Despite a bit of recent stress (my beloved mother in law being in hospice and nearly losing our dear Jack Russell, Bonnie) the last few weeks, Thanksgiving week loomed and as I sit in the sun on a mild day with Forrest and recent arrival, Buster, (there must be an ‘Underground Railroad’ for stray cats at my farm), I am counting many blessings.
As I’ve always been forthright regarding Forrest and our triumphs (first shoulder in and walk/canter transition!), as well as disasters (bucking sprees and meltdowns at being taken off property to a schooling show), I have to be equally honest, here, and say that Forrest is having a soundness issue that Team Forrest has been trying to come to grips with. It began with his left hind appearing short on a left, curving line, and, obviously, Dr. Freer examined that first. We did flexions (clean), took X-rays of both hocks again (no change from last X-rays) as well as his left stifle (clean), because there was a slight toe drag as well and went ahead and injected his hocks and stifle. Unfortunately, the short step at trot persisted, so I gave Forrest a course of Adequan as well. No change. The next logical step was chiropractic help and deep tissue massage by well-known local muscle therapy guru and certified master saddle fitter, Mike Scott. The chiropractic session revealed Forrest’s pelvis/sacrum on the right side was compromised and the belief was that there is nothing wrong with Forrest’s left hind–he’s compensating because of the right sacrum and I did notice an improvement on the longe, the following day. Mike found further ‘congestion’ in the sternum area as well as soreness around the withers, which we put down to Forrest’s custom Stubben now needing widening as the horse had muscled out tremendously. So Mike made the necessary adjustments and on top of all this, he found tightness in his gluts and hamstrings as well. All this despite my daily layman’s massage and carrot stretches, Oy!
Prior to all of this, I had been working Forrest very lightly, in straight lines, to help strengthen but not tax his sacrum on bending lines. But it has been, frankly, difficult to protect his sacrum when he explodes and twists in one of his spooks that occur with no warning whatsoever, out of a lovely, stretchy, frame.
And then I see him trot a straight line in the field like this, and he takes my breath away…
So! We’ve all been here, right? Consumed with worry, wondering if we just need to turn our horse out or incur further diagnostic costs. I am hoping that Forrest’s next chiro appointment brings further improvement and the good news is that we seem to be at the root of the problem and now that we’re heading into the winter months, there’s no pressure of horse shows on our plate and if he needs some lay up, so be it. One can’t rush healing! In the meantime, I am a very lucky trainer in that I have two lovely horses in my barn to ride: my student, Edith’s, lovely, young Oldenburg mare, Shedaizy, when she needs a tune up,
And this super sweet sales prospect: a green but wonderfully willing
8-year-old Friesian/Clydesdale mare:
They certainly aren’t Forrest, but especially during this time of year, I sure am grateful.