Monday, May 4, 2015

Using My Words

Thanks for all the support (and sympathetic wine drinking) I appreciate it. 

It's been a frustrating week.  My emotions ping from "eh, this is horses and I'm totally ok with that" to a totally victimized "why Prair, why…. I'll never get her sound... etc etc."

Wisely, The Boy has been traveling for work most of the week, so my cat has suffered a majority of the manic ranting. 

Basically - as awesome as Prair has been feeling since her back injections, this little (tiny) hopping action she does during her initial warm up has been nagging in my head.  It started back when we were just getting back to trot work last summer.  Prair would pop above the bridle and sort of hop (a tranter-like thing) for a step or two, especially when changing direction. 

At the time, my vet was unconcerned so I’ve consistently told myself to shut up about it and put my head in the sand. 

However, after her back injections, the hopping seemed to exaggerate itself.  She always works out of it – usually only in a lap or two, but recently it’s been more obvious when you add left leg. 

A stiff hoppy thing for a lap or two that’s unexplainable is one thing, but something that consistently shows itself with left leg?  Quite another, and much harder for me to accept.

So, I called the vet back.  And since Prair only does the hoppy thing under saddle, I tacked her up and got ready to ride. 

The good news was her left front looks spot on.  No glimmer of shortness or soreness, so big YAY there.  The bad news was that her left hind was looking like a .5 or 1/5. 

At this point I couldn’t decide if I was relieved to be dealing with a new limb or ready to cry because we were adding a new leg to the mix… but it turns out my emotional reaction doesn’t do shit for what the mare feels, so I ignored myself and waited for some flexions (that’s what the flexi-bicep emoji stood for, btw).

Everything flexed great until her Left Hind Fetlock, which she was uncomfortable even holding the flexion in. 

Then we trotted on hard ground which didn’t exaggerate any lameness on either left limb – which was moderately encouraging.

Then we took out the ultrasound machine since Vet thought the extremely bad flexion warranted a look see. (the flying money emoji)… And the world’s-longest-ultrasound commenced….And I heard my Vet say “sorry this is taking so long, but there’s a lot to look at.” 

I could not think of any possible answer that was a good explanation such a comment.

But after what felt like endless scanning and consternated looks, we sat down to talk about what she saw. 

Good News: No major tears or massive trauma that’s readily obvious.

Bad News: The medial branch of the suspensory, medial branch of the superficial flexor tendon and lateral lobe of the DDFT (I may have mixed some of those up, but there were definitely two medials and one lateral in there) all look… angry.  Some edema, minor disruption, etc.  The most concerning of the three is the DDFT which is hard to see and (my vet thinks) could be the hardest to rehab.

Ideally she wants another MRI, which, if the mare was insured would likely be covered since we are now dealing with a new limb.  But she’s not, so that’s another $3,000 and right now I’m not sure it’s worthwhile.  The first time around I was adamant about getting the MRI and not making any assumptions about what sort of injury we were dealing with.  But this time? I don’t know.  In talking it over with my vet, she can see enough on the ultrasound to want the mare on 2 months (gulp) of stall rest no matter what, and to shockwave the area. 

Part of me feels like if the MRI isn’t going to impact our treatment plan, then why stress the mare with the trip and spend the cash when it could go toward treatment.

Now, if we recheck the mare in two months and still have some questions? Maybe the value of additional diagnostics goes up. I’m not sure.  I just am having a huge mental block about loading the mare up and hauling her east again – but maybe I need to get over that. 

As for what potentially caused this? No one can say for sure, but the minor disruption and edema make it look like a slow irritation/strain rather than a traumatic sprain/tear.  In an infuriating twist of events it’s quite possible that the slight fill that Prair picked up in her hind legs from her previous stall rest was enough inflammation to lay the groundwork for this. 

I’m so frustrated.  And I’m mad at myself for not having felt this earlier.  I suppose my nagging concerns about the hoppy-warm-up-thing were silenced by how straight and balanced Prair has been.  Her changes have been nearly automatic, she’s pushing off straight over her fences (which is a new skill) and she’s so much calmer in her work, all signs have been pointing toward “comfortable.”

But clearly that is not the case. 

