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ARGH! SUSPENSORY!!!

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
Huey is lame right now. :hurt: He has an old suspensory injury from his show-jumping days - not bad enough to really mess him up, but enough to mess with his angles a little - and we were seeing if he could go barefoot, and the answer is NO. I got to ride him like 5 times before I realized that he was definitely favoring his right front at the trot, and bobbing his head a little.

Naturally, I freaked out and called the vet in tears. He came out, did an eval, concluded that he had suspensory desmitis, gave me some bute, told me to put hot packs on it daily and turn him out into the round pen for 10-15 minutes before riding - which I was not to do for another 5 days. We haven't ridden in a week, and tomorrow I can ride him, but only for 5 minutes. Best case, we get up to 30 minutes by the end of the month (April).

We had a VERY expensive week! Vet, bute, back-on-track boots, farrier for a hot shoe...and then he got in a HUGE fight with the other gelding in the turnout and absolutely DESTROYED his turnout sheet. Oh, yeah, and a mayfly bit him on the eyelid and made it swell up like a golf ball.

The vet said the lameness was VERY subtle, he couldn't actually *see* it (although I and our trainer could) but he could *hear* it when I ran him up and down at the trot. I hope he recovers OK. He's moving pretty smoothly without any tack or rider on, in the round pen...keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
I dealt with suspensory desmitis last year! So glad you noticed it before it got beyond that stage! My horse was reacting to a shoeing change, also. He was fine a week later with bute and ice treatment (the heat the your vet is recommending, without ice, is odd to me.)

You had a bad week for sure! I hate weeks like that! The vet bills and equipment costs can be staggering. I have my horse insured for major medical and mortality which helps with the REALLY big stuff.
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
My trainer and I could "see" the head-bob and gait hiccup because we've been doing a lot of work with him in the round pen lately, so we both know *exactly* what his gait should look like and are in a position to pick up little deviations. So the vet couldn't see it at all, since he lacks our familiarity with Huey's movement, but he could hear it when I trotted him. So - if you're just watching him - it is very, very subtle. To me, riding him, it felt really obvious that something was going on, but his back is a...good match...to my seat. He hears my seat very clearly (even when I don't even realize I'm talking to him with it) and what's clear now is that my seat hears his back. :smile:

There isn't any heat at all on his leg, and no increased pulse near his hoof, the only difference between that leg and the other one is that there is a small amount of puffiness (that you can feel but not see) on the upper portion of the suspensory. My sense from the vet is that we got this thing at the very earliest moment, before it turned into an active problem, and that the rehabbing stuff is to prevent this nascent situation from into an actual injury. The layoff he prescribed (5 days) is very short for this kind of issue, and he wasn't on stall-rest, just in the turnout, and I was still supposed to work him lightly from the ground for 10, 15 minutes per day after an equal amount of warming-up of the area.

Farrier was out on Friday and did a fascinating hot-shoe for his front feet. I could see how he shaped the shoe differently for the right leg than the left. He thinks we should start with that rather than with some kind of wedge - said that wedging would make a short-term improvement, but make the problem worse over the long run. I had worked him in the round pen before the farrier came, and tried him out there with the new shoes after - I could actually see a difference in his movement at the trot.

I got to ride him today for the first time in a week. We did five whole minutes at an extremely sedate walk after he was lunged at walk/jog for 10 minutes. Tomorrow, it's 6 minutes. :smile: I didn't realize how happy I'd be just for five minutes... :smile:

It would be great if I could insure Huey for major medical, but I don't know that anyone would be willing to write a policy on an 18 yo horse... :(
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
My trainer and I could "see" the head-bob and gait hiccup because we've been doing a lot of work with him in the round pen lately, so we both know *exactly* what his gait should look like and are in a position to pick up little deviations. So the vet couldn't see it at all, since he lacks our familiarity with Huey's movement, but he could hear it when I trotted him. So - if you're just watching him - it is very, very subtle. To me, riding him, it felt really obvious that something was going on, but his back is a...good match...to my seat. He hears my seat very clearly (even when I don't even realize I'm talking to him with it) and what's clear now is that my seat hears his back. :smile:

There isn't any heat at all on his leg, and no increased pulse near his hoof, the only difference between that leg and the other one is that there is a small amount of puffiness (that you can feel but not see) on the upper portion of the suspensory. My sense from the vet is that we got this thing at the very earliest moment, before it turned into an active problem, and that the rehabbing stuff is to prevent this nascent situation from into an actual injury. The layoff he prescribed (5 days) is very short for this kind of issue, and he wasn't on stall-rest, just in the turnout, and I was still supposed to work him lightly from the ground for 10, 15 minutes per day after an equal amount of warming-up of the area.

