First of all, let me start by saying thanks to each and every single person that commented and texted me after my last post. I have like a dozen draft posts that I had started to write from those 2 weeks I went AWOL, but just couldn’t finish or publish. When I finally finished the update post and hit Publish, I had no idea of all the support that was headed my way. So seriously, thank you all so much!
Tuesday I had a vet appt for P to get his teeth checked and for the annual x-ray I get of his enlarged front left knee (which has never had any changes, but I get x-rayed every year anyway). The vet I use for that stuff is not really a lameness expert, but I asked him if he could look at P anyway, and see if there was something there.
The vet watched P walk up and down the aisle a couple of times, then started with flexions. On the left, P jogged off just fine after having both the fetlock and hock flexed.
Then the vet went to his right leg, and started with the fetlock. While not lame, there seemed to be a little something.
Then he did the right hock and there was no reaction.
So he went back to the right fetlock and while less than the first time, you can see a slight hesitation and him sort of swing that leg out in a circle.
Still, though. The vet said he couldn’t even really call that a 1 on the lameness scale, just that it was more than what he saw on the left side. Sigh.
Then he took scissor handles and ran them along P’s back. On the left side, nothing. On the right side, you can see P flinch away, indicating some soreness behind his right shoulder.
Of course I immediately started internally screaming “saddle fit…nooooo,” but the vet said not necessarily, that it could be secondary to something else.
Then he had the assistant walk P while he pulled on his tail. And when he came back said, “I don’t want to alarm you, but this is something we do to test for neuro signs.”
When P was standing still and the vet pulled on his tail, P braced to stay upright. When he was walking and having his tail pulled, you can see is hind end get pulled out of place. The vet wasn’t convinced that was a weakness, though, or a positive sign for a neuro disorder; he said P was such an easy going guy that he seemed to be more “whatever” about letting the vet pull his hindquarters out of place rather than it being something he couldn’t control. So. Not confusing at all.
He then told me there were a million things we could do, but he wanted to stay conservative at first. So he recommending putting P on bute (and GastroGard) twice a day until Sunday, with no riding until then. Then coming back next Wednesday and bringing my tack to ride him. If there seems to be any more NQR-ness, the next step would be to x-ray or ultrasound that right hind fetlock.
After talking with Trainer B, he wanted to get a second opinion and some body work done. I’ve had P chiro’d before, but never saw any major changes come from it afterwards. He wants to combine that with acupuncture, which P has never had, to see if that helps as well. So he set me up with his vet for that.
So Thursday I hauled P off to another vet appt. Without me saying anything, she noted P looked short on his right hind, and that he was dropping the right hip more than the left. Flexions didn’t make it worse, and he still wasn’t lame, but you could see the unevenness.
We brought him in and she started adjusting him. She noted he was pretty sore over the SI area, and spent some time popping things back into place. Then she started the acupuncture, and it all kinda came to light.
P’s muscles were so tight that there were places she could hardly get some needles in, and when she removed the needles, a few were literally twisted from his muscle tightness. She noted he was most sore over the SI area, and then pretty much his entire right side.
So she has him on Robaxin for 2 weeks: a high dosage for the first week, then cutting it in half for the second week. We’ll go back to see her in 2 weeks for another round of chiro + acupuncture, and if he’s still sore like that, she wants to inject the SI. In the meantime, no jumping for at least the next 2 weeks. Which means no Windridge next weekend.
Sad, because the closing date has passed, so even more $$ wasted, but if this gets us back on the right track, then of course it’s worth it. She said when he’s cleared to start jumping again to back him down and start small, until he realizes jumping doesn’t hurt, before bringing out the big fences again.
And the barn has a reputable saddle fitter coming out on the 20th, so I put P on the list. Fingers crossed that dear Volty gets the all-clear, because I seriously love that saddle.
But while it fit him when I bought it a year ago, he’s definitely filled out more and gotten way more muscular, so it’s possible it no longer fits.
Now who knows if this is the cure to stopping, but the vet definitely knew her stuff and works with jumpers all the time (she does the 1.30m jumpers herself), and said that with the level of soreness he was exhibiting, she wasn’t surprised he was stopping. I told her it just seemed so random, and sometimes we’d go days without stopping, and she attributed that to him being a stoic horse who tried, but sometimes couldn’t bring himself to jump since he probably knew it would hurt. And she said that could explain why he was stopping at the very last second- that he was going to go, but then really just couldn’t make himself.
Which may be true, but also maybe it’s not and he’ll feel 100% and still stop, and which in that case, it’s time to part ways. It definitely made me feel like crap, though, when I think about all the times I’ve punished him for stopping and then made him jump anyway, if it is due to pain. Thanks to Bette for the long conversations to make me feel better about that!
So good news is that I’m not crazy and there may be a physical cause to the stopping. Bad news is only time will tell and I’m not very patient. Good news is that there’s no major injury like a fracture or torn muscle. Bad news is I’m still an impatient person and would like a crystal ball, please and thank you. And a million dollars.
P.S. If you read this and have a blog of your own- please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know where to find you!