A Fork in the Path

This post took me hours to finish, and at least 2 breakdowns. I’ve decided that horses turn even the most sensible of people into big, emotional messes that inevitably turn to negative thoughts. I completely admit that these past 6 months of various mysterious injuries and lameness with O have definitely led to me becoming this person. Which I hate, by the way.

However, today was the day that I finally got at least partial answers about O and her issues. Today was the meeting with my trainer to get the full download from O’s various appointments last week.

A disclaimer. None of it was great news.

First: The chiropractor told me more about O’s past than I’ve known in the 10 odd months of owning her. The chiropactor agreed that O had a significant amount of work that needed to be done to make her feel better…He also agreed that in her short life before being with me, O had a rough time of it, and may have suffered a serious trama. Whether it was at the track or as a track pony, we don’t know. After hearing this though, my trainers did some calling around and found out that the man who bred/trained O when she was a racehorse has a crappy reputation with his horses. 😦 That pisses me off!

Secondly: O is still lame. And on a lunge looks to be exactly the same amount of lame as she was a month ago when we first noticed it (again). She is due for shoes, but my trainer doesn’t think that is the issue. All the injections, the bute, the stretches, special appointments, and time off did nothing. It’s rather heartbreaking.

That being said, I feel like the bottom line that came out from this meeting is that the chiropractor, along with various opinions from the vets and farriors (yes-we have 2), there are some serious concerns being raised about O’s future as a jumping horse. These recent and continuing lameness issues have sparked a lot of debate and worry. At this point I’m trying really hard to not focus on the fact that O might not be my jumping partner ever again, and most definitely will not be my future Adult Hunter. I want to focus on finding a way to make her healthy and happy! I love her, and it’s torture to know that we still don’t know what is wrong. Next stop is shoes. And in the meantime, lots of love and treats for my girl.

14 thoughts on “A Fork in the Path

  1. The most common traumatic neck/back injuries for young horses stem from being tied and then beaten for not standing still. Horses not only pull back against the lead rope, but often go completely down under this kind of attack. Since their heads are tied up high, the whole neck and spine is both twisted and jerked with the full weight of their body. It is serious whiplash, and is exacerbated by ignoring the damage and pressing the horse to perform under saddle. It has taken my OTTB rescue two years to get his neck and back loosened up. If I give him the time now to heal (I got him when he was 4) , he can have a useful life. Asking too much too soon will cripple him.

    • This might also explain O’s issue with being tied. She will pull back and try escape if something scary happens while she is tied. However, my halters always just break and allow her to back up a few steps-at which point she is typically much calmer. She is much more content in the cross ties, and I rarely tie her anymore. Thank you for the info, I’m so glad your boy is feeling better!

      • yeah, I don’t tie mine at all any more. At 1400 lbs he can and does break just about anything. The improvement is that he is very calm, thoughtful, and precise about how much effort it takes. Once he is free then he stands there looking at me with his head cocked to see if I am going to hit him.
        Give your mare time to heal and keep on with the body work….

      • Old back injuries are really hard to diagnose in horses. One of the best books I’ve read on lameness in horses was written in the 1970’s by James Rooney DVM. He talks about compensatory lameness and his basic idea is that the obvious symptom of lameness come from the horse compensating for pain somewhere else in the body. Knowing that has been an immeasurable help in my rehab work. Sadly that understanding is very rare among vets and farriers, so diagnosis can be slow and difficult. I am glad you are persisting in getting help for your mare!

      • Just to be clear, the guy beating on his yearlings is also the one who is going to be prepping them for the racetrack regardless of the damage he’s done. The ones who show their injuries are sent to slaughter. The ones who make it, like your mare, will fight to survive and so have a good prognosis for healing. Connective tissue takes about 18 moths to restructure, so giving her time is essential.

  2. Boo my original comment disappeared! When I had issues for years I wished someone had told me to just put my horse on the trailer and go to the vet school. There were so many eyes looking at my horse and so many ideas for what was wrong, many things the other vets I saw never mentioned. I got a preliminary answer of what was wrong with my horse in less than 36 hours. I truly wish I had done it sooner but the cost scared me. I spent LESS in those two nights he stayed there than I had in vet visits, trial meds, gadgets, etc in the past year. Plus my horse felt better, which is priceless. I was like you, thinking I would be lucky just to ride him again, let alone jump. Just wanted to make sure you consider this, especially as most regular vets don’t understand back/neck issues well.

    • I will definitely be checking into this! We have a great vet school only a few hours from here, and while my money is a little tight after this summer it may be our best bet to finding out how to make her feel better.

      Thanks for the advice πŸ™‚

  3. Pingback: TOABH: Costly | A Gift Horse

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