Farrier was out on Friday and did a fascinating hot-shoe for his front feet. I could see how he shaped the shoe differently for the right leg than the left. He thinks we should start with that rather than with some kind of wedge - said that wedging would make a short-term improvement, but make the problem worse over the long run. I had worked him in the round pen before the farrier came, and tried him out there with the new shoes after - I could actually see a difference in his movement at the trot.

I got to ride him today for the first time in a week. We did five whole minutes at an extremely sedate walk after he was lunged at walk/jog for 10 minutes. Tomorrow, it's 6 minutes. :smile: I didn't realize how happy I'd be just for five minutes... :smile:

It would be great if I could insure Huey for major medical, but I don't know that anyone would be willing to write a policy on an 18 yo horse... :(

Ding ding ding ding!! Sounds like you have a good vet and farrier! Good farriers in particular are hard to find! My horse also was not visibly lame, but I could feel it and just KNEW. Good for you for getting to know your horse so well--that is a gift that not all people possess. You will find that you can apply that to other horses that you don't know as well. You must be highly intuitive which is a great quality around animals. You just have to learn to listen to it. Not always easy especially when you have other people contradicting you! They can't talk, but they can still speak to you!

And you're right, not many underwriters will take on a horse over I believe age 16, unfortunately.
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Thanks! I pay a lot of attention, and I could swear that Huey talks to me all the time. Not in words, of course. But he definitely makes things Understood.

Like, he is ashamed of the cribbing collar. The fastest thing anyone can do to make him depressed is to put the cribbing collar on him. He stops cribbing right away - even if the thing isn't fastened in such a way that it will prevent cribbing - and he just kind of droops all over. I came in one day and found him trying to hid in the back of his stall because the stable hand had put the cribbing collar on him. She said he'd been cribbing like crazy, and I could see where he'd scuffed up the wall, so she was quite right...but I hated to see him so depressed. I told her that a lot of times you don't have to actually put it *on* him to get him to stop cribbing, you just have to *show* it to him as a threat. And he stops. If he's in short-attention-span mode, you can just hang it visibly on the wall where he's trying to crib, and he'll stop. He HATES the cribbing collar. He also HATES getting shocked by his blanket, and he blames me for it. Not in a person-kind of blaming way. When he gets shocked, he knows it is the blanket, but he also knows that I am ultimately responsible for the blanket, and if the blanket is shocking him, it is *my* job to *do* something about that. He also tells stuff like "My grain pellets are crumbly and nasty" and "My water bucket is empty and I am THIRSTY". And, of course, "I know you have a carrot in that pocket, and I would like to eat it now."

The weird thing is that I tell him stuff all the time, and sometimes he listens and actually seems to understand. I write this and it sounds totally goofy, but I swear it's true. The chiropractor was doing some kind of proprioception test and put his feet in an odd position and waited for him to move back. She said he hadn't moved back in a normal amount of time. I told her he thought he I wanted him to leave his feet there, and that if he was supposed to put them back I should tell him to. She said he shouldn't be able to override some impulse or other. I told him it was OK to move his feet back, and he did, right then. She didn't believe it, so we did it again, and I told him to move his feet back any time he wanted, he did it right away this time.

At the end of the riding season last year, I told him I was going to learn to canter, and he should go slow, and even if he thought I was telling him to go faster, I wasn't, it was just because I don't know how to do it. And if he felt me getting unbalanced, the right thing for him to do was to stop. This is important, because Huey is 90% GO and 10% WHOA and if I squeeze him while trying to re-establish my balance, he'll break into a ground-eating canter. He listened. And, unfortunately, I forgot to tell him that all this was *at the canter*, because for the whole lesson, every time we changed direction at the trot and I switched diagonals, he stopped. And I got the slllooooowwweeeesssst trot I've ever seen from him, and he wouldn't speed up with the usual signals. My trainer, that whole time, is like "What are you two doing?!?! Why does he keep stopping? Where did this trot come from? I've never seen him go that slow! Put some leg on him! More!"

