Got a Long Way to Go

Got a Long Way to Go

On Monday, I sent my vet videos of Simon to see what our next level of work should be.  We had been lunging at the trot for 2-4 minutes each direction.  She said he looked “not too bad!” and to bump up the lunging this week to see what he felt like doing and could tolerate.  So yesterday when I went out to see him, we did 6 minutes of trotting each direction and one lap of canter on his bad side.  I had it in my head that if he picked up the right lead correctly then that meant he was feeling better – he did, and I felt better about things.

All things considered, I thought the video I took last night looked pretty good.  He starts off a little stiff, and his first few laps on the right direction he takes a lame step or two but he improves with work.  In the video below, first two clips are his initial laps each direction and the last 15 seconds are having he has been lunging for about 10 minutes.

He’s definitely not perfect, but compared to where we’ve been it’s amazing.

While I no longer have a deep feeling of dread in my stomach about my horse needing to be put to sleep, I am still cautiously optimistic.  He might have a “hitch in his giddyup” for a long time while this hock fuses.  Of course, I’m going to do everything I can to give him the best treatment of injections, joint supps, vet care and work to get him sound… but is it ethical to show a horse that is as sound as you see in the video?  Ethical to jump him?  I’m sure he’ll continue to improve, but to my non-veterinary school educated eyes he is nearing his original mark of soundness to me.

Those questions don’t as much make me sad, but they do make me think.  What does make me sad is how thin he is right now.  After 1 month of stall rest we dropped his grain to 25% of what he had been getting, because he was very, very hot.  While I still think that was the right decision, I didn’t anticipate how skinny he would get.  He’s not emaciated or hurting, but he was looking so good this winter.

Simon in December
Simon in December

And now I feel like we’re back to square one with weight and muscle.  A quick comparison shot, and you’ll see what I mean.

Simon lunging last night
Simon lunging last night
Simon lunging in January
Simon lunging in January

He’ll put the weight back on. He’s happy now. He’s young, and we have plenty of time. I’m just going to keep repeating those things to myself until I really start to believe them 🙂

25 thoughts on “Got a Long Way to Go

  1. What kind of grain is he getting? I just switched Walker from performance grain to fat and fibre to up his fat intake to help increase his weight after stall rest. Maybe Simon needs a similar switch.

  2. Lol you think he’s thin… I would DIE to have my horse as fat as Simon is right now!!! He is slimmer, but I’m sure he’ll put that weight right back on, especially with the grass coming out and him going back into some work. I wouldn’t worry too much, he looks good 🙂

    And I think he looks pretty sound in his video. Honestly, if I didn’t know better, I’d say he was just slow and not having problems if it was the first time I’d seen video of him. At the end he looks really good! I hope he continues to improve!

    1. See, Wizard doesn’t look that thin to me! I mean he still has the baby race horse vibe, but he doesn’t seem *thin*. That makes me feel better that people are looking at the video and not automatically saying LAME LAME LAME! haha

  3. Yes, Simon has lost some weight and muscle, but it will come back fast! And you are so dedicated to his care that he will come back better than ever!

  4. He doesn’t look that bad to me, he’s lost some muscle but he doesn’t look awful. If you aren’t already, you might look into a fat supplement (I feed Cool Calories) because it won’t make him hot while he’s still recovering. So happy that he’s doing better though!

    1. Yeah, I might see how he does in the next few weeks now that he’s back on full grain rations and if I don’t see the results I want will get a weight gain supp. Pocketbook is just a bit stretched right now paying for the vet.

  5. Don’t worry, he’ll plump right back up. A fat supplement is a good idea if you’re worried, but you might find that he’ll look and feel better once he’s getting back to riding. I put my old girl on black oil sunflower seeds and that did great things for her weight and her coat.

  6. Amplify is an awesome, high fat, palatable nugget that will help him rebuild and maintain without adding additional sugars or quick carbs. It won’t make him feel “high” or increase his energy level, but it will rebuild his fat stores and help with muscle metabolism. I used it to rehab my rescue and was incredibly pleased with the results. It’s made by Purina.

  7. To me, he looks fine going to the left. To the right, I see the slight hitch in his step, but it’s on and off; not constant. I think he looks much better! The muscle and weight will come back on. He’s thin, but I think with any kind of soft tissue/joint issue, it’s better for them if they’re on the slimmer side-less weight for them to carry around on an ouchy leg.

    Since everyone is pitching in with weight gain supplements 🙂 , I’ve had luck with rice bran. It can be purchased by the 40lb bag as a pellet, or as oil. Lily gained weight really well on rice bran pellets recently, and in FL I had her on McCauley’s Rice Bran oil. I liked their brand because it is less processed. It made her coat shine, and she never got hot on it. One reason why I chose rice bran oil was because it is a natural source of gamma oryzanol, which helps with building muscle. I swear it was the #1 factor (other than correct work) that took her from a regular saddle tree to a wide!

    1. I see that same hitch that you do. It does keep getting better though, maybe it’ll go away forever (or until the next injections :)). Will look into Rice Bran oil! I hadn’t heard that before, and have toyed with the idea of adding oil to his food. If it would help his coat that’s definitely a plus as well.

  8. I know ALL about the weight thing! Try soaking beet pulp and putting it in his feed, it really helped put weight on my horse and it’s also really good for the hair and skin, and it doesn’t make the horse hot at all. Simon still looks really good though! Red went from being a huge, stocky, muscular Quarter Horse to really skinny and underweight, and after a few months he’s where he is at now! 🙂 Good luck, Simon! (And you! Haha!)

    1. Yeah, the biggest difference I think is in his neck and butt… and that’s all muscle. He is ribby but he’ll fatten back up, especially when he gets turned out with grass 16 hours a day in the near future 🙂

  9. Hang in there! I hate it when they get skinny, too. I feel like my guy is perpetually on the verge of starving even when he’s getting tons of feed. He’ll get better in no time, I’m sure.

  10. While I didn’t get to see him at his lamest, I say he looks good! I do see the slight hitchiness to the right, but like you said, with patience and maintenance he should get better and better. Just a question, does he have hind shoes??

    1. He doesn’t yet, but I’m thinking of adding them. I’ve had some people tell me it will help, and some people tell me it won’t make a difference.

  11. It does look like he’s lost some condition but nothing terrible. You’ll get him back looking great in no time once he’s feeling 100%.

  12. I am so glad to hear that Simon is improving. It is very disheartening when one of our babies isn’t quite right. I know you’ve received tons of suggestions for weight gain so my two cents probably won’t amount for much, but for what it’s worth … Having ridden endurance horses for more than 15 years, I have some experience with thin horses. I found that a daily beet pulp/rice bran mix was the most effective at putting on weight without amping them up. It’s also one of the cheapest supplemental feeds you can find, and it’s also very clean (no oils, risk of mold, etc.).

    Best of luck to you and Simon. I sure hope we begin to hear about Simon’s successes while under saddle. :0)

  13. He will get back to where he was 🙂 You are a great mom to him and he is lucky to have ya! Can’t wait for you to be able to ride him again!

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