Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Happy Day! Red Improves, Dawn Dances and a Dirty Day

This morning Red went on the lunge for our vet/chiro to evaluate.  All I can say is wow! his trot was amazing - big, engaged and floating and he was delighted to move out - his amazing gaits are back!  He's greatly improved even from 3 days ago. To the left, he was 100% sound, and almost as sound to the right - for the first time in a long time - he trotted out beautifully, although would occasionally take a shorter step with the left hind, and was careful on the downwards transitions to walk when tracking right.  My vet/chiro had brought her ultrasound - we were planning to lunge him before and after therapeutic ultrasound of the tendon area, but she said he looked so good there was no point in doing that. She also did neuro tests on him - he's now 100% normal again and his affect is bright and eager (he's back to being Mr. Feisty, which is his normal demeanor, which I now welcome) - and drew blood for a follow-up EPM titer and C reactive protein test (to check for inflammation).  He's completed the Oroquin-10 treatment for EPM and is on day 6 of the low-dose decoquinate powder. She agrees that he likely had an original mechanical injury in June - the Achilles tendon area and related muscles above as the primary site of injury - compounded by a neurological flare-up in September (we may find out whether this was a new infection with a different phenotype, or an inflammatory reaction from his earlier infection, from the blood test) that compromised his ability to extend and lift the left hind forward - mainly affecting the biceps femoralis muscles, which interfered with his rehab.

The rehab plan for the next couple of weeks is to alternate days, with some trot work, building up slowly, with icing of the tendon area afterwards, alternating with a walking day, both under saddle and some hill work in hand.  The goal is to gently continue to break any remaining adhesions without triggering extra inflammation, and to slowly rebuild muscle strength in the front of the leg.  If he gets sore, we'll back off, if he continues to improve, we'll continue to build his work.  When we let him back into the pasture, he galloped off up the hill, on the right lead, no less, and pushing fully with the left hind.  He was still careful in the downwards transition to trot - she says the downwards transitions will remain imperfect until he's 100% back to normal.  I'm pleased with my decision to keep him in full turnout during his recovery - it likely delayed his recovery by a significant amount, perhaps as much as a month or two, but I'm expecting a sounder and mentally healthier horse than if he'd been kept on stall rest (I'm certainly not saying that stall rest isn't warranted in some cases - in Red's case it was a judgment call). I'm delighted with his progress!

Dawn and I also had a wonderful ride this morning.  We started in the indoor, and ended up moving to the outdoor because there was another boarder in there who had some issues - first her horse got loose in the barn aisle and came running through the indoor heading for the out of doors, and then she almost walked into Dawn and me twice when she was leading him around and paying attention to her phone instead of where she was going.  Sigh . . . Dawn didn't think much of that and was making her ugliest faces, so we relocated to the outdoor arena.  I was working today on staying as neutral in my position as possible, and allowing her to use her power to move at trot and canter - only slight contact or an allowing hand on my part.  Her trot work was very good - engaged and easily shifting between shorter and longer trot and she did some remarkable canter work, including some real elevation and lightening of her feet - with no rein pressure at all.  She was in a position where she could have done a flying lead change at any second with no effort at all.  It was pretty magical.

The boys (and Dawn as well in the afternoon) had a "dirty day" - I declare these when my horses come in muddy and it's really too cold for baths, or I just feel like it - all three were coated with mud today after the drizzle we had most of the day, so I just picked feet, checked for scrapes and other wounds (none, thankfully) and did a short hand walk with each horse around the arena and down the barn aisles.

And here's a wonderful video, picked up by Di at Le Puy, which should bring a smile to your face - but if I were quibbling (and I'm not), I'd prefer my horses to load a bit more slowly (!) . . .


  1. Very interesting report on Red. Once again, I know you will take the best care of him to assure s complete recovery, but he certainly does seem well on his way.

    I used to really have a problem with other boarders who really paid no attention to everyone else who is trying to ride or work in the arena with them. The cell phone is really BAD!!!

    What a good girl Dawn is proving to be. I think she thrives on the schooling and attention.

    1. And then there's the guy that talks (loudly) on his cell phone the whole (short) time he rides - but at least he stays on the rail and only walks . . .

  2. So good to hear that Red got a great report from the vet. You made the right decision to keep him on turnout. I'd have done the same thing. So it might take a little longer but his mental attitude really benefits.

    Dawn sounds like she was doing well too. I don't blame her for being annoyed at the cell phone user. It used to really annoy me too. I mean, if you came to ride, then ride, leave the phone in the car. Maybe I'm getting old and crotchety but there is never a good reason to be yapping away and not paying attention to what you're doing. What did people actually do before cell phones while riding, or in the cars or grocery stores etc....I say get a life and leave the rest of us in peace. OK, that's the rant for today. Sorry.

    1. I hate cell phones too - I keep mine turned off most of the time, although I always carry one as I'm usually riding alone.

  3. Sounds like a happy day for all!!

    As far as cell phones go I keep mine with me but turned off most of the time. I hate that thing and don't have time to talk on it anyway!!

  4. Kate, what good news about Red's recovery - that's wonderful. And such a good ride with Dawn! I agree with you about cell phones- such an irritation! And you have a good understanding of what is going on with Pie- he's getting such good care. It is so interesting to follow the progress of your horses, although I'm sorry it has involved so many illnesses..

  5. Excellent news about Red!! His trot is big, engaged, floating, awesome?? Yay!!

    There is one boarder that I won't ride with. I think she is dangerous to be around and I am not alone. There are lots of things that she does that make me uncomfortable, including using her cell phone. She has an obnoxious loud ring that spooks horses, she texts and she is completely oblivious to what's going on around her. If you are riding, you are riding. That's it. What can be so important that you have to answer immediately?? I don't get it.


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