3 years ago fresh off the track-
So I haven’t been posting on this blog as much as I would like lately, and it really just comes down to the fact that nothing fun, exciting, or noteworthy has been happening in my equestrian life. It’s only really fun to post things that are “cool” and not as much fun to discuss the daily minutiae and/or struggles.
But after some thinking, I realized the daily minutiae is something all of us equestrians face week to week month to month, and one thing we all have in common no matter how long you have been riding, what your goals are, or how high you jump.
After I finally curated all my show outfits this winter and we were ready to go, the spring and early summer have failed to live up to my plans and expectations full of Hunter pacing and doing all the shows. This is pretty much due to my horse being a pro-level self injurer. I have been left feeling really disappointed sitting on the sidelines.
And to add insult to injury, from not really riding and from not jumping at all for a while, I am finding myself feeling scared of things that used to be “normal” for me.
I watched videos yesterday of my horse and I jumping courses from last summer and the thought of doing them makes my heart beat a little faster and my chest feel slightly like I can’t breathe. I know both my horse and I are physically capable, so I just want to kick myself.
Little spooks that used to make me chuckle now make me want to go ride in the indoor where there are no distractions. Trails I used to gallop down now make me so nervous I want to take a chokehold on my horse’s face (which obviously makes things better….. NOT)
Needless to say, I am admitting that I have really been riding the struggle bus.
Has anyone else been there? Secrets to exiting the struggle bus and becoming braver!?
I have been seriously slacking on this blog, but alas life just has a habit of getting in the way. I just got back from the Rolex Three Day event so that definitely deserves its own post, which I will hopefully get to in the next few days.
For now, I’ll leave this comparison here- Mabou the first year I had him to now, two years later.
It has been quite a while since I have posted with any kind of regularity, or at all. I have been too busy spending all my money on my horse, and not for the fun kind of reasons. I also was just generally frustrated as we weren’t able to take lessons, fox hunt at all, or make any kind of progress due to everything.
When I last posted in October, it was a complete bitch fest about the string of crappy things that happened to both Mabou and me that made us unable to ride. To summarize for those who don’t want to read all that whining- Mabou bruised his ankle on a trailer ramp, and his mystery SI or other problem continued to intensify, where he began bucking every time he cantered left, which culminated in me getting bucked off and breaking my left hand not once but twice (yes the second time was about a week after the first one healed….. I cannot express how fun that was).
In addition to the riding issue, since he started this problem he always stood very close behind and resting the right hind. Again, this didn’t really help to diagnose him but it was something that I noticed.
I had gotten to the point where he was having a massage every week, chiropractor every two weeks, and I had two different vets look at him (along with the chiro who is also a vet). Neither vet could find anything wrong with him. He flexed perfectly, all his X-rays looked great, and even though I kept saying I thought it was an SI issue, they kept telling me that it appeared to be fine since he wasn’t sensitive to palpation there.
The chiropractor thought the issue was somewhere near the lumbar sacral or sacroiliac joint but his adjustments were not holding. The only thing that seemed to give him relief was electro acupuncture.
It got to a point that it was suggested to me that perhaps it was a behavioral issue and he just didn’t want to work, or canter left or something like that. I know my horse, and that is not like him at all, he actually enjoys working and is not a mean guy, so I was pretty set that something was wrong. After a week trial of 1 gram of bute twice a day returned him to my perfect pony, it was basically confirmed there was something wrong with him, just that nobody knew what it was.
I decided to bite the bullet and take him to our local veterinary hospital for a bone scan, hoping that it would at least indicate where the problem was and then ultrasound or other diagnostics could be done from there as needed. He would have to stay for 2 days, to allow for the radioactive isotopes he would get injected with for the scan to get out of his system.
My trainer and I dropped him off on a Thursday morning and then I went to work, with directions from the hospital that they would call me at 5 with his scan results. That day seriously dragged and I can’t say I was productive at work. After an eternity, they called and the result- his left SI was very severely inflamed. The vet told me that normally in a bone scan, or nuclear scintigraphy, when they take the overhead view of the hind end, the SI is blocked by the pelvis and doesn’t show in the scan. His was so bad that it actually lit up through the pelvis!
I can’t even tell you how relieved I was. It was exactly as I suspected all along, and no other issues were found anywhere! So he had both sacroiliac joints injected via ultrasound guided injections on Friday morning and then we picked him up Friday afternoon to go home. Three days off with turnout and then he can return to his regular work and should feel like a million dollars.
Poor guy was generally really irritable when we got him home Friday, but I really can’t blame him, he had been through a solid day of testing and being poked and prodded and two whole days of no turnout, in isolation, sedated, and twitched. (He has bruises on his nose from the twitching which breaks my heart but it was for his own good)
Hopefully now I will have my fun horse back, and I can actually start posting fun horse things again. I renewed my USEF and USHJA memberships back in December, in the hope that we would be showing again this year, and it looks like that was good luck or something. For now we will concentrate on growing back the two bald spots on him that the hospital shaved for the injections (they are to the skin bald!!).
If I could go back in time I would have gone for the bone scan immediately rather than wasting months trying to figure it out with vets chiro etc. It would have actually been cheaper in the long run.
Here’s to a 2016 filled with fun and ribbons.