Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Slow Your Roll

Where have I been in the week since I last posted?

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. 

50 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure the spiral is just par for the course of adult ammy horse ownership. ;-)

    The rest is not good news. :-(

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  2. 8 wks seems like forever between a cycle to me. Annie is kind of unique in her ability to pull shoes but we have never gotten to more than 6wks between a set for any of my horses with shoes. I'm kind of impressed he can hang onto his that long. Glad that the pedicure and new shoes helped him.

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    1. He got his first set of shoes in October so between winter and needing him to grow and grow and grow some good foot in, eight weeks was perfect for him. Now that spring is here he's growing much faster. I'm so not used to having a horse in shoes anymore. When he was barefoot I just rounded him off every two weeks. I've been way too lax with watching how they actually looked instead of how they felt since I don't do them anymore.

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  3. This sounds very familiar and I think you're handling his limitations like a motherfucking champ. Here's hoping the progress slows enough that you can still enjoy lots of fences, lots of fancy prancing, and trails.

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    1. I need my own big orange booty to take up some of the slack!

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  4. I have been on that spiral with Irish many many times. I love how careful you are with him.

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  5. Oh Carly I'm sorry. At least there's still fancy prancing!

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  6. It's great that you have a pro on your team to work with you and Bobby. It sounds like she's an asset, even if the news is not what you (or your readers) wanted to hear.

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    1. I'm grateful she has a lot of experience with navicular. She's been able to handle my craziness of "Well I read this on the internet!!" with "Okay, but this is how it really is..."

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  7. The spiral is real, and it's a really shitty place to be... but it happens to all of us. Sorry to hear that eventing is officially off the table :-( It's so hard to set those limitations, but I know it will pay off and allow Bobby to stay as sound as possible for as long as possible so you can both continue to enjoy riding <3

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    1. That's what I'm trying to tell myself. Could I bute him up the wazoo and take him to an event and have him be sound? More than likely. But I want a full show season and a non-drugged horse to ride while I'm doing it.

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  8. I totally understand the spiral. My horse was backsore recently and in less than a day it went from "he's fine, just a little reactive, probably just needs chiro" to "omg my horse probably has kissing spine and he's going to have to be a pasture pet".
    I'm sorry to hear where you are at though. Hopefully Bobby still has lots of time to prance around the sandbox comfortably though

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    1. Overreaction is a horse person's fave game!

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  9. Gah :/

    Bobby is Lucky to have you as a mama!

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    1. Some days he thinks so, some days not so much. ;)

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  10. Oh man, love me some spirals. How fast can we go down the drain? (Answer: very, very fast. Pass the Kleenex, a chocolate cake, and a case of cider.)

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    1. There's never a bad time for a spiral if it leads to chocolate cake!

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  11. Thinking of you guys <3 spirals are hard not to fall into as an adult ammy. You are definitely doing the best you can by him, and sounds like you have a solid plan based on your conferring with professionals.

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    1. Oh gosh, do not make professional plural or Bobby will see that as a challenge and make the vet come out for the fourth time this year. At least Farrier doesn't have a call charge!

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  12. I'm so sorry. I think all horse owners spiral through insane thoughts, but it sounds like he's at least still up for some fancy prancing.

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  13. I was thinking what someone else said above - Bobby is lucky to have such a good human mom. :)
    Sorry about the spiral of deathly anxiety. I feel your pain. My old TB had wicked soundness issues (on, then off, then on, then off). It's a mind fuck x a billion.

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    1. There's nothing like a TB to send you into a soundness tailspin.

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  14. Ugh yes very familiar with these overreactions/spirals. Fingers crossed Bobby feels MUCH better with his new footsies and you guys have a long fun career together! Rico legit would be a crippled mess if he went 8 weeks, he was at 4 weeks when he was competing and now can barely make it to 6 now, I try to keep him at 5. Damn horses, at least TC can go to 6, even though after Rico I totally get anxious about anything beyond 5!

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    1. BM was telling me her horse with sidebone just got bumped from 6 to 4 and I thought that was so short. Now I think it's not a bad idea in the slightest lol

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  15. Hoping for all the best in you guys' future :)

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  16. Cosmo had a red eye the past few days. The one that he can't blink on. It's been dry and windy, so it's likely just irritated. I put some ointment on it. Then I spiraled, "he is going to have to have it removed. Can I afford that? Will he be more spooky in the arena with one eye? Will he still jump? Will we enjoy trails?" His eye looked much better this morning, hopefully it IS just weather induced irritation.

    I'm glad you've got such a great team for Bobby. You do right by him all the time, and you guys still have tons of fun ahead of you. And I'm sure plenty of naughtiness as well.

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    1. So much naughtiness. And having Cosmo's eye removed was definitely a logical jump after irritation. I would have been all over that too. #crazyhorseperson

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  17. I understand so much Carly, sorry Bobby is going through this. I am having to face similar with App, judging his comfort level. It sucks. Overreaction of DEATH OMG is completely normal and expected, our real horse friends understand the craziness. I hope you guys have many years left together, even if he can be an ass at times.

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    1. So hard when they get to that point!

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  18. I hope he's feeling much better after having his feet done! (I have to trim the girls every two weeks now they are growing so fast...seriously what the fuck.)

    I am sure you will come up with plenty of awesomeness to do besides eventing. Like dressaging BAMFs.

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    1. He feels so much better after getting done! It's going to be a big adjustment for me this summer managing someone else managing his feet. It's been so long!

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  19. Aw girl I'm sorry. You've done a damn good job keeping this horse comfortable in work. I'm sorry that his Bobby body is failing in parts but have complete faith that you always have and always will do the best for him! And cake too.

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    1. His Bobby brain is always on the verge of failing so another part of his body shouldn't have come as too big of a surprise I guess!

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  20. I feel you. I decided Rio was dying a few weeks ago and canceled a trip to Florida. Turns out he just has a little TMJ.
    I'm sorry your eventing dreams aren't to be, but you and Bobby have made huge progress with your dressage work. I think you still have a shiny future ahead together.
    Also, if it helps, I can barely get mine to 6 weeks before they tell me their feet are falling off. (Lies.)

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    1. Horses are such princesses, and we are such sorry suckers for them!

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  21. Aw man. I'm so glad though that Bobby perked right up with the farrier's work. This pony is never one to ignore an opportunity to screw with you :D

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  22. Oh geez, how stressful. Sounds like a 6 week schedule will be a good thing. Sending virtual shots of strong alcohol your way.

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    1. I hope it's as easy as shortening him up. I don't think I can handle another crazy train spiral lol

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  23. I'm glad that he's already feeling better after the farrier visit. Sorry that you had to go through such a scare though.

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  24. I feel for you. Navicular is a horrible, horrible beast.

    Of course, you could always get another horse! Problem solved. (Disregard the fact that you won't be able to afford to eat ever again ;)

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    1. But I do love me some Ramen tho... :P

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  25. OMG, that's terrifying. But so glad that he's feeling better with his tootsies trimmed!

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.