It's Not Over Until It's Over...

When I had to choose a word to describe the last 4 weeks and something, it would be AWFUL. It was supposed to be the last month of my job break with lots of time for Hafl and my family, some vacation days abroad and lots of good weather and positivity.

It all started Tuesday four weeks ago. After having ridden Hafl and being super proud of his canter (gosh, I even posted an Insta Story on this topic), I decided to quickly check my car's oil as I was planning to go to Croatia later that day for a Zucchero concert. So, I opened the engine hood to find - a chicken thigh. A grilled one. In tin foil. Half eaten and half burned. Happy BBQ! Wait - WHAT?! there was a chicken under my engine hood? The moment I realized how strange that was I knew that would be a story that I could tell my grandchildren one day. I had NO idea that this was the beginning of something really really bad.

My little patient

The concert right at the sea was awesome. Mainly Italian fans honored their hero and sang along, screamed and we really enjoyed ourselves. The day after we decided to have breakfast in the city center and a stroll at the beach. At lunchtime, it was time to go back home. We packed our stuff into my car and off we went. Actually, we just arrived on the highway when all of a sudden I realized that Opi's AC was not working anymore. Then, he was accepting the gas pedal as he normally does and a little chuckle did not help either. We stopped, turned the engine off and on again. It felt normal. So we drove. One kilometer until he started to BURN. Well, there was smoke, white smoke. And then there was the red alarm light telling us that the motor cooling obviously quitted its job. My mum jumped out of the car and used our LAST bottle of water (which was funnily enough called "Smart Water") to extinguish the fire (which was none of course). There we were, 3 girls on a Croation highway with a car not wanting to go home that day. We called our automobile club and they arranged a tow for Opi. Unfortunately, the garage was not in the mood of working anymore as in the meantime it was already late. It was super hot, I was sweating like hell and I had no spare clothes but going home was apparently no option either. We left the car and headed for the town again to spend another night there. The hotel manager must have seen that we had an awful day at the roadside (or, I was screaming at him that this was the worst trip ever and that our car broke down and we do not know when and how we are supposed to get home). Shortly after we arrived at our room, he came back with a bottle of wine and a plate of chocolate. I love this man.

Bored to death, day 2

The next day was full of anxiety and waiting. And a little more waiting. I was afraid that we had a major car problem and it did not help that we got another free day at the beach. As soon as the garage called, a huge relief. It was just the thermostat and tubing of the cooling liquid - so I asked them to quickly repair it such that we could go home. I was baffled when he told me that the spare parts would take UP TO 10 DAYS! Come on, guys, WHERE are we? It is 2018 and we are all living in the European Union! I cannot wait 10 days to get back home! Calling the automobile club again, the ensured me that they would take care of my car and get us a rental car such that we could get back home on the same day. What a journey that was! After some smaller problems, we got the car and actually also got back home. Unfortunately, it would take up to TWO weeks to get Opi back as they had to organize a huge truck and collective trip *facepalm* As we have enough cars at home, at least that should not be the biggest problem. That was Thursday and I should be proven wrong, so wrong.

Still bored

On Friday, I had to organize the return of the rental car but decided to take advantage of the fact that I still had it until 5 in the evening to get to Hafl. A little ride would cheer me up. I arrived there just after they were turned in from the fields and immediately saw the blood spots on his hind legs. And there it was, a sarcoid on his left that broke open. At first, I thought I might be able to tear it off but of course, that was not possible. Not even close. I called my vet and she told me to call the animal clinic and the vet there said that we needed to bring him over. THAT would normally not have been a problem, we have a car and a trailer but THIS time, Opi was still in Croatia and the trailer at my parents'. Organizing an emergency trip and a quick decision on cutting off more than this sarcoid later, I was still full of hope that it would not last longer than last time when he underwent surgery two and a half years ago. After seven days Hafl was back home and safe and sound.

At least, there is food

After a week of visiting Hafl in the clinic, I started to become impatient. The wounds were not healing properly, we saw one or the other issue and decided he needed to stay a little longer. Monday after that decision, I headed for my summer holiday on a road trip to the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. I was calling the vet every other day asking him how things were going and when he could go home. The owner of our barn offered her help and was just waiting for my go to get him. On Wednesday, eventually the OK from the vet, Thursday morning Eva and her were on their way to get him in the early morning. I was waiting for pictures of Hafl in his stalls but all I got was phone calls that one of the wounds (right hind) was torn open, bleeding and looking like hell. I was almost crying. Yet another surgery, there was tissue, lots of tissue, was it the tumor, was it proud flesh - nobody knows. The vet had a hard time tucking and sewing him together and when I reached him on Friday, he did not sound like somebody truly optimistic. I thought that was it, it would be a wound full of tumors, no more healing and finally, I had to put him down. I cried and my family decided that we would skip Luxembourg and go home immediately. But that meant 13 hours of driving while I was crying and fearing for my horse.

Hafl loosing weight

On Saturday, I saw him again and he did not look dead at all. He was even nasty and I was so happy I started to cry again - internally, though. Hafl was not going to die, at least, not this time. The wound looked better and I was super optimistic to get him back home soon. As the saying goes, what can go wrong, will go wrong and so we had another ripped open wound only a week after plus the left hind started to fill with ichor and tissue leaving a huge bump. Trying to tuck the right hind together and simultaneously cutting the left hind open felt weird.

Patiently waiting

This week, we decided that we cannot do anymore as the right hind would not hold tight so it will have to heal from the inside. The left hind still has a bump but it is smaller than it used to be. I took him home on Friday, aware of the fact that I would have to take care of his wounds over the next few months. It might take forever until the right hind closes. It looks awful but Hafl does not. I was looking at him so many times these four weeks asking him whether he still wants that. There was only one day when I felt that he was in pain. All the other days he was just looking for food and was the same as ever before.

Pissed of, part 1

It will take a lot of time and patience to get him back on track. I hand walk him, I clean his wounds, I disinfect them, I even have a bucket now with all the necessary gloves and creams and sprays. He will make it in the end and I am positive that he will be ridden again. I have no idea how long it will take but that does not matter. He is my best bud, I would do anything for him and if that means waiting until this unsightly wound heals, I will do it.

Pissed of, part 2

Send your good thoughts and ideas on what we can do to speed that up! Any thoughts?

Not loosing weight at all apparently?!

Oh, in case you were wondering: Opi came back quicker than expected, Wednesday after the breakdown he was already in my trusted garage - it was even less than expected as it was not the tubing that broke but the bracket holding the tube... Well, that was a trip to remember...

A little paddock break

H-OME again...

Handwalking - only horsey people can understand..

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