Horse Life

Vet Check

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.

September 2017; he definitely doesn’t look like this anymore, thanks to the the Best Barn Ever
July 2018; closest thing I have to a confo picture

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 and let me know where to find you!

34 thoughts on “Vet Check”

  1. Nnoooo!!!! I was really hoping the vet would say he’s fine. But ya, random stopping if he were to be fine is not great either. And still not really knowing…ggaahhh! I’m with you–waiting sucks!


    1. I know, I can’t figure out what I wanted more! On the one hand, if he’d checked out as just fine, he’d probably be on his way to B’s right now to be sold. So we’ll see how the next month or so goes and if there’s any change!


  2. ugh i have no patience either at all (as you know from the texts and emails I send you when YOU DONT POST)…I hope we figure P out. He is too damn cute and perfect for you except for the stopping. UGH dang stoic horse…

    Fingers, toes and eyes crossed for you 🙂 And you know where to find me 🙂


  3. So, good news! I guess? I agree with you wholeheartedly- patience is stupid. That’s what you said, right? lol. I hope he feels better and jumps all the jumps!!!


  4. Oh no poor P! Those muscles sound really really tight. I am really glad you were back to posting! I was starting to get a little worried! Glad you two are okay though, and I’m really hoping that this helps A LOT. Hopefully he’ll just need this one and maybe another acupuncture and he’ll be feeling better :).


    1. Here’s hoping! Seeing some of those needles come out all corkscrewed from his muscle tension was pretty eye-opening. I’m just praying I don’t need a new saddle. That would be the worst 🤦‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sending you GIANT HUGS!!!!!!!!!!! And for reals- don’t kick yourself for not seeing it before- especially with P being as stoic as he is- those are the hardest damn horses to figure out! The important thing is you’re being proactive now and I really do think you’ll find yourself with the coolest horse ever once he’s back to feeling good. Annie doesn’t lie plus she’s got a good eye for horses and she loved P, so ya know, you’ve got a great horse there!!!


    1. You totally helped yesterday ❤️ Hopefully between this and checking the saddle, he can be as awesome over jumps as he is with everything else, but I guess time will tell (boooring). Squee about Annie!


  6. This really isn’t that far off of Henry’s issues. It took us over a year to really figure out what it was… I could feel it, but you couldn’t really SEE anything besides a fleeting unevenness. His showed up as a 4-beat canter and a late lead change behind. Luckily there is a lot you can do for SI-related issues. We did acupuncture/chiro pretty regularly in the beginning, along with SI injections, and a lot of strengthening exercises. As he’s gotten stronger, the chiro and acupuncture have gotten less frequent, since he doesn’t get nearly as body sore. I do still get the SI injected every 7-9 months, that seems to be about the time when he starts feeling “stuck” again. One thing I’ve noticed with Henry is that the more he’s ridden, the better he does. He always feels worse after a week off – his body isn’t staying as strong or as limber as when he’s working. So like now even when he’s on “vacation” he’s still doing long forward walks on the hills 3-4 days a week. For regular work I used to ride him on a 3 days on, one day off schedule, but now I do 5 days on, one day off, and try to never stray from that unless he’s on an actual scheduled vacation. He does two conditioning days a week (one with hill repeats), because keeping him strong makes a big difference. There are a lot of stretches you can do to help loosen that area too – look up the psoas stretch on youtube, that one has been SO GOOD for Henry.


    1. That makes sense- the vet said to keep him moving so no time off. I found the YT video and will definitely use that- thanks!

      Just the randomness of it all is what’s so frustrating. I’m glad you caught what was wrong with H and that it’s manageable!


  7. So frustrating and annoying and hopefully all at the and time. I hope this helps him and he becomes the partner for you that we all know he can be.


  8. Ugh I totally know this feeling. You almost want something to be wrong because then at least you can fix it, but you feel guilty at the same time.


  9. Oooh. I hope that’s the problem. Not because I want there to be a problem, but I always like getting a diagnosis instead of forever wondering what if or maybe. I hope he feels better after the drugs and time off. I hope to see you guys back out there jumping the things soon. You already follow my blog so I think we’re good there.


  10. Here’s hoping it’s all relatively easily managed! Sometimes I wish these horses could tell us exactly what they need and want… but then again I’m not always sure I really want to hear what they have to say lol…


  11. I know it’s annoying not to have a cut and dry “oh he flexed this and this came out off so it’s obvious” but trust me… sometimes thats better than the alternative…

    thats insane that the needles came out twisted!!! i think youre going to see good results with the robaxin


  12. It sounds like you have a really positive way forward, and that the vet really knows her stuff! My fingers are firmly crossed that it’s an easy fix. Good on you for listening to him and investigating everything!


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