in York, and knowing he would have to go through all the dangers or surgery and a general anaesthetic on his own, but I knew that by keeping him at home and trying to manage his wound wasn’t going to help him, so I drove home, horseless and sad, knowing that our big championship was now well out of reach.

On the Friday evening, the hospital rang to tell me Apollo’s Surgery had gone well and he had recovered from the anaesthetic, but they would like to keep him in hospital until at leastthe  Monday - I was so relieved. I missed him so much over the weekend but on Monday morning the hospital called to tell me they were now happy to discharge him. I was very happy but also very worried; I didn’t want him to come home too early and rub his wound, ending up in trouble all over again. 

I asked the vet if they would consider keeping him in longer but they didn’t want too and told me as long as I bought a soft grazing muzzle Apollo would be fine. 

On Tuesday morning (12th November) I travelled back to York to pick Apollo up.

On arrival I was taken to see Apollo. He was in a stable with the top door shut, with a hard grazing muzzle on. I did wonder why they had locked him away but didn’t ask... I was just happy he was coming home. His wound looked amazing; the surgeon had done a great job!

The hard grazing muzzle Apollo was in meant he couldn’t eat and the lady who discharged him to me told me they had been taking his grazing muzzle off every hour or so for 20 minutes, so they could monitor Apollo whilst eating and make sure he didn’t rub his wound. I asked if I should also get one of the hard muzzles and she said no.

We loaded him up and I rode home with him in the back of the lorry to make sure he didn’t rub his nose.

Once home Apollo was greeted by everyone at the yard. Unloaded  and settled back in his stable, I realised just how hungry he was as he began to devour his pile of Haylage, I also noticed him rolling quite a lot and put this down to him being happy to be home and in his own bed……

After his tea I placed his soft grazing muzzle on – He wasn’t happy at all and almost immediately started rubbing his head that hard along the walls that he was rubbing the paint off. 

I re-read Apollo’s discharge instructions and it clearly said “Leave Apollo in a soft grazing muzzle when ever you are not in a position to monitor him” so I turned the lights off and left him at around 6pm. I returned that evening at 9.30pm with a friend to Apollo laid down rolling and thrashing around, although he got up when he saw me and I noticed straight away he hadn’t eaten much more off his hay and he hadn’t done any droppings. This combined with his intense hunger earlier made me think colic; I immediately took him out of the stable and began walk him around my Arena.

Apollo had never coliced in his life, eventually the walking and a warm meal kicked started his gut into working again and he did a poo and started to settle. Putting his muzzle back on was a challenge and once again he rubbed and rubbed trying to get the muzzle off but there was no alternative. 

The next morning I phoned the hospital and was told Apollo had been fed every 4 hours for 15 minutes. No wonder he had coliced, I was furious as this was something that could have been prevented. In the  evening I muzzled him and again he a battle with the wall. I could tell Apollo really hated the muzzle. In fact it seemed to be bothering him more than the actual wound. But knowing what mess he was capable of doing to his nose without a muzzle I decided it was best to leave it on. 

Early Thursday morning, 2 days after returning home, I took the muzzle off and was disappointed to find that once again Apollo had tried to destroy his wound through the muzzle. 

His wound was open again and oozing yellow puss. After much soul searching, we decided to return him back to hospital where he would receive 24/7 surveillance - yet another long journey up the motorway and once we arrived, Apollo didn’t want to get out of the lorry. It was heart breaking. I left Apollo at hospital with strict feeding instructions. I didn’t want him left for over 4 hours without food again and I didn’t want to add another bout of colic to my list of problems.

I returned home and attacked his stable, determined to be more organised on his return and make his stable as safe as possible. I removed everything he could possibly rub on and padded all the hard surfaces. I went to Parklands and they were able to supply me with a hard grazing muzzle and we cut a hole out of the bottom so Apollo could eat whilst wearing it. 

Every day the hospital phoned me, and every day they told me something different. One day he was better, one day he was worse. One day he was eating fine, the next day he wasn’t. I was beginning to worry about him, especially as getting hold of a Vet and the hospital was near impossible. On Monday morning a young man phoned and told me that Apollo had rubbed his wound open overnight. I was confused and angry as the entire hospital scenario was beginning to wear thin. How could Apollo rub his nose? He was meant to be being monitored 24/7? He told me they had CCTV on their mobile phones and watched the horses from their houses. I was not impressed. I was paying for Apollo to be at a hospital with staff who were on site and had 24/7 surveillance but instead they were just checking their phones periodically. 

Apollo had spent an additional five nights in hospital and his nose looked the same - I couldn’t get him home fast enough… Again I travelled with Apollo in the back, making sure he couldn’t further injure himself. Thankfully when we got home my vet, Helen, swabbed his wound and was able to change his antibiotic to something stronger… this made such a difference and in my opinion, it was this action that seemed to save the day! Within hours of Apollo taken the antibiotics the wound stopped itching and my horse finally began to heal. 

Apollo PIC 1 AFTERHe recently had his stitches out and after his long ordeal I can finally put him back into ridden work. It’s bizarre to think; a wounded nostril has put him out of work for over 3 weeks, caused him 9 full nights in hospital and cost us a big championship. I am just glad we are nearing the end of an unbelievably horrendous and frustrating episode.

We still have no idea how Apollo tore his nostril and couldn’t find anything in his stable or surrounds that could have caused such a horrendous injury. 

I am just glad that Apollo is finally on the mend. 

Can we make our next championship? I really hope so! We’re a bit rusty now, so we are busy training! 

Katy and apollo sunset