The old man hasn’t been in serious work for a little while. He’d been moving kinda funny. The local vet thought he had some arthritis in his sacroiliac joints. Since I was fighting with my own back pain, I wasn’t pushing him for much. I’d get him out and tool around to keep his joints moving, but he just hadn’t been feeling quite like himself. After changing his joint supplement, he was much improved, but still not quite the guy I’ve known.
We went to the ‘Sport Horse Vet’ for further evaluation. The final word? He’s getting old. Another professional opinion that, while he is not 100% sound, he is pretty darned sound for his age! That said, his hocks are fusing. They tell me that isn’t a big deal and once they are fused, they won’t hurt anymore. However, there is this long-term ever-so-slight favoring of his left fore that I never quite noticed.
Instead, I noticed things like “stiff to the right”, “more balanced to the left”, and once in a while, a slight winging of the left fore at the canter… This discovery left me feeling like the evil mom who kept making him work in spite of his pain… Except that he still wants to work!
At the vet's recommendation, I started him on Legend to compliment the oral joint supplement he has already been getting.
We were riding inside. The girls had set up a jump. He was still warming up, but every time we rode past that jump, his ear tipped toward it, his head cocked that direction, and he leaned ever so slightly toward the jump… He finally felt loose enough and sound enough that I let him try it. Boy, howdy, was he excited! If he didn’t have a pretty spot, he always preferred the long spot. I could put him over the fence at any point I wished. Just for fun, I lined him up on the far right painted stripe. Had he wobbled at all, I would have taken out the standard with my foot, but he stayed straight and true and quietly hopped over the place I had chosen. THIS is the horse I’m used to riding!
He so obviously loves this sport (especially the galloping and jumping), I find it difficult to just retire him from it altogether. Instead, we're going to be taking it one day at a time and see how he feels any given day.
...I have yet to establish the same connection and trust with 'the psycho mare'...