Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Well, F*ck.

Monday Sept. 19 I hauled Q the 5 minutes to the vet. Dan met me there because he was totally game for a learning experience and hadn't seen a lameness exam before. I was psyched to have my farrier on board with all that's going on.

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.)
8_Tarsus_LAT
View 1
3_Tarsus_DP
View 2
4_Tarsus_DMPLO
View 3
10_Foot_LAT
View 1
12_Foot_DP
View 2
15_Navicular_60 Degree
View 3
20160919_190520
Hock shots
20160919_190538
Live action
20160919_190705
Dan holding the drunk while we x-ray so I could be more involved
20160919_180514
Quizzical ears


  •   Ultrasound - After many minutes with this, we found a small lesion toward the head/origin of the suspensory.

Well, fuck.


Silver linings?
  • 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 may wax and wane poetically on all of this with more time. But right now, this is where I'm at and it currently feels like a huge punch in the gut coupled with my heart being ripped out. I am both shocked, surprised, and incredibly saddened.

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??

32 comments:

  1. Ugh, that's a shitty diagnosis but you already know that. The good news is that time does wonders on these and you have another amazing horse to ride! My only experience with hind suspensory injuries is in my old hunter. He tore a branch of the lower suspensory, and came back enough to sell but did not have a long sound career in the long run. Time is your friend with these, so don't rush them. Also maybe consider shockwave or PRP to aid in healing?

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    1. Looking into both treatments! Thank god for insurance.

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  2. sending hugs girl!! you can definitely rehab this thing!!

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    1. re: hugs, Q says, "Mares are not for hugging. Mares are not for touching. Please refer back to the Mare Handbook."

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  3. As usual, I've got no advice just words of encouragement. The biggest thing you have going for you is that you are so organized and structured. You'll get her through this and I know you wont rush her or be in a hurry. Big hugs and lots of positivity coming from SC. I do believe that Stan came to you at just the right time so you could focus on him and let Q heal. The Universe is a strange thing.

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    1. <3 <3 <3

      And yes...strange, strange indeed.

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  4. Patience. I've seen a couple suspensory injuries in horses owned by people whom didn't care to acknowledge the injury. It's heartbreaking and scary and you have an amazing support group to lean on. Be patient and dillegent. She will heal.

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    1. Pasture puff till springtime! Maybe I can teach her to smile in the mean time...

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  5. Very sorry to hear this! I hope she behaves herself as a patient and allows you to help her heal. I'm sure your relationship will grow in leaps and bounds from this! God, what a positive outlook, too. I'm so impressed. :)

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    1. Trying to keep the positive outlook throughout - so hard not knowing what the future will hold for her career.

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  6. My heart literally sank when you posted the results on FB...It sure has been a bad year for our respective Q-mares, huh? Glad you caught it early though and now, it is really all patience and time. And at least you have two other ponyfaces that are game for undersaddle adventures while Q heals. FWIW Quest and I are 6 months into our ordeal dealing with a branch lesion. If you want to chat/compare notes, just let me know. Sending positive thoughts for quick and uncomplicated healing

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  7. Damn. It is devastating when our ponies are broken! You were smart and caught it pretty quickly. She will heal with time and rest, and whatever other therapies you choose to do. I hope Q will be a good patient, and through the recovery process I bet your bond will get even stronger. Healing thoughts.

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  8. So sorry to hear about this! :( Sending all the best!

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  9. Well that's rotten. Glad you caught it early and sounds like you have a great vet on board with you. :-({ Best of luck with the healing process.

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    1. More rotten than roadkill on a summer day.

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  10. Oh, I'm so sorry, but I'm glad you got a definitive diagnosis. I hope she heals up quickly.

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  11. That is too bad! Good that you caught it early though.

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  12. It sucks but SHE CAN AND WILL recover from this. Digs had an upper suspensory avulsion in May 2014. It was minor (he completed the ride, tore 20 miles into a 50) but he had funky hind end issues on subsequent rides. Finally diagnosed and we did the rehab. This one is highly recommended:
    http://www.equinepartnersamerica.com/research/Gillis-RehabTendonsLigamentsAAEP.pdf

    Once we got through that, I added in weekly dressage lessons and started back to conditioning in late Spring 2015. Did a 50 in the late summer of 2015. Finished 3 50's and Tevis this year. It's definitely not the end of things. Best of luck.

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    1. THANK YOU for sharing this story. That gives me so much more hope! And CONGRATS on Tevis. =) =)

      Part of me worries she did this on the 100 and that's why she was wonky near the end and stuff. But I really don't think she could have made it through the following Ride Between the Rivers 30 without an issue if she'd really been injured at the 100. Her rider at RBTR is VERY attune to feeling an "off" horse and one of the ride vets who ALWAYS dings Q on her way of going didn't even ding her at this ride! My ride journal notes that I rode her 5 miles and again for 2 hours with an intense dressage workout with tons of transitions after RBTR and she wasn't off at all for either of those... So hard to tell for certain! But must move forward. Must keep hope. Must hope for success like you and Digs have had!

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  13. Sorry to hear this! At least you know exactly what it is now - nothing is worse than mystery lameness! Good luck on rehab and recovery!

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    1. Yeah. Mystery lameness is such a bitch! Hate the answer, but grateful for knowing.

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  14. Suspensory injuries can be very scary and devastating. I am heart broken that you are going through this. BUT I came here to let you know that Ozzy blew out both hind suspensories when he was four and five. I use the words blew out because the injuries were crippling and very severe. As you know, he went on to be a successful endurance horse and did 50's without every being lame on either hind leg (he did get a stone bruise at Foxcatcher one year). It is now ten years later, and despite all his issues, the suspensories were never a problem after they were healed. I hope that gives you some hope for Q.

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    1. Dom. THANK YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing that. It really does give me hope; it gave me chills to read even! Thank you thank you thank you.

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  15. With and not know, and even though it sucks I wouldn't count her out as an endurance horse just yet, and it doesn't sound like you are. It's not possible to always prevent all injuries, and so don't beat yourself up too hard. You saw I settle lateness that wasn't right and didn't resolve see you got it figured out. When I have rehab various injuries over the years my relationship with my horse at the end of it always came out for the better. I think your attitude is great and I'll see you on the other side :-)

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    1. Your voice-to-text here is a little hit or miss, but I think I get the gist of it! And yeah...I hope she comes out on the other side able to compete still. I'm okay with re-entering work and competition slowly, so long as I get to re-enter and stay!

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  16. Oh no! I've had no phone (long story...but please text me your number...finally go a new one) so I didn't see this on Facebook:(

    HUGE recommendation for shockwave if you can find someone within reasonable distance. I've seen it be a a big benefit for soft tissue injuries. PRP is something else to consider. My boss had a gelding with a tendon injury that she used it on and had success (she gives it a lot of credit for getting him riding sound again)!

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    1. Looking into both options. Thanks for reaching out and getting back into contact <3

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