Wednesday, May 18, 2016
broken.... broken hearted.... broken....
Oh how I love him! If this is all we get to do from now on... we'll still have fun because we'll still have each other. But I'm not going to lie. It's breaking my heart wondering if we'll be sound enough to play again. He owes me nothing, but he wants to work and he wants to go and he wants to play.
We went on another long hack and just enjoyed each other. Tuesday we had our vet appointment with the vet. He watched him go and you could hear how lame he was trotting down the concrete aisleway. We flexed his lower joints on the right hind and didn't notice much change. But when we flexed his stifle, especially by taking his right hind under, he became more lame. So then we ultrasounded his stifle. Basically... it looks awful. The meniscus is trashed, the medial and lateral collateral ligaments are trashed. And he was so sore on it. The vet thought it might be an acute injury as they typically are in a horse his age. However, he's always been a bit weaker on the right hind and he has always been prone to hyper-extending that stifle due to his conformation. We did just change his shoeing too, as it's only been two shoeings with the new farrier. But... there was some scarring in the ultrasound that would indicate previous trauma. And there was very little effusion in the joint.
I honestly don't know how long he's been this lame though. I swear that this is the worst he's been ever, but I haven't ridden him in 2 months so I really don't know when it started. And the few cheat rides I did were not long enough to really tell if he was that lame or not, as when he first starts and is straight it takes a few strides to notice.
Regardless, whether it was acute or chronic, his stifle did not give us a warm fuzzy feeling for a full recovery. So we injected it and are crossing our fingers. The good news is that he's a tough cookie and we thought his fetlock didn't give us a warm fuzzy feeling either but hes' been going well on that for the last 8 months after we injected it. The bad news is that it looks pretty rough, it's a high motion joint, and... the injections may not work. Or if they do, they may not last.
But you know... God has prepared me and I *think* I am okay with accepting the fact that he really is getting to be an old man. I'm pretty sure I'm okay with having to retire him from competing. Quite honestly, even if he does get sound and feels great, he's got so many chronic issues and is at max capacity that prelim isn't an option anymore. It's just not fair. And to be honest, I'm not sure that it'll be as much fun to run training. Although I say that every time but we have a blast when we do run it. But even then, I'm not sure it's worth the risks. With Dan coming along, I think I'll be okay with just having fun with Fleck. I'm not saying that we won't jump or gallop. I'm not saying that I won't take lessons on him. I'm not saying that I won't even do a few fun shows with him if he's feeling good. But I am saying that I'm taking competition off the table for him. He deserves that. (Although I really think he enjoys showing... the adventure, the friends, the showing off)
The hope is that the stifle injections will help him feel great and we can go back to playing. The vet did say that the fitter he is, the sounder he will be, as he needs the muscle support to help stabilize that stifle. And when I asked about jumping and whether stopping jumping will prolong his soundness, he said that it may actually be better to jump him as that will keep him fitter and help stabilize his stifle more. However, that's assuming he's sound enough and comfy enough to jump. And obviously I'll be much more discreet about it and not do the big prelim and intermediate stuff.
So... here's to hoping and praying that the injections work and I get my pony back. And that I can rein myself in if he feels really good and not fall back on my word. And that I get to keep him for a long long time and that we both enjoy our "retirement" of trail and beach riding.