So, two months stall rest (she can go out in a small paddock if she’s good), with wraps on for 12 hours a day to try and keep her inflammation out.  Ice Vibes will be doing double duty on the front and hind limbs…. And that’s our plan. 

If this is truly a hiccup from having additional fill in her legs and extended stall rest, then fine, I can deal with it no problem.  But I can’t quite silence my worries that we’ve started a downward spiral of chasing soft tissues injuries from leg to leg to leg.  Fingers crossed this is a one-off and not a slow degradation of the big, lovely mare.

But that’s a bridge I’m not crossing yet.





  1. Oh Gingham, how disappointing! Sending healing thoughts and best wishes to you and Prairie for quick and easy recovery!

  2. Awh man :( Sending internet hugs and my thoughts are with you both! Hopefully this will be an easy recovery!

  3. Gingham, I'm so, so sorry this has happened to you and Prair again :(
    I was so completely excited for you guys to be kicking ass at all the shows this season, but it seems that the universe has other plans. Keeping my fingers crossed that this is just a one-off, and that she'll be perfectly fine after these 2 months. Sending prayers and SOUND thoughts your way!! ((hugs))

  4. So frustrating :( good vibes your way

  5. I'm so sorry :( Neither of you deserve this and I hope it's just a quick hick-up that will be over after the stall rest.

  6. Oh no :( So sorry to hear. I hope this is the end of her soundness issues!

  7. Ugh, beyond frustrating! I get all those emotions you're feeling. Hopefully the rest does her entire body and all.the.stuff (back, legs, etc) a world of good. Hugs!

  8. So, so, so sorry to hear this! I definitely understand the frustration. Fingers crossed for a full, quick recovery!!!

  9. No wonder you had no words. Hugs.

    It makes the good news about the front seem less shiny. :-(

  10. Oh man this is just awful! I'm so sorry. Stall rest sucks so much for them and for us. I could see how her last bit of stall rest started this thing going but then again I definitely wouldn't have thought there was a major problem either given that she's straight, forward, calm, and working so well. But good for you for not letting your nagging feeling linger for too long. Probably would have gotten worse. I hope she can be a good girl and at least get a little paddock for this. Ugh. Such a bummer.

  11. Ah shoot. I love watching you two and she is such a lovely mare. Dang. I am so sorry, and I hope that she heals up well and you can continue your fun together!

  12. -hugs- this is one of the hardest things about horses :-(

  13. =( Oh how beyond frustrating. Sending hugs to you and Prair. Uggh horses.

  14. I'm so sorry to hear about this, it's so hard when our horses are in pain. I know it's not easy to do, but try not to beat yourself up too much. The important thing now is that you know what the problem is and are taking steps to address it, and that she's going to feel much better soon. :)

    As for MRIs, I had that option as well when Paddy hurt himself. Bottom line was that it wouldn't change our plan of action, which was time off followed by reassessment, and then more time off. And time is a great healer, although it doesn't make it any easier when we want to be in the saddle. Hugs!

  15. Ugh, I'm so sorry!! I'll start sending the healing vibes your way. You guys deserve a break after this one, hopefully she'll rehab better than ever.

  16. i'm so sorry - my heart really goes out to you! hopefully this is just a quick one-off thing and the 2 months fly by!

  17. Ouch Prair- not again! I hope she feels better soon! For what it's worth- I agree on the second MRI- if it's not going to change the course of treatment then it's best to watch for a different junction.

  18. I am so sorry!!! I am just catching up on your posts. Not much of a poster these days but I am truly a follower.

    I am dealing with the same issue with my horse RIGHT NOW!!! But mine is much worse. I would beg to be in your shoes.

    My guy tore 2/3 of his medial suspensory branch off of his sesamoid bone. He had surgery yesterday and had stem cells injected. Chances of him ever being a riding horse again is slim to non. I am giving him every shot he has to be sound again.

    I guess my point of this comment is to let you know it could be worse... I am super sympathetic to what you are going through. Stay strong and sending healing thoughts your way...

    1. If there is one thing I have learned with horses it's that it can *always* be worse... :( So sorry to hear boy! Big hugs and good wishes.


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