I will preface this by saying...I have actually made more progress with Jet, formerly referred to as The Big Bay, in the last few months than I have in the previous 2 years.
That being said...
I am starting to feel like he is the never ending project...money disposal horse. (sigh)
The good news is; I no longer feel like I am taking my life in my hands when I ride him. He is quiet, confident, getting soft in the face, soft in the body and shows absolutely no inclination to blow a gasket anymore.
We have a fantastic walk and a good, steady trot. Transitions from the walk to trot are good. Transitions from a trot to a canter are most decidedly uncertain and a little all over the place and he isn't comfortable holding a lope for more than a stride, maybe two. I'd much rather him want to break down to a trot again vs. taking off at a dead run or blow up anyway...So we just keep working on it. It will come. He stops nicely and backs, although a bit draggy for the first few steps yet, but he's not resistant. He turns on the forehand, turns on the haunches and sidepasses.
The bad news is, his joint injections have worn off and I can tell his right stifle and hock are bothering him again and he is wanting to step to the outside of his left foot also. That means, if I want to keep going forward with him...I'll have to have him re-injected. Stifles and hocks.
Getting this horse injected the first time was really more along the lines of, Let's see if this helps. I sort of knew that pain issues were the underlying reason for some of his previously untrainable behavior. I didn't really expect it was the SOLE issue.
This is where I am uncertain, and nobody can really say, if injections are going to be a lifelong thing to keep this horse sound enough to hold together. My vet sort of indicated that it might be the case, but the truth is...I don't really understand why it would be so. The horse's stifle is uninjured. Conformationally, he's good, a little funky in the hocks, but those have actually straightened out significantly.
I don't really understand WHY he wants to fall apart physically and so drastically. He is definitely one of horsedom's great mysteries. I have never seen a horse want to fall apart like this in my life. I've seen some conformational trainwrecks that never had problems and yet, here is an uninjured, pretty well-put-together horse that just isn't sound without the aid of injections. It baffles me.
I looked at him long and hard today and wondered, Is this really worth it? And then he just rides out so sweet and willing and I groan. It's not fair to quit him now. Not when he's trying so hard to be a good horse. He can't help it that his body wants to betray him for no apparent reason.
I'm going to go with one more round of injections, see if we can't get him conditioned past this tendency to travel all weird and lopsided. Maybe now that we are past all of the head-issues...that was really just a manifestation from pain, maybe the conditioning will take hold and solidify his body and he won't always want to fall apart. There really is nothing else I can do. I either have to stay on the path we are on or I have to put him down, because if his previous problems are any indication, he won't hold up for long without 'help' anyway, even if he is not being ridden.
I swear, I sure have accumulated the oddest bunch of horses I have ever owned in my life. Between Moon's asthma, Frosty's IR and this horse's odd hind-end, not to mention the fact that Beretta was taken out of any potential usefulness before she was even weaned (not that I knew it at the time) and Shooter's leg injury last year...
Oiy Vey!! The fact that I have ridable horses at all is a testament to how wonderful our modern times are. People can bemoan how awful the horse world has gotten, but the truth is, our horse's lives, if we chose to make it happen, have improved dramatically.