We ran through the gambit of things to begin problem solving. Hind end lameness exams take time!
- History - Noticed her slightly off toward the end of September. Chalked it up to an abscess as it's been a bad year for them. Noted that she blew a HUGE abscess in her RF shortly after. Seemed okay after, but then still noticed slight lameness. Off at the walk on steep downhills, sound at the walk elsewhere. Sound at the trot going straight on the flat with good footing, off at the trot on a circle, especially to the left. Suspect something going on with LH.
- Walk and trot outs - first straight out and back as one would do for an endurance vetting.Could see that she was uneven behind, but obviously, inconclusive as to what/why other than the LH looking suspicous.
- Lunging - off slightly more to the left than the right, but still inconclusive (and she was not nearly as bad as she was for last week's video so it made things hard) beyond confirming it was something in the LH.
- Flex tests - Negative for fetlock, positive for hock, negative for stifle.
- Hoof testers - Some sensitivity near toe of LH, but nothing super crazy.
- Blocks - blocked the hoof and while there was some improvement, the lameness, while subtle, was still present. Tried to block her higher and she Wasn't Having It. And so in favor of not stressing us all or injuring my vet further (Q NAILED her finger, fortunately nothing else in her fit about attempts to block higher than the hoof!), we moved into x-rays.
- X-rays - While there is some very mild arthritis forming in the joint at the hock, it is nothing crazy at all and not something my vet would expect her to be lame from. Hoof looked good, too. (Some, not all, of the x-rays included below.)
|Dan holding the drunk while we x-ray so I could be more involved|
- Ultrasound - After many minutes with this, we found a small lesion toward the head/origin of the suspensory.
- While I hate this answer and it isn't what I was expecting in the slightest, at least I HAVE an answer and a plan of action to move forward with.
- Caught it early and didn't ride the snot out of her and make it worse. I don't know if I feel better or worse about the fact that it happened in the field and not during competition?!
- We've got plenty of time and can go slow.
- Taking time and going slow through rehab will give me time to work further on trust issues with this critter in hopes that some of her spookiness will be more subdued.
- Gives more impetus to do dressage cross-training with her. Once back riding, we could easily spend months at the walk learning so much.
- While I'm crushed that I won't be doing any endurance for a year or so, my ultimate goal with this horse (or any endurance horse) has never been to win races or be at the top. My goal has always been health and soundness and longevity. This mare is 10. We have 4 years of successful endurance distance completions under our belts. With the ultimate longevity goal of Decade Team, *if things go well with rehab* I've got ample time to slowly work toward that goal still.
I am choosing to be optimistic and positive with my forward thinking on this ordeal - my personality is not one that does well falling down the "What If" Hole or living in the Doom and Gloom Dungeon, so being optimistic and positive is key! I've done (and continue to do) my reading to learn more.
I've already reached out and had answers from some long-time endurance riders about dealing with this from an endurance stand point. I'm certainly interested in hearing about success stories from others in any discipline. I recognize that the timeline of healing is fluid and there will be ups and downs along the way.
For now, it looks like Griffin and Stan will be getting a LOT more saddle time for the immediate and foreseeable future! Dressage and jumping competitions in the spring??