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.
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.
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 🙂