Conducting the mother fucking crazy train is where. Toot toot, all aboard, one way trip to My Horse Is Dying Land.
|me: bobby, are you sound enough to be standing here?|
bobby: can you please fuck off?
Last Monday we trailered out to Mendon Ponds Park for a couple hour trail ride. Bobby was happy to be out and about. We, once again, set off down a new trail. It started in the woods and wound through there for about forty five minutes before crossing over to the grassy ponds side. We walk ninety nine percent of the time we're there because it's a hilly area and Bobby may be super ring fit, but he's not yet super traipsing about the countryside fit. I did, however, let him move out to a trot on a nice clear stretch...where he immediately felt very footy on the packed dirt.
I pulled him up right away and that was that for trotting this trip, but I spent the whole rest of the day along the lines of "It's fine, he's due for a trim, I'll let the farrier check him out. Maybe the navicular has gotten worse and he'll need wedges put back on. Maybe I should have never jumped him this winter. I really think this is the end end of our eventing career which means he probably can't hunter pace again either. He probably won't ever even be sound enough to trail ride. OMG, what if he can never leave the arena again?! OH GOD IT'S TIME TO PUT HIM DOWN THE END IS NOW."
Things spiraled out of control quickly, guys. I'm not proud.
|"hi, my name is bobby, and my mom is batshit crazy."|
I packed his feet as soon as we got back to the trailer, and then gave him Tuesday off. He was fine for our dressage ride Wednesday (No, like, really fine. He was fucking fantastic.), so I went ahead with our jumping lesson Thursday.
I got on and immediately felt the footiness again. Not lame, but a distinct minciness up front. BM put us through an A+ flat warm up, and we scrapped the jumping to work over a line of raised cavaletti. He felt great through that--essentially a giant canter stride, but so adjustable and light--but once we stopped and took a break in the middle of the ring he started shifting from foot to foot. We ended the lesson super early, and I packed his feet again and gave him some Bute.
|best frat boy friends|
He had Friday and Sunday off. On Saturday I threw a lead rope around his neck and jumped on bareback to see how he felt. He felt sound then, too, so we popped over the tiniest of crossrails once before I jumped off and chucked him back outside.
Monday was really nice out so I threw my dressage tack on and climbed aboard to see how he felt.
Awful. He felt fucking awful.
He felt crippled throughout his whole body, and I lost my shit and started sobbing. It didn't help that I was full of raging hormones, but there's nothing quite like feeling you're directly responsible for your horse's soundness downfall and he's never going to recover from it ever.
Once I was over myself, I pulled his bridle, taught him a fun trick which he picked up on in approximately twelve seconds, and then brought him in to pull his mane, give him a bath and some Bute, and pack his feet again.
|will do anything for cookies|
I didn't even look at him Tuesday. I threw him right outside and left. The farrier came today so I was forcing myself to act like a rational human being to outside people until I got her opinion.
He was right at eight weeks, but he was so long. He'd grown a ton of foot--too much foot. For a horse that now has foot issues, it had messed with his angles too much and was making him uncomfortable. Bobby usually zones out or falls asleep while getting his feet done, but this time he was super engaged in the process. He kept licking and chewing as she went and shifting around to adjust to his new feeties.
He walked off so much more comfortably, and Farrier agreed we'd need to take him back to no longer than six weeks. Between the navicular and a host of other problems--a possible bone spur, a previous soft tissue injury, and wonky as fuck conformation--we're not going to be able to get away with any sort of mistake anymore.
Are we officially done forever and ever with eventing with no chance of a once a year comeback? Yes. We are. The navicular changes are only ever going to get worse. We can probably slow them down, and we can certainly make him as comfortable as possible, but we've shifted from "Let's see where we are and what he can handle before making any firm decisions" to "We need a serious maintenance program in place with set limitations."
We'll treat the discomfort when it arises. We'll see how trail riding pans out with a heavy focus on staying on the best footing. We'll stick to our dressage-only show season. We'll play over jumps in the arena with less regularity until that, too, gets taken off the board. This horse loves to work. He loves having a job and using his brain. We'll let him keep going as long as he holds up to it.