I did point out that as long as he was in a creeping sort of mood, it would be a good time to work on the sitting trot (and it was, and stopping was exactly what I wanted him to do if I got unbalanced there too). When we were done, she had me go over him with a fine-tooth comb to see if he had an injury or something that would explain why he was stopping and poking along. I thought for one second about telling her that I'd asked him to do exactly this before we started, but I could just imagine the response. Even if she believed me, I couldn't see her being happy with my approach to the issue, as in, I ought to be able to address my own balance problems without having to stop the horse, etc...
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
YOU have a gift! I am dead serious! And yes, they DO understand! I did something that many people consider ridiculous and had an animal communicator talk to my horse (and other horses I have owned, one deceased) AND my Grandma (who is deceased) and it was crazy! Anyway, the things my horse told me were almost all things I already knew, but I just wasn't listening OR was being overridden by trainers, farriers, vets, whatever. One of them was regarding me selling him. His basic attitude was "humph! If you must...then it has to be to a little girl who is not with X or X or X trainer, because those trainers will drug me up for shows and it will kill me."

HOLY crap batman! I knew right then and there I had to keep him. He said he wants my 5YO daughter to ride him, and that he (who can be a spook monster at times) will babysit her. He has ALWAYS adored her and been so cautious around her, so I don't doubt it. She still won't ride him, but I can sense a shift in her attitude towards it and I think she will soon.

He also said he knows he's "all that" in the show ring. Too funny! He's always been a gas to show because he does get this swag going in the ring, and he's really one of the prettiest horses in any of our classes, but I never realized how confident he was because he relies so heavily on me to guide him and keep him "safe" out there.

YOU pick up on things in a horse that some owners who have had horses their whole lives don't. You are very blessed! That is fantastic!! :banana:
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
I am really grateful. I had an animal communicator when I lived in WI talk to my cat about our impending move. She regularly hold benefits and sessions at the local humane society, so I figured she couldn't be a charlatan because someone would have complained and they wouldn't keep hosting her. It was absolutely unreal the things she was saying. Like, the cat had been wigging out and really upsetting my stacks and piles of stuff I was sorting through for the move, and I knew he was upset, because he doesn't usually do that. We had just gotten around to the subject of the move (he wanted to talk about the desirable qualities of the carpet in my house, and the lack thereof in the room we were all in at the shelter) and she said he was sending her a picture of...and she took every paper she had and piled it haphazardly on the table, and said "it looks like this, all over, and he hates it." Just that morning I'd been at the dining room table, which was covered with exactly the kinds of stacks she'd put together, and he'd spent all morning leaping through them. So I said "Yeah, OK, what is it that is upsetting him about this?"

Turned out it was the mess. She said he said that my house was usually VERY tidy (it is) and he LIKES that and everything was totally trashed all the time now and he wanted to know when it was going to go back to being nice again. Well. While we were at it, I had her tell him he was going to have to go into the cat boarding place (which he loves) for a long time because we had to travel. She said he had been picking up pictures of a great big water from us, and she asked if we were going overseas, the water "was that big". I said yes, as a matter of fact. And that's why he has to go in the boarding place, because we are flying.

There was this pause, and she said "He wants to know why that is a problem. He says he travels a lot. He says he goes on planes all the time!" and then it's like she listened to what she had just said and looked at him and looked at me and said "That's true? He goes on planes all the time?" I said yes, as a matter of fact, he does. And he seems to like it. She agreed that he did. So I had to explain about the quarantine and how he couldn't stay with us.

Unreal. NO one with two brain cells to rub together and ANY experience of cats at all is going to randomly arrive at the conclusion that a cat likes to travel (at all) let alone likes to travel on a plane. THEN he started telling her about how my husband takes him to work once in a while (where "everyone comes to visit him") - all true - and that NEXT time my husband should be sure to make a good litter box for him. Also true - I'd been talking to my husband about that a week or two earlier. Now, guessing that a cat likes to travel on planes AND likes to go to work at the college where he Receives company like the Queen of England AND was cheesed because he didn't have a litter box? The probability is vanishingly small.

