Since Friday I've been taking Russell on daily walks. Just ten minutes a day, baby steps to build up his strength again. Rick gave the go-ahead when Russell's post-treatment ultrasound showed "remarkable" healing, but cautioned me against doing too much. I was thinking about calling the Morgan's owner to give her an update.
Last night while I was doing chores, Russell squeezed by the manure cart in his stall door while I was in his paddock. I think the tastes of spring grass I've been letting him have on our walks were irresistible, because the escape was out of character for him. He was gobbling grass just as fast as he could at the edge of the nearest pasture when I walked out of the barn, but wasn't so focused on it that he let me walk up to him. Oh no; he charged off with his tail in the air without regard for his still fragile ligament, while my gut twisted inside me. I walked after him in the dark, feeling the uneven, still muddy ground under my boots, knowing how much damage he could do with a slip or scramble. I broke down in tears as he kept charging away from me from one end of the pasture to the other. Rick got home in the midst of this and tried to help, but only caused a bigger rodeo. In one wild sprint from us, he ran between the fence and the only tree in the pasture, hitting the tree first with his shoulder, then his hip, ripping off his sheet and leaving hair and hide behind.
That apparently hurt enough to sober him up, as he let Rick walk up and halter him, then lead him, limping, back to his stall. I'm still shedding tears.