Wednesday, May 20, 2015

King of the Derps

I know I mentioned my fun little catch ride, and holy smokes is he kicking my butt - in a good way.  Today I was convinced we were finally going to have one of those rides where I end up in the dirt and he ends up with a crop across his backside, but in sprite of an ominous start, he was a gracious mount for my lesson.  We worked on some tricky (for me) bending line exercises with poles.  I continue to be impressed at how much harder pole work is for me than jumps.  I know why but still, every time it shocks me.  Nothing makes me feel remedial faster than not being able to get to a pole on the ground...

I will say that my core has to be much more engaged on this guy than it does on Prairie, for one thing he's got a sneaky little kick out/lurch/jolt that will get the best of me if I'm sitting like a loose sack of potatoes.  For another, Prair's massive shoulder and neck mean that I can lean off one side or lay down without having a tangible effect on her balance.  With this guy, a 2" adjustment of my upper body drastically throws him around, so it's keeping me accountable, and maybe starting to resurrect my poor, post baby tummy. 


Mostly though he's a hysterical dude.  he is all derp faces and klutz, where Prair offers more of a unimpressed mare stare and caution.

I don't know what this is, but it's *not* the look of eagles.
Whatever he is, it's good for me and hopefully I'll be a stronger, more balanced rider for Prair when she needs it. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

All the Toys Now...

Went down to assist in the Mare's spa day with the vet, which really only entailed me holding my checkbook firmly and watching the dolla dolla bills fly away home. 

Hairy. Eyeball.
Prair received her final shockwave session and a PRP injection into the medial branch of the suspensory.  Right now we are operating under the hypothesis that the Suspensory is the "primary" injury, and that the strain on the superficial and the DDFT are ancillary to that. 

It's never a good day at the vet when you see them unpack every single machine from their truck. 

ultrasound, check.

centrifuge, check.

shockwave, check.

I suppose we left the digital xray safely packed away, but still - I had to take a gulp as I watched all the Pelican boxes get stacked up and unpacked...

I had never watch PRP done before, so I was semi fascinated with the actual process of separating the blood sample (60cc of it.. holy smokes that's a big syringe) into red blood cells, platelet poor plasma (PPP) and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP).  After processing, you come away with about 2cc of PRP, a lot of PPP and a lot of RBC.  Fascinating.

The horses were less fascinated and in fact were less than thrilled with something that smelled like blood and sounded like a spaceship. (I don't really blame them)

The PRP injection is guided by ultrasound, so we got a partial peek at what things look like, although since a different probe is used, it's not as useful (or comparable) an image relative to what we saw before.

It was pretty easy to see where the disruption of the suspensory is - in fact it shows up on the screen as a cloudy dark spot.  The sort of "void" that makes my stomach totally clench up and freak out - though my vet assured me the dark is an interruption but not a lack of tissue.  She still doesn't feel there is a full tear or even "lesion." So I tried to comfort myself with that interpretation.

Since we're only three weeks out from diagnosis we wouldn't expect to see much in the way of healing yet, but there was still a part of me that was hoping for some sort of miraculous progress.  Instead we'll wait 5 more weeks before we do a full comparison ultrasound.

As such, we're back to our regularly scheduled programming... turnout in the morning, wraps in the afternoon, stall and naked legs at night.

wash, rinse, repeat.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wandering Eye

If you've been following the blog for longer than you'd like to admit, you might remember how things went down when I found Prair (wasn't shopping), fell in love (wasn't shopping) then bought her approximately two weeks before my wedding (wasn't shopping) as a sort of wedding gift to myself.  I suppose The Boy got an extra happy wife that way...

But anyway.  If I spend too much time not getting to play with my ponies, my eye wanders and while I can usually dismiss even the loveliest prospects without much thought - my eye has landed on one and sort of like Prair - I can't get him out of my head.

While I might be able to justify the purchase price - now that we have gone Full-Hunter and are enjoying the benefits of a high end, high service barn - I definitely cannot justify having two in full training. 

That may be the only reason why I'm not typing this post from a hastily purchased plane seat en route to Virginia to go see him.

I love a nice looking Quarterback baby - and this might be the most huntery QB baby I've seen thus far. 