So when I decided to buy Huey I made an appointment with her at once for a phone conversation. Apparently, she needs a picture of the critter, and she actually specializes in horses. She works with vets from time to time to help sort out mysterious equine ailments. That conversation was WILD. She said he wanted to know what kind of riding we were going to do, because what we were doing wasn't what he was used to. I had her explain about dressage to him. He had some requests about access to grass, wanted to know if he could have a window to the outside in his stall, wasn't at all sure about his paddock buddy (I wasn't either), had some complaints about his farrier (who I was on the verge of ditching anyway because *I* wasn't convinced he was doing the right job), wanted to know if he was going to do more jumping (and was disappointed when I said no, and asked then if we couldn't even jump little things like a log in the woods). Then he said he needed the dentist because one of his teeth was making a sore on the inside of his cheek (I got the dentist out right away, and she said he had a ramp that had caused a lesion). Crazy stuff!

I asked her what his thoughts on being *my* horse were, and whether he cared about that kind of thing. She said he did, really did, and that he thought he was a good horse for me. Said he was not crazy like some of the other horses, and even though he can get distracted he pulls it together pretty fast. My trainer considers him to be a 6 or 7 on the 1-10 "hot temperament" scale, so this was a pretty fair cop... it was wild!

The animal communicator told me how to "talk" to him - she said to make a picture in my mind and kind of push it out there. Trainers are all the time saying to visualize the result you want, so while I don't begin to understand how this works, it does seem to. I went through an annoying patch with him recently where he didn't feel like getting haltered up - he was out of work, and b.o.r.e.d. and this was, at least, a diversion. I also suspected it had something to do with spending more time with me, even if it was time that neither one of us found terribly satisfying. I had to run him around the paddock in order to persuade him that standing still for haltering was the "easy" thing. I'd done a couple of rounds of groundwork with the trainer, where she watched my body language carefully to make sure I wasn't sending him some signal to run off, and we did a lot of work on following, etc. but he was still moving off every time I got close to him. Then one day, I thought of that communicator, and I focused really hard and envisioned walking up to him, having him stand still, going in the halter right away, and getting a huge scratch on the neck. Lo, this is exactly what happened...I don't understand it, but I tell you, I was SUPER relieved at not having to waste a bunch of time slogging around in a muddy paddock trying to halter the horse...
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
He also said he knows he's "all that" in the show ring. Too funny! He's always been a gas to show because he does get this swag going in the ring, and he's really one of the prettiest horses in any of our classes, but I never realized how confident he was because he relies so heavily on me to guide him and keep him "safe" out there.
I can believe he knows this - given the pictures you posted, I imagine he IS All That (and then some) in the ring!! It sounds like you have a great relationship. I'd like to hear if your daughter takes him up on it and how that goes. Be sure to get pictures, too... :smile:
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
It's crazy stuff, isn't it?! Your horse is lucky to own you :becky: I have some big decisions to make regarding mine for this show season and I think I'm going to get some help from his communicator!
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
I love him to bits. Time for some pictures!

We had a huge warm-up week-before-last and he got his first bath in 6 months. He wasn't happy about having his dirt "base" disturbed. Here he is giving me the Stink Eye for getting him all wet and taking the grime down:

huey1.JPG

He got over it once he realized it meant a big massage. Here he is still wet, but clean. This is one of my favorite pictures of him:

huey2.JPG

And here he is, happily drying off in his stall and waiting for his High Tea:
huey3.JPG

...time to go do some rehab...
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
He is soooo stinkin' cute! Very expressive. And yes, definitely giving you the stink eye. I get the same look when bathing, unless it's warm water, then it's more of a passive expression.
 

vickie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
I could swear that Huey talks to me all the time
Here's what you need to sing to him next time ...

"A horse is a horse
Of course of course
And no one can talk to a horse,
Of course
That is, of course
Unless the horse
Is the famous Mister Ed!

Go right to the source
And ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse
He's always on a steady course
Talk to Mister Ed!

People yakkity-yak a streak
And waste your time of day
But Mister Ed will never speak
Unless he has something to say!

Oh, a horse is a horse
Of course, of course
And this one'll talk 'til his voice is hoarse
You never heard of a talking horse?

Well, listen to this:
". . . I am Mister Ed!"
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
Vickie, you made me crack up! Too funny!
 

VickiK

Angel Diva
#15
So glad that Huey's leg issue is diagnosed and caught in early stage! Loved reading this stuff.
 

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