My friend's horse Mags got kicked yesterday out in the pasture and fractured a front leg above the knee.
The report came in yesterday afternoon that he had been hurt somehow and was on three legs. They managed to get the horse back into the barn, an operation that took an hour or more, as Mags hopped along, unable to put any weight at all on the injured leg.
At first, everyone was relieved because they thought it was his knee that was involved, and the x-rays showed the knee was fine. Late in the evening, though, the vet looked again at the films and discovered the telltale tracings of a fracture.
This morning the vet re-wrapped and splinted the leg (a very high-tech operation: a split piece of PVC sewer pipe, a six-foot-long 2 X 4, and duct tape!). When the splint was in place, Mags could hobble, his weight partially supported by the pipe and the wood.
There was a scary moment: When Mags took his first step, he was startled by the movement of the 2 X 4 at his shoulder, and tried to rear. The vet and his assistant got him calmed down quickly, though, and managed to get him into a trailer to take him to the vet school in Columbia. Prognosis: guarded. He'll be in a sling for at least a month, followed by another month of stall rest at the Columbia facility and possibly two months back at home. Recovery rate from this type of fracture is maybe 80%...provided Mags will tolerate being partially suspended in that sling for such a long time. Many horses--perhaps most horses--will not.
Horses play rough; it's just what they do. As the trailer drove away, I could see two palominos play-fighting in the pasture, rearing and kicking. I left Galahad in his stall this afternoon instead of turning him out....