The vets I work with now I really rather like, which isn't like me at all. I don't like vets - hell, I drive for hours to get to the vets I regularly use because I just don't like the several local practices very much - and a lot of the ones I'm regularly around have just been WRONG about several diagnoses made at my barn. In those cases, we have sought different opinions elsewhere, or done what we think is best instead. We didn't listen to those vets, because they weren't right. And vets sometimes aren't right. With Metro, my last horse, THREE different vets all told me that his problem was ringbone, and that I should move him and turn him out (and ride as well). So I did... for four months. I turned him out every day, and he ran and played and was adorable and free. I got him out as much as I did, even moving him over to 24/7 turnout. I finally sought another opinion at Michigan State after he continued to get lamer and lamer despite following all the vets' orders, and discovered the gaping black hole in his suspensory. Had I not been turning him out and moving him for four months, had we caught it sooner, he might still be alive today. I should not have listened to my vets, but I didn't know. I trusted they were right. They were wrong.
So where does that bring us? Vets are people with jobs, just like we are. Some are in it because they love the animals and the clients. Some aren't. When do you not listen to the vet? When they don't give you the kind of advice you can work with? When they don't give you a diagnosis you like? Who is to say who is right or wrong? Maybe you're right and they're wrong. Maybe you're wrong and they're right. Maybe if you disregard their opinions, you'll be doing the right thing. Maybe you'll be condemning your horse to a lifetime of pain, or worse. You are paying them for their diagnosis and opinion, and that is what they are giving. Like I said before, everyone needs a vet they can trust, whether or not they give you the information you want to hear. I didn't want to hear that my horse has a new injury. I would have liked to just press on with her training and pretend like nothing was going on. But how could I? Just because she was a little off didn't mean it was something major - or did it? In this case, it did. If I had continued to ride her and turn her out, who knows when a major breakdown would have happened? For any number of vet-related things, if I DON'T follow their advice, am I destroying my horse? If I DO follow their advice, is it the same? I trust my vets, and I trust that they are going to give me the best diagnosis that they can, and good solid advice for bringing her back. But I've been there with vets I didn't like and didn't trust. I moved beyond them.
She wasn't THAT lame. This was her jog-out the day after she went horribly off:
How many horses do you know that are *just* that lame? Are they okay? Or, like with Metro, is there something horribly wrong that you might not ever know about until it is far too late?
Readers, when do you listen to the vet? When don't you? And why?
And, sigh..... my March goals.
1) Start canterwork, building from 5 minutes for the first two weeks to 10 for an additional two weeks, then resume regular flatwork sessions in the beginning of March
Uh.... yeaaaa. Well, we were almost there. Mid-March, we were approaching real dressage work, and she felt amazing. She was cantering again 4 days out of the week for 5+ minutes, both directions, getting stronger every day. And then it all fell apart.
2) Continue to build our hacks up to an hour of walk work (revamp plan as well so we have a more concrete idea)
Well, we were almost there... again. We were at 45 minutes of walk with a minute or two of trot on the road. We would have reached an hour. I had a hack plan all figured out all the way through the end of May too. Sigh.
3) Move to the next incline level on the treadmill
Success! And now, failure. We aren't able to treadmill at all. But we were up to Level 3 on the incline. (There are 9 levels.)
4) MAYBE if everything goes according to plan and we are back to regular work at the end of the month, a trip to the beach!? (Just to walk around in the water and smell the salty air!)
So sad that we never got to do this. The beaches closed yesterday to horse traffic for the summer. But hopefully we can do in October...!
5) Near the end of the month, reevaluate show season - where we stand, where it looks like we'll be, and what we will need to do to have a successful show season (finances, opening dates, rejoining organizations should her soundness continue)
Except... her soundness did not continue. We have a brand-new injury, and therefore our show season is almost totally shot. I have hopes that maybe this fall we can do some little things, but we will just have to wait and see how it goes.
1) Not break down/freak out every time I get a little too emotional over this horrible blow!
2) Start to build from 10 minutes of handwalking to 15, then 20, then 25 by the end of the month
3) Near the end of the month, start treadmill work again on Level 1 (flat setting)
4) Stay positive!
5) Start handgrazing a little every day
I know, they're kind of lame goals. But you have to start somewhere, right?