YES! Good news, little maresters! The BEST news!
Early this morning, I shuttled Gogo up to see Dr. C for our two-month ultrasound, which I suppose was technically a one-month ultrasound seeing as we also went back last month to get cleared for trotwork. The ultrasounds looked great then, but I was obviously worried about this past week's edema and wasn't sure what we were going to find. Just like the last recheck, the edema was magically gone when we got to the vet. How about that. We jogged her out in a straight line on pavement, and she was very sound - exactly the way she has been, a little uniformly stabby on both hinds if you were looking to fault something. Dr. C wanted to see her on the lunge, and I reminded her that Gogo hadn't been lunged in 10 months and I couldn't guarantee she wouldn't be ridiculously wild and stupid. Bless her lil' heart, she somehow managed to hold it together and behave herself perfectly, even though she did get that wild head shake a few times. She clearly wanted to be fresh, and I was very proud of her for keeping it sensible!
Back in the clinic, Dr. C didn't think we even needed to look at the tendon on ultrasound, but I asked if we could anyway just for my peace of mind. Lo and behold, it was gorgeous! Not a question in sight. The excess edema was just, well, edema. As we've always known all along, the legs are never going to be normal by any means, and sometimes they'll do weird things, like fill unexpectedly. As long as the fill goes away with movement and she's sound, it's all right. Phewwww.
We did choose to go ahead and medicate the hocks. There has been interesting dicussion on all ends concerning the original injections last August and their possible (probable) link to the original injuries, and I was asked if I would ever consider doing them again if need be. The clear answer in this situation was yes, but more wisely than before. I didn't appreciate how much better they made her feel before, and even though she had her few days of downtime as prescribed by the vet, we went right back into hard training and showing. Given her newfound comfort and freedom, she was using those limbs harder than ever, and with that increase in stride length and suspension came a subsequent increase in tendon load. What I suspect possibly happened was that the tendons had minor microdamage happen to them, just because we went on with our heavy training load as planned with only about a week of rest and light work - in normal situations, this was enough, and the tendons would have strengthened and rebounded in a normal fashion. Studies have shown that the way tendons strengthen is through microdamage on a cellular level, often stimulated by work on hard surfaces, such as pavement. This is why eventers tend to spend a lot of time hacking on paved roads at low speeds for long distances - it turns tendons into iron over time. However, in my case, while she may have had iron tendons given the tons of very careful conditioning I had done over the course of the previous year, she then had a new level of motion in her limbs to deal with, and wasn't through with compensating yet by the time we got to the AECs given all the hard stresses placed upon her in the three weeks prior. In her rather extreme case, this potential microdamage had to go to a show and cope with some wet and very slippery footing, then had to endure bouncing in a trailer for two days on the way to the AECs, and then during a very minor slip on XC had no strength left to rebound. If you've not seen the video of XC where we actually caught the slip on tape, see if you can spot it:
There is no reason a carefully fitted up horse should have had serious damage from a tiny slip like that. Which is honestly why we think it all tied back into the hock injections, done less than a month out from the AECs. I think it was a horrible time to do them, in retrospect. But not one single person pointed this out to me beforehand, and not one single person said 'told you so' afterwards. Everyone looked at me blankly when I explained, and then agreed that I was right, and they hadn't thought of that before. Thank you Daun for being the only one who had sense enough in your head to be like, "well duh." Had she not slipped at the AECs last year, we wouldn't be having this discussion. She more than likely would have just gone on with her bad self, and nobody would have thought twice about it.
Let me make this perfectly clear. I am ANTI-injection. Absolutely, without a doubt. BUT, I am not above refusing a needed treatment for my horse just because I don't like it. I might hem and haw over it, but at the end of the day, it's been almost a year since the last injection. She was starting to get uncomfortable in the right hock, and aside from turnout (which we can't do), there wasn't any other base I could cover. You name it, I'm currently doing it. It sucks that she had changes in her hocks. It sucks! But I can't ignore it and just hope it doesn't bother her too much, just because I don't like injections. A horse in pain will compensate for it. A compensating horse is putting stress on other places it shouldn't. A stressed limb will eventually fail. There is no way to expect her to have a proper rehab if she's not completely comfortable during it. How would you like to be doing PT for your Achilles tendon if your knees were sore? Woudn't get too far would you?
Unlike last year, there was no excess fluid in the joints. There was also not the same morality issue at hand. I've come to terms with what I need to do for this mare in order to keep her comfortable, and that's how it is. She needs to be comfortable in order to complete this rehab. I'm not trying to make her jump higher, run faster, or score better in dressage. I'm just trying to make sure she's where she needs to be, and that she's happy, and that she feels good. At the end of the day, that's what it all comes down to. Injections might be an American sickness and a seriously damaging crutch, but in a case like Gogo's, when there is actually a medical need, they have a place. Trust me, though, I have PLENTY of ugly things to say about them and their rampant abuse that I see every day.
Three days of treadmilling and coldhosing are in Gogo's forecast for the week. Then we go back to slowly building her under saddle work back to where it was. And then.... WE CANTER. YES!
Gogo says, man this coldhosing thing is crap...
.... I'd rather be doing some of this please!!
Zac's 3 week update
18 hours ago