I've been silent for a few days for good reason. I have NO idea what is going on with my horse. It seemed like something horrible, and now it seems like nothing at all. Let me explain...
Thursday we cantered a tiny bit for the first time, right? We did much of the same on Friday, just a little bit of canter left and right (on an unfortunate yet large circle.... I felt as though on a straight line there would be much gallopy bucky death). On Saturday, I took her for a little mini-hack around the property - my plan was to start elaborating on the little hacks we've already done, adding five or ten minutes on every week, gradually starting to increase the level of hillwork we're doing. She was very, very well-behaved, albeit a bit tall when we walked around the far edge of the property and she spotted the neighbor's mini donkey. With Dr. C's blessing, I also left her wraps off that night, the first night she's gone without them in five months. The legs were way less filled than I expected them to be the next morning, and I was very, very excited.
Sunday, however, was a different story. There were two other horses in the arena with me, and the scary doors were rattling in the wind, so I spent a very long time doing simple walk work, mostly stretching and coming back up again. I trotted for a little while one way, trotted again the other way, then tried a little bit of canter going to the left. Much to my happiness, she maintained it on her own, managing to go an entire circle and a half! We walked for a little bit, then went the other way to try some other trotwork. She was being fussy and resistant, like she does sometimes, and at one point tossed her head around enough to draw the attention of my favorite boarder who was also in the ring. (I love all my boarders, but this one in particular manages to crack me up every day without fail. And she knows what she's talking about too.) "How's she doing?" she asked. "She looks great!" "She's being fussy," I said. She then threw her head around again, this time throwing in a couple of completely sideways leaps. "See, she did it again!" I said. "That looked to me like an I-don't-wanna-you-can't-make-me," she replied. I had brought her back to a walk for a moment, listening, then moved back up into the trot. And she was DEAD LAME. Dead hobbling, completely crippled lame on her right hind. I, of course, had a total heartattack and called the attention of the boarder back, hopping off in a total panic. I jogged her both ways for her, she jogged her both ways for me, and yep.... DEAD lame at the trot. Interestingly enough, she was totally sound at the walk. She literally was toe-dragging lame at the trot, although she seemed to very mildly improve the second time I saw her trot. Odd.
Back in the barn, feeling utterly miserable, I called Dr. C right away. We both thought it was odd that she would turn up completely hobbling mid-ride when she had been doing so fantastically, and Dr. C suggested that perhaps she had either stung herself, or that she had a small adhesion that ruptured. I was not sure, but we decided that rest was not going to hurt regardless, so we opted to stop her turnout for a few days, continue to treadmill her, bute her, and monitor her for any signs of heat, swelling, increasing or decreasing lameness, or anything else odd. We would reevaluate on Tuesday - if she was better, then it was likely that she stung herself or perhaps had an adhesion that had broken up. If she was worse or the same, then she'd need to be seen again by the vet. I buted and wrapped her, feeling horrible. If something else was wrong, and we had more months of stall rest, then that was it... our show season was already over before it began. She spent Monday doing little more than getting lots of love from me and walking on the treadmill once. There still was no odd swelling or heat anywhere, and she was walking sound. I still felt pretty sure that something was horribly wrong.
However, yesterday I pulled her out of her box when my favorite boarder came so that we could both get a good look at her, and took her to the arena to replicate the previous jogging situation. She hadn't had bute in her since the morning before, so I wasn't expecting any miracles. But... she was 90% better! Maybe even 95%! I about had a heartattack when I saw it, because I thought for sure that she would still be
dead hobbling lame. Nope, she was not! One thing I DID notice that day in particular was that there seemed to be a small increase in heat at the back of her fetlock, and that the blood vessels on either side of her fetlock (see a visual here) looked large and active, like they were actively pumping blood around that area. Since there was no damage the actual tendon itself, but there WAS inflammation in the actual tendon sheath, I have a theory. I don't think she stung herself because of how she was fussing beforehand - something was bothering her ahead of time. Between the tendon sheath and the actual tendon itself, sometimes bundles of scar tissue, called adhesions, can form. It's important to start low-grade exercise early on in a tendon injury case in order to attempt to keep these from forming, because these bits of tissue can cause the tendon to "stick" to other surrounding tissues, reducing their ability to glide within the tendon sheath. When these stretch and break up, they are extremely painful, but the pain, swelling and heat are short-lived (if addressed promptly) and off the horse goes to continue its career. My thought is that since her trot isn't huge, the motion of it didn't cause any stress to a possible adhesion in the RH, but that bit of canter was just enough for it to become stressed and stretch. (Why that didn't happen when she went leaping around like an idiot all those times, I don't know.) It might have been bothering her on Sunday, which is why she would have been so fussy, and when she went to leap around in protest, it broke up, resulting in that extreme and sudden lameness, and that bit of heat and mild swelling around the fetlock... and why she was SO much better yesterday. Going to the right, oddly enough, I'd call her sound. Going to the left, she's still short on that right hind.
But that's just a guess. Whether or not that's true... I don't know.
My hope is that this continues to improve, and we move on and put it behind us. I wouldn't say we're out of the woods yet, but if it were a more serious acute injury, she would still be hobbling lame. I'll keep you posted.... there's always the option of breeding this year instead of next.
The very special Ridgeway weekend
3 days ago