Well, your Aunty Pam is just brimming with all kinds of good news! And may I also say rather unexpected, at that.
To begin with, I took Forrest for his second ultrasound with Dr. Gillis at exactly eight weeks after the first diagnostic evaluation. I was holding my breath for two reasons: while Forrest had been a pretty good patient, he did have a couple of explosive episodes in his rehab paddock and while hand walking. Secondly, on the way over for this evaluation, he managed to pull his right hind leg out of the shipping boot and rip off his shoe at the same time. I found it at the front of the trailer, under his hay bag. Now, I ask you, how the hell did he do that??
So my heart was in my mouth, just sure he'd twisted and re-injured the soft tissue in his stifle. Holding my breath, I watched over Dr. Gillis' shoulder as she glided the probe over the trouble spot and compared it to images from two months earlier:
"Oh, please, please, please..." I gave a silent prayer. Dr Gillis could measure precisely which lesions had grown smaller in size and even point out to me new healthy tissue and blood vessels. With only one, small, stubborn pocket of effusion remaining, we were given the thumbs up to begin walking under saddle! Cowabunga!!
I shall follow her prescribed protocol of massaging Surpass into the area of effusion 15 minutes before we walk, ride for 25 minutes, including circles, serpentines and transitions within the walk, then cold hose his stifles for 15 minutes afterward. We will also keep him on Top Form Glucosamine supplement, which I believe has been beneficial (and has clinical studies to back it up) and then hand walk a second time, later in the day for 20 minutes.
Because my redhead is a violent spook, often with no warning, I have really fretted about climbing back on because longeing is out and I have never ridden this horse without longeing briefly, first. If you've followed this blog, you have seen the photos of his whip-crack bucks, as well. Clearly, it looked as if injecting 'ace' would be a necessity and I looked into ordering a small silo's worth.
But on the first day, we were blessed with a week's worth of glorious warm weather-- highs pushing 80! I took advantage of Forrest's remaining winter coat and led him to the arena, late morning, and decided that I would hand walk him the first 10 minutes (which is better for his back, anyway, as he hasn't worn a saddle in three months) to warm him up and gauge his brain. He seemed very docile, so I set my smartphone stopwatch for 15 minutes, climbed aboard and off we walked...
And walked! All good as gold!
We had one, small spook, right at the end when our cat, Buster, busted out of the woods to see what was going on. But Forrest remained sensible, halted squarely and received a pocketful of peppermints as a reward.
Even though he's lost muscle and weight (grain hugely reduced these last several weeks) it felt fabulous to be back on my pony. So for the next few weeks, Walk, Forrest, Walk!