It all started a week ago when Pa and I were riding together at sunset. Dually accidentally stepped on the tine harrow we use to drag our arena (we've since moved it - it was in a totally stupid and easy to wander into location - bad!) on our way out to the ring, but didn't seem much worse for wear at the time. The next day Pa took him out to do some conditioning work, as they're aiming for the Training Three Day at GMHA in five weeks, and he was very good except for one fairly major spook-turned-slip when he took an aversion to my brother building a shed in the back field. When my dad went to trot him out at the end of the ride, however, he turned up quite sore and got sorer and sorer with every step. Not good!
When I came back from summer school that day (blurgh), Pa pulled Dually out of his stall for me so I could watch him jog. He was really really lame! Yikes! There was no heat or swelling that either of us could identify, so we both had a sneaking suspicion that something was going down in his foot. Pa started an aggressive icing regime and we got a vet visit lined up as soon as possible.
The vet came out on Friday and was able, using some blocks, to confirm our foot suspicion. She didn't have any imaging equipment, unfortunately, so left us with three possibilities and the promise that she would come back Tuesday (today) to do some radiographs. The possibilities were: a deep bruise from the tine harrow (probably the best option, just needing hoof pack and time to heal), an abscess (the medium option, requiring hoof soaking and patience for the abscess to pop), or a coffin bone fracture (the worst option, though still not terrible - season-ending, but not career-ending). In the meantime, the vet recommended we treat it like an abscess, as the soaking would help a bruise as well and certainly wouldn't hurt a fracture.
Well, she came back today with her radiograph, and the news is good! Definitely no fracture, plus he was almost entirely sound when they jogged him on the straight line and on the circle in both directions. This means that it was almost certainly a bruise from the harrow (because an abscess probably wouldn't have improved so quickly without something appearing), which is a very easy recovery. Yay!
There will be some paying by ear as we go forward, as obviously if the recovery takes long enough Dually's fitness will be compromised for the Three Day in August. But, all hope is not lost!