It’s the second day of the challenge and letter B! There are so many options. I decided to go with buttons!
(Warning it is a bit graphic.) Baron led Sally closer to the campfire where he could see the wound properly. The mare hobbled behind, limping badly, and nudging his back occasionally. When she did, he stopped to stroke her forehead and talk to her before continuing. Even in the dim light, he saw the dark streak down her sorrel leg and the gaping wound across her knee.
Billings already had a bucket of water and a stack of cloths waiting at the fire. He held out his hand to take the mare so Baron could tend her. She needed a surgeon, but he was busy with human patients. Baron pulled his housewife from an inner pocket and unfolded it. Thankfully, he always kept a threaded needle ready. He had good eyes, but it might be hard to thread a needle in the dark even with the firelight. Billings continued to pet Sally and croon to her while Baron washed the knee. Sally sighed and leaned into the man’s shoulder.
Dear Lord. Just a bit more and the shrapnel would have taken her leg off. He sewed a series of exes across the knee, pulling the skin together and tying each one off individually to keep them from unraveling. Billings tugged on Sally’s upper lip, pulling it out gently and letting it go. She stuck her muzzle in his hand so he could do it again. She was taking the whole thing like a trooper, but Baron knew she had to be in great pain.
“Just a little more, gal, then I’ll mix you up some mash with apples.”
Baron searched through the housewife for some sturdy buttons and set four out across his thigh. “Don’t have four that match. You’re not going to be very stylish.” He sewed two buttons above and two below the gash, spacing them out to spread the stress when she walked.
This is a veterinary technique of stitching horses who have wounds on stress areas such as knees, hocks, fetlocks, stifles and was used by the cavalry. Every time the horse moves, it stretches the tissue with the stitches and they often tear out, reopening the wound.
Someone figured out you could sew buttons on either side of the wound to redirect the tension and help keep the stitches in. So, a person might sew up the wound and then sew two buttons parallel to the wound on top and two on the bottom for instance.
Note: A housewife is a sewing kit Civil War soldiers carried.
Mash is grain mixed with hot water to make a kind of porridge for horses.
I’ve included a horse diagram with horse parts labeled.