Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Finding The Parts

A couple of weeks ago we had the vet out to do a check in on Windsor.

This was always the plan - he hasn't been off, or ouchy, or anything exciting/horrifying along those lines (well, aside from the stiffest neck in the WORLD after some shots..) but, it was basically a scheduled healthy-baby-check-up.

In my head, I know that there's no such thing with horses. 

Even if you think your baby is healthy, if you pay a vet (especially an extremely sensitive soundness vet) to look at your horse they will find something.

and in reality, I was expecting her to find something. 

Even when we were trying him, Windsor showed a desire to step off his left lead when he landed, and there was always a teeny tiny stiffness in his back that we weren't sure where it stemmed from.  He never flexed positive... nothing showed on x-rays, nothing showed in the ultrasounds... so we were reasonably certain it wasn't anything CRAZY, but still - one always holds one's breath when the vet starts poking and prodding.

What was peculiar, and honestly totally unexpected is when the vet mentioned that while he wasn't showing soreness... he almost looked a tad Neurologic in his hind end.

Cue fainting.

After I resumed consciousness from the brief, but intense panic attack - she clarified that this can be caused by any number of things, especially discomfort higher up in the limbs - and the "parked out" or loose movement can be a simple compensation not a scary, permanent state caused by an impingement or EPM or any of those scary things that I know way too much about.

The suggestion was to inject all the things.  I thought this was a little weird since I've never injected anything that didn't flex positive or wince away from palpation.. But there was enough residual panic from the whispering of neu-ro-log-ic that I agreed to do whatever it took to make it go away.

So we injected his S/I and both stifles and took a few days off and I tried not to cry myself to sleep at night.

When we resumed work (this if about two weeks ago, FYI).  Windsor felt AWESOME.  Like, how can injections possibly help this much when you weren't showing any soreness- awesome.

But I'll take it.  He's more forward (though he still trends towards slow), he's much lighter on his front end, and his lateral work - holy shit - his lateral work is miraculously easy now.

Not perfect.  But easy.  A slight half halt and some leg and he just steps up and under and doesn't even tempt me to go to my hand.  And it's amazing how much better your leg yields, shoulder ins, everything get when you don't get tricked into going to your hand...

It's lovely.  And it's not subtle.

When the vet returned to see how the injections affected him - she was also impressed at how much improvement she saw.  I can't say for certain but I've never seen her raise her eyebrows and go "wow, I guess we nailed it."

The improvement has only continued - which is really fun. 

Our flat lessons have been extremely productive, and now that Windsor is naturally sitting back a bit more all the sudden I can feel where all of his limbs are.  It's amazing how when the back lifts and softens how much more information you get from your seat.  It becomes possible to manage straightness and impulsion and each tiny little hoof without much effort.

So now, when we're working on pushing his tushy in and out on a circle, I can feel where his footfalls are.  Kind of how I can feel how my ponytail is swinging behind me when I run (assuming I ever ran). 

It doesn't feel like an extension of my own limbs (I'm not Anky), but now it at least feels like something that's actually attached to me instead of some big block that I'm bouncing along on top of. 

And that lets me relax my hips and hug my legs and actually sit on my horse.

In other words - I feel like I can ride again.

It's still a bit difficult for me to rationalize how much improvement we got when he literally didn't show any signs of discomfort (aside from a disengaged hind end..).  It goes against my experience with previous horses, and previous maintenance needs - but as new and strange as it is, the one thing that holds true is that nothing is ever the same with a new horse. 


  1. Breathing a sigh of relief for you, that the hint of "neurologic" stiffness isn't anything serious or long-term! So exciting that you can actually feel Windsor now and that your flat work has gotten so much better. Can't wait to see where you guys go from here :)

  2. crazy that he's so improved when he didn't seem very off before... which naturally sets off all these paranoid little alarm bells in my own head (like, maybe THAT'S the problem we're having!)... le sigh. but still, yay for Windsor feeling so good!

  3. Wow.. yeah If you felt like fainting I would have probably died.

    1. I probably would have murderized someone. Glad this has a good outcome!

  4. I've been working with Henry on moving his hip around to and it's an awesome feeling to have that control!

  5. Hahaha just when I was about to sneak off the INJECT ALL THE THINGS bandwagon.

  6. Oh yikes... that's a bit upsetting!

  7. Dang, I would have been laid out on the barn floor in hysterics if my vet even breathed that word about my pretty new horsey... you are pretty brave! Glad the injections have made such a difference. I have found with my own pain/stiffness if I cave in and take some painkiller, I feel better that day, AND the next one. I think because I'm able to "use myself" properly. So maybe these will fix your pony for quite a while to come!

  8. Hopefully at his age it will be a once and done injection, or at least very infrequent. I think I would have probably needed a strong drink if I heard my vet say something like that, especially after how much you spent to get him and get him vetted in the first place. After the last three you deserve a sound and happy horse!

  9. Glad to see that everything was worked through and that he feels better! Libby has felt so much better since I've gotten her stifles done and her feet fixed. :-)

  10. So glad it all worked out, I'd have had a mental death at the neurological mention too.
    I am so delighted to read that the change was so much for the better and a quick transition to even more awesome unicorn horse

  11. Now I want to inject all the things!

  12. Out of curiousity, NH as your vet? Also, do you mind sharing the cost of injecting the stifles/si? I'm leaning toward my youngster being stuff through there as she too moves a little wonky, not off but not as smoothly as a youngster should!

    1. I do use NH for all our lameness work... she's thorough, so be prepared to find something wrong with your horse! ;)
      I don't mind sharing at all. I know she's not the cheapest, but it was $350 for the injections themselves. With sedation, farm call and a full lameness workup (which is more significant than if I said, his LF is weird, please look at it...) the total came to $625.


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