Monday, September 16, 2013
Another First For Me
The Big Bay went to the vet today to have his hocks x-rayed. He has come around tremendously since his visit with Dr. K. His attitude is so much different, although I still have to remember to give myself enough time when I am handling him to make sure his brain engages and he completely relaxes. I can't just walk into his pen and throw a halter on him like I do the other horses. It's a process. It's working...but it is still a process.
Physically the horse is changing for the better as well. His left front leg straightened out and for the most part, so did his right hind leg. However, I have never really like the hocks on this horse...They just look 'odd'. They bulge to the outside, particularly the right hock. And that is the leg that has the odd hitch to it when he travels.
I decided as long as I have gone this far with this horse, I might as well go all in and get those hocks x-rayed to see what was going on in there. It was as I feared...there is some significant arthritic changes in the right hock. The vet will email me the x-rays so I can show you what is going on, but after some discussion with the vet...really the only option was to inject.
I never really thought I would find myself injecting joints in a horse, but I can see where this horse is definitely struggling and like I said, I've gone this far with him, I decided to just see what he is if he is totally pain free. In a way, Jet seems abnormally sensitive to me, but he is so much different than the type of horses I have become accustomed to...and it didn't help that he was driven to blowing up by the trainer due to sore hocks. I TOLD the trainer that horse was sore in his hocks and to STOP riding him in the roundpen and asking him to roll over his hocks so much. Now, that is all that is stuck in the poor horse's head and every time I ask him for his face, he wants to panic. Not because he is afraid of having his mouth touched, but because all he remembers is how much it hurt when he did what was asked of him. I've had friends offer to take Jet and 'ride him through' his problems...everybody worries about me riding such a big, powerful horse that is prone to blowing up...But I just won't do it to him. He has valid reasons for acting the way he does and at this point, the horse trusts me and me alone. If it's possible to get through it, we will do it together.
Even though the right hock is not nearly as compromised as the left hock, we injected both of them. I was actually surprised at how simple and un-traumatic it was. I've watched other horses get their hocks injected (not by my vet, but by different vets) and there seemed to be a lot of random sticking while the horses kicked like crazy. Not with my vet. He gave The Big Bay a little sedative and when that kicked in, he very gently and carefully placed the needle in the desired spots and administered the Legend. Each hock was injected on the inside and the outside. The Big Bay was unaffected and stood very quietly. Way quieter than I could have even imagined...even though he was sedated, I anticipated he would be nervous and move away from the vet, but he was a very good boy and stood like a statue.
The after-care dictates that I keep The Big Bay up for 3 days, with a short handwalk each day. After that, he can start a light exercise program. Since I can't really just saddle him up and go for a light ride, that means some easy lunging or ponying. The vet said that if it was going to help, that within 2 weeks I should see a significant improvement in his travel pattern. That will be the time to have the chiro work him over again and then we just go on with our training. Hopefully, this is just one more piece of the puzzle falling into place for the big guy.