I got this comment on my last post and happen to think it is a very legitimate question...
*elephant in the corner*
If your horse is so sore you have to ice his back, and you're giving him bute ...
Isn't it time to take more than a week off?
Is bute legal in your local region? In many equestrian events, it's highly illegal to compete a horse on bute ..."
Believe me, when I saw Moon was lame...the very first thing that crossed my mind was if I was going to need to 'vet out' from the two rodeos I was entered in last weekend.
However, I was lucky this time as I noticed the lameness on Wednesday evening and wasn't up to run again until Friday night. Time was on my side to kind of figure things out.
Secondly, I am very fortunate that I have a host of professionals, who I trust, who are just a phone call away and I am very willing to haul my horse to them for examination. They know me well enough that they feel free to be brutally honest. I am not even going to lie...I have carefully networked and developed friendships in the local horse world. I am of the belief that if you want to be the best, you have to know the best. If even one of the three professionals that I had examine Moon before leaving for the rodeos had said, 'It's best if you don't run him.' I would have scratched my runs and paid my fines.
I have no doubt that as we keep going, there is going to come a time when that will be required...this just wasn't one of those times. Moon had a muscle spasm in his back and THIS time, bute was used in an appropriate manner.
I haven't given a horse bute in over a decade, until this incident and Moon only got 2 doses. I am not a believer in dosing my horses with bute every time they get a little sore or get a little boo-boo. Pain/soreness is an indicator to both me and the horse. I think one of the worst things you can do to a horse that is injured is kill the pain. Then they don't know they are hurt and will often do more damage to themselves rather than use some caution. There is a ton of items on the market that have anti-inflammatory properties or promote healing without actually numbing the horse's pain.
Soreness is another matter...you need to find the root. I already knew the likely cause of what caused Moon's muscle spasm...which is a post in itself. That was hopefully fixed by the farrier.
As for time off...Well...I never had any intention of 'not riding' Moon when I said we needed a week off. I meant I was going to skip the local rodeo on Tuesday and not enter the weekend rodeo. With the heat and so much traveling...both Moon and I were feeling a little limp. Riding, however is my best indicator of how Moon feels and since he no longer had any back pain by Saturday morning, the soreness issue was pretty much mute.
I gave Moon Sunday off and let him loaf in the pasture. Monday, I rode and he felt fine. Tuesday...
He was back on fire and rearing to go. I was actually quite disappointed I had not entered the Tuesday rodeo. Oh well, we spent the week riding with a friend, working on patterning, my timing in the runs and riding in the desert. It was a great week. Moon felt awesome and I got a lot of good insight.
Now mind you, the horse was given 2 doses of bute. One dose on the Friday before at 5 pm and one dose on Saturday morning at 5 am. There was no way there was anything left in his system by Tuesday morning that would have numbed any pain he was in. He was just back to himself and moreso than ever. Hey...with a horse that is rearing to go...you don't waste a weekend sitting at home...I ended the weekend rodeo late and we will be running.
As for the 'is bute legal' question...
Rodeo does not test. EVER...for any drug...in any region...or any association. Nor does the NBHA (to my knowledge).
You'll most likely never get any either. Unlike horse shows/associations, rodeo is based on the winnings of the person, not the horse they ride. Now that being said, 'Rodeo' is far more interested in promoting the humane treatment of the animals people use to compete than most horse shows I've been to. If I was to yank and jerk on a horse at a rodeo, like what is common to see in a horse show warm-up pen, I would most likely be fined and if it became a pattern...kicked out of the association. Physical abuse is not tolerated at rodeos, in the arena or back at the trailer. What you do to keep your horse performing however...is your business. If you are stupid enough to want to ruin your horse for that 'one run' then they aren't going to say anything.
Now I am sure that people will disagree with what constitutes 'physical abuse'. Just because someone is rougher than their horse than you would be with yours does not mean the horse is abused. Just because someone uses a stronger bit than what you use, does not mean the horse is abused. But...if you see someone at a rodeo recklessly/repeatedly yanking, spurring or whipping a horse, all you have to do is get someone else to witness the actions with you and turn them in at the office. It's as easy as that. Put up your complaint or shut up about it.
Considering the number of 'legal' drugs that a person can use on a horse in the show world to keep a horse going...I do find it ironic that bute is considered 'bad'. I mean, I know the reason behind it...You can make a 3-legged lame horse appear to be sound with the use of bute...but in the grand scheme of things...it's far less disturbing than the lengths I KNOW the show world goes to to keep a horse going.
There is also a large number of products on the market that have the same properties as bute and the ads specifically say...'Will Not Test'...so just because someone is not using one product...does not mean they are not using another.
I guess the base line is-this time I had the luxury of a couple of days before hand to figure out what was going on with my horse. I consulted 3 professionals (talked to a couple others), my horse was sound before I left and completely fine by the next morning...he wasn't sore after the bute wore off and is back to his normal self (and then some).
I'm okay with the decision I made. Particularly since I think the bute and ice is what got the spasm out of Moon's back without any residual soreness. Hopefully that answers your questions Anon and I sure didn't mind that you asked them.