Right age, right size, right look... just maybe not the right time.  But then again.....

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


We've settled into a good stall rest routine for the mare.  We learned a lot last time around and I think everyone is happier for it.  For one thing, I'm still riding.  There's a.... sensitive gelding who I'm able to lesson on a couple times a week.  So that helps me.  a lot

The mare is still behaving, so she's getting several hours of turnout each day, which has to be good for her.  It's like she knows she has to be on good behavior because she is cool as a cucumber, more so than she normally is.  I've pulled her hind shoes, and her fronts have swapped back to regular shoes (not bar) while she's out of work.  In an ideal world I would have liked to pull her fronts too, but I don't trust the quality of her hoof right now and I don't want to add any soreness to the mix while we're stabilizing. 
More grazing - now with wraps

The only setback has been that the mare's legs got very, very puffy on Monday.  Like, stovepipes to her hocks puffy.

Prair has a pretty regimented wrap schedule right now.  She's naked at night, and while she gets turned out in the morning.  Then, when she comes in she gets ice boots, which has been followed by standing wraps with a poultice. 

I learned yesterday when I was there (and poking at the very puffy legs) that she was also getting poulticed (but not wrapped) overnight to help keep things tight.  I think that perhaps her skin got irritated?  I have no other explanation for equal swelling in both legs (swelling that was present when her wraps were removed).  I was worried that so much fill had reached her hocks.. and was showing no sign of leaving, even after bute, tri-dex (in case it was allergic) and handwalking.  But the mare was quite, eating, and comfy with no signs of distress or concern.  I left her in plain standing wraps with assurances that I would be called if things looked worse.

Today, Prair's right leg is normal (whew) but her left hind is still holding some fill, with a little up in her hock.  I'll be back at the barn tomorrow, and if things still aren't normalizing, I'll have the vet out.  The vet is already planning to be out on Monday for shockwave and PRP, so I'd like to avoid adding another trip, but I don't want to mess around with prolonged swelling, especially if it's creeping up the limb... (ugh).

As for me, the catch rides are good.  Mr. Gelding Man is the opposite of Prair in pretty much all possible ways.  He's compact and quick, light in the bridle and loves jumping but is a reluctant student on the flat.  He's rock solid where Prair isn't, and he's hard where Prair is easy for me.  So basically I'm exhausted after every ride and able to work on some of my own mental hang ups.  I'm a very confident rider on the flat and don't mind a horse that bucks/kicks/takes work to move off my leg or collect.  Mr. Gelding Man does all of those things, (where Prair is a willing partner on the flat) so it's good work for me.  Over fences, Mr. Gelding Man is supremely confident and very comfortable from any distance.  I can miss by a mile and he is just as happy as he would be with a perfect ride.  Prair is decidedly not happy when I miss by a mile (or an inch), so it's a good opportunity for me to stop overriding and get comfortable in a quieter, softer ride. 

Most importantly though, I finally picked up more horse treats, so the cookie dispensing can return to its usual, elevated rate. 

Stall rest and rationed treats are not well suited partners.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

holy crap this is going to get boring in a HURRY (more wine)

Even as I was snapping my (typical) pictures of Prair standing in her stall with her head out and munching on grass - I was rolling my eyes and wondering how many more of these things I can actually take.
Activity #2

Here's one with her ears forward!

Here's one with her looking like a total nerd horse.

Here's her eating grass!

grass with our ears forward!

A new blanket on!

etc etc, FML.

So consider this a proactive apology for the EXTREME BORINGNESS that will be the blog for a while. 


In less monotonous news, Prair has had two of her shockwave sessions and is scheduled for a third and some PRP (fly money, FLYYYYY) later this month.

I also maaaaaay have an appointment with a pet psychic on the books, but that clearly is its own post...

Prair also continues to be an obedient and quiet mare so she's still getting daily turnout which makes my heart hurt a little less during this process.

However, she is beating the shit out of her wraps, so I'm investigating alternatives.  She totally tolerates her ice boots and polos, but her standing wraps are apparently a no-go.

Finally the child has started eating shoes (wtf?) and furniture.  So... more wine.

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.



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