Saturday, January 16, 2016


When I renamed this blog, I should gone with 'A Series of Unfortunate Events.'

Ruby is healthy, at least, but not sound.  Here is a message I sent a Masterson Method practitioner through FB this morning:

'Ok, here goes the novel.

First, her feet.  She has good hoof walls, big frogs, but she's slightly pigeon-toed in front and has low-slung heels.  Right now, because of the weather we've had, she has a case of seedy-toe that I'm trying to wipe out.  I chose my original farrier based on the other horses' feet at my barn but it didn't sit right with me that I had to request he not carve into her sole.  I've studied hoof trimming and started doing them myself.  I have occasionally had other farriers, including the only certified farrier that I know of in the area, look at her feet and they claim that I'm doing a good job.  Unfortunately, I'm slow at trimming, and she's so uncomfortable, that I'm going to have to get someone else to do them again.  I'm hoping the certified farrier will have an opening for me.  If not, I'll have to go back to the first guy.  At least I know that he won't carve into the sole if I ask him not to.  It also never sit right with me that most of the farriers around here are okay with hoof cracks.

Ok, her previous injuries.  Ruby came to me covered in (healed) wire cuts and a hard knot on her right hind fetlock.  But she moved beautifully and I enjoyed her no-nonsense, all-business personality so I ended up adopting her.  I had two vets look at the knot and they both said 'if it doesn't bother her, don't worry about it.'  I re-started her and she was amazing.  Then she feel in the trailer.  We were taking a left in an intersection and the road was graded to the point that the trailer moved a lot.  We felt a thump.  The driver pulled over immediately and I ran back to check the horses.  Both were up so we continued on our way.  When we got to our destination, it was obviously that Ruby had fallen.  She had manure on her left knee and her right hip, so she twisted when she fell...I trotted her out with the friend watching and she was sound so we rode a few miles. She was LAME the next day and I felt so guilty.  I was never able to pinpoint exactly where she was lame, no heat or swelling, no limping specific to a certain hoof/leg.  She seemed sound a few weeks later but I gave her another month and a half off, to be safe.  When we started riding again, she seemed fine for several months.

Suspensory ligament: that day we were riding with a gaited mare.  We trotted a few times and both mares were being very competitive with each other (they'd never ridden together).  Eventually we just gave up on moving out and walked.  We did six miles, gave them a break at the trailer, then went back out for a 3-mile loop.  Ruby was being pretty pokey, especially for her.  I figured she was tired.  About 3/4 of a mile in, I heard a pop when she stepped.  It was loud enough that the other rider heard it too.  I got down, checked her feet and legs, led her for a while, and she seemed fine.  A quarter of a mile or so later, I remounted.  She was very slow.  I asked for a short trot and she was head-bobbing lame.  I got back down and led her back to the trailer.  My riding buddy kept claiming that she wasn't limping and was striding out, but something was obviously very wrong.  When we got back to the road, I watched her closely for any lameness but she was happy and forward.  When I tied her to the trailer, and re-checked her feet and legs, I noticed that the knot on her fetlock had swollen.  It was always hard before, now it was bigger and squishy.  The vet diagnosed her with a suspensory ligament injury, possibly a re-injury.  I decided to play it safe and, basically, gave her a year off.  That was November 2014.

In early May, I had a good chiropractor come out.  Ruby was very reactive in her hips, somewhat reactive in her neck and shoulders.  He did some laser/light therapy on her.  He really took his time.  The next day I realized that the little knots of swelling she had on the lower part of the ligament that runs down the back of their hind legs (don't remember the name right now) was completely gone. I planned to have her adjusted at least every other month.

At the end of May, she had her chest injury.  It was very deep, and she developed a raging infection.  I was wrestling with the decision to take her to UF or put her down when she suddenly turned around.  What a relief that was.  The summer was really hot and oppressive, and all of those vet bills were so expensive (vet was having to come out every other day or so for about two weeks), that the chiro fell off the radar for a while.

Fast forward to November.  I lunged her a few times and she was moving okay but not quite herself.  I hoped that the change was just due to all the time off, so I started her back in work slowly.  The day she fell, I lunged her a little first to get a friend's opinion on her movement.  I felt like I could see something but my friend said she looked fine.  I saddled up and we started riding in the arena.  We walked for 10-15 minutes when I asked for a trot.  She picked it up immediately - she always does.  She felt really good.  Not heavy on the forehand - it was a great feeling, so balanced.  We straightened out of an easy curve, went another stride to two, and bam, she went down.  I thought that she'd gone all the way to her knees, but my friend said she didn't think so.  Ruby got back up quickly.  I got down to check her over.  She didn't have marks on her knees, so didn't go all the way down, and hadn't caught either of her front feet with her hinds.  She looked fine but I called it a day.

A week later, I had another friend watch us ride at a walk.  Ruby felt weird.  Stiff in the hips, weak in the front.  The friend was of the opinion that there was definitely something not right, and it seemed to be all over - no definite point of lameness.

Since then, I have seen Ruby trip several times when moving loose.  Coming into her stall, etc. She seems to be having multiple issues.  The local vets seem reluctant (or stumped).  I've considered taking her to B. Equine, but if I'm going to spend that kind of cash, I'd rather take her all the way to UF.  And yet, I'm worried about how she'll do on the trailer ride...or even getting onto the trailer.  Something is obviously going on and I'm almost afraid to find out what it is.  I know that sounds ridiculous but I really love her and am scared of the diagnosis.'

There was some more rambling by me and we eventually set a date for her to come out and perform some body work on Ruby on the 27th of this month.  I'm not hopeful.  Ruby has something going on with her right front - she is evading me when I go to pick it up, and starts shaking when I do get it up. She has almost gone down on me a few times, if I hold it for too long.  Also, she's no longer just tripping...she's actively limping.   For now, dreams of doing endurance with Ruby are dead and buried.  I'm hopeful that I'll be able to make her comfortable and maybe ride her occasionally.  I'm also hopeful that I'll be in a position to add another horse in a year or two.  Time will tell.  Don't be surprised if the blog is abandoned for an indefinite period of time.  I will probably update if the body-work session goes well, but I don't expect a substantial change in her soundness. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm saying a prayer for you that you can enjoy riding your mare again, and that dreams can live on. I know that feeling of realizing a beloved horse can no longer do endurance, despite every treatment. Hopefully there will be horses in our future that we can get back into the sport with.

    Please let us know what happens with your mare.