Here’s the big one! Move up to Training! Increase strength in haunches through cavaletti work (2-3x/week) Walk-Canter-Walk transitions Lead changes
Completing a Second Level dressage test with a score over 63% -new- Participate in at least one dressage clinic
Oh how much can change in a week.
After my long 20 minute walk warmup last Thursday, I picked up the trot and immediately alarm bells went off in my head. I hopped off and threw him on the lunge and saw this:
And my heart sank. I put him up in his stall with lots of scratches and good boy’s and called the vet.
Two days later we poured over him, palpating, assessing, flexing, talking. On the lunge he looked just the same, and when he couldn’t pick up the left lead after three different attempts, we had a discussion.
My vet looked me in the eye, and said she had to be unsentimental about his prognosis.
She knew my goals of Training level CT’s/Eventing, and bar that, of 2nd and 3rd level dressage. And she said he would never do what I wanted him to do.
For clarification, I asked- you mean he’ll never jump again?
“Sorry Britt, I don’t think so.”
And what about 2nd/3rd level dressage?
“Not without an obscene amount of maintenance.”
It turns out my almost-9 year old has a slew of issues. Beyond the front fetlock chip and subsequent arthritis, he also has mild neck arthritis, probable arthritis in his hind left fetlock, slight hock arthritis and now stifle issues that are in turn aggravating his SI area. In order to maintain him at the level of dressage competition I was aiming for, I would have to inject all of those areas. Which beyond being financially impossible to keep up, isn’t fair to him.
We’ve got a couple things to try first. He’s on 10 days of Previcox, and we’ll see if this anti-inflammatory can make him comfortable enough to stay in work. If not, we’ll look into Adequan and similar products, and consider injecting at least the stifle. If he can be made comfortable enough to be worked, and build up the muscle required to support his weak areas (the muscle loss from stall rest, etc likely being what has made these issues so obvious), then we’ll be in a better place. We could at least “putz around” as my vet said, trail riding and doing really basic ring work. But he has to be comfortable first.
As to our future, I am still trying to figure things out. I have a lot of questions. And luckily, Foster is not without fans. I’m hopeful that I can find a solution that works for both of us.
2016. Not the year of redemption after all.