Monday, August 28, 2017

Be Totilas

My Thursday lesson got moved up to this morning as BM has a conflict on our usual day. Bobby got Friday off so I could play with Riding Bestie's puppy, and also Saturday...so I could play with my puppies.

I just really love puppies.

mags was the only one being good which apparently makes her very sad.

Anyway, I figured I probably ought to give the old stallion a spin before our lesson so as not to completely embarrass ourselves. We had trouble in our last lesson with not putting in enough warm up to get the best work, but I had plenty of time to let Bobby have a long walk and then stretch at the trot for a million laps on Sunday. Some days you can jump right on him and put him to work, but I think in either case he enjoys the slow mental warm up.

He was much better for Sunday's ride, and I got on half an hour before today's lesson to repeat our long warm up so we'd actually get some productive work during billing hours. That strategy was definitely the ticket and we were ready to be tortured by BM from the get-go.

We were on a circle for pretty much the entire lesson which is some people's idea of torture, but it's my idea of perfection. For one I can't hear for shit. Also though I feel like giving me free rein of the arena just gives me more space to fuck things up. My crazy is easier contained to half the arena.

BM started us right off in the canter since we were already warmed up. We'd worked a little on trying to get some collected canter last week, but Bobby wasn't quite up to the challenge in the amount of time we had. Today he was in it to win it.

BM has to break things down into kindergartner terms for me because while I know what she's talking about, and afterwards I'm able to get it sorted in my head, I have a hard time processing what she's asking me to do while I'm trying to do it unless it's spelled out into the absolute simplest words.

So my collected canter "aids" were: forward, catch, release.

Basically send him forward, catch the forward so it doesn't become an extension (a medium), and then release with my fingers so I'm not restricting. Channel him forward and upwards into the collection. Bobby caught on pretty quickly and soon he was so in tune to the game that if I gave him too strong of a half halt off my seat or didn't release it quickly enough he sat down and offered up a really lovely collected trot instead. Not what we were going for, but the responsiveness to every twitch of my body was fun.

not featured in today's ride, but still exciting!

To the right he was surprisingly just as strong and light so we ended with that pretty quickly as a reward. She told me to ride Bobby like he was Totilas--if I believed he was that fancy, Bobby would believe it, too. Whatever you say, BM. I'm just happy when we can make right turns without falling over.

We moved on to the collected walk after a nose-dragging stretchy trot break. We'd done a few turns on the haunches right at the beginning of the ride, so BM was using the collected walk to segway into a walk pirouette. Holy fuck, this was way harder than the canter work. Bobby doesn't have a great walk to start with. He was light in the bridle which is always nice, and he was bending around my leg really well and actually doing a good haunches in when we asked for it, but BM wanted his hind end more active.

She picked up a dressage whip and tapped him a couple times on the back legs on our circle. That got his attention and bro was like, "My butt doesn't come any further underneath me, I'm marching, bitches!" Once we got that, BM had me bring the haunches in on the circle and then boom, move the shoulders around her into the pirouette. We never really nailed it, but for the first time working on it he was pretty stellar.

bobby says his butt is tired and he would like to
go outside instead of participate in these shenanigans.

Back to the canter to work on moving between collection and extension. BM had us collect the canter on the circle and then go across the diagonal with a few strides of opening up into however big of a stride Bobby offered up before collecting again at the rail and either doing a simple or flying change. Bobby was on his shit. We've always sucked at opening up the canter, but he flowed right into it before coming back and popping a clean change both ways.

We finally finished with a little collected trot. Bobby actually finds this relatively easy (for where we are at our level of collected work) despite the fact that he's built like a fucking malformed moose, so BM challenged us to make the steps even smaller and more active. He was getting tired so we didn't have great success there, but I can try the exercise again another day.

Overall though? Dude is getting some legit buttons and some legit butt muscles. Taking the time to go back and let him do long and low for a few weeks did him a world of good. He feels like an educated horse. He's got a lot of learning left to do, but it was a really encouraging peek into what we need to work on for Third.

look, i was just really excited about his first time
in a double, okay? don't judge me.

Afterwards BM pulled out the double to let him get a feel for it. He needs a slightly smaller bridoon and possibly a new bit set up altogether, but since we were just letting him stand there and eat a million cookies, it worked fine. He'll get to wear it on the ground a couple more times before we take it to the ring for some walks. I've never ridden with a double before so I'm in no hurry to try it without serious adult supervision.

I hope I get to take him out next year to show, but in the more immediate future I hope he's tuned up enough to be a fun ride for Katlyn this Friday!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

WWYD: Telling the vet no

As you guys know, the only tangible results of my Cornell visit were two giant bottles of prednisone to experimentally treat the sarcoidosis.

ENTER MUCH DRAMA.

listen, tim gunn knows. 

Let's do a quick recap of our timeline:

  • Dr Derm looks at Bobby's leg. Dr Derm has been on Bobby's case from initial diagnosis. He does not think anything with the hoof is related to the sarcoidosis. He also says anything going on in the leg is too deep for our current medication--pentoxyfilline--to be making any difference and there's no reason I should continue it.  
  • Cornell Farrier is in and out all day. He sees the rads. He sees the ultrasound. I know he's spoken to Dr Derm and Dr Ortho. He says that Bobby's coffin bone has had rotation as seen in a laminitic episode, albeit a very bizarre presentation. He recommends glue on shoes and a frog support pad.
  • Dr Internal Medicine comes in without me knowing and goes gaga over the sarcoidosis. I do not know if she's had any consult with the farrier or Dr Derm or anyone else for that matter. We've been at Cornell for seven hours at that point and Bobby is trying to eat vet students. Dr IM recommends the prednisone--the one drug that has shown to sometimes prolong generalized sarcoidosis. Bobby does not have generalized sarcoidosis, his is localized. My local vet had mentioned wanting to try steroids previously so I agree and clean out their supply of prednisone without thinking about anything besides getting the fuck out of there. 
  • I call Farrier and tell her Cornell Farrier's findings and that I was given steroids. Farrier says, hold the phone, bad idea
  • I call Vet and tell her Farrier said she didn't think treating a laminitic horse with steroids was a good idea. Vet says she'll call Cornell and Farrier and chat. 
I think that's where I last left you guys.

trying to do right by the moose, even if all that means is taking him on adventures
before i accidentally founder him. #letsnot

Enter a weekend of ranting and raging to poor Hubby and working myself up to not even wanting to talk a vet again. Ever. Any vet. Really anyone in any medical profession. Farrier arrives bright and early Monday morning to put new shoes on Bobby. I ask her how her chat with Vet went, and Farrier shoots me the look of death that says she's been having the same thoughts.

Vet told her the laminitis episode was a "misunderstanding" to which Farrier wanted to know why she was then having Bobby shod like a laminitic horse, and I wanted to know why my fucking discharge papers said "evidence of laminitic episode". Vet was also concerned that a frog support pad would put too much pressure on the navicular bone which to her credit we all kind of forgot about BECAUSE BOBBY HAS TOO MANY FUCKING ISSUES TO KEEP TRACK OF.

bobby's all, tell me about it.

In the end we changed the whole shebang. He still has his standby aluminium wedge on the left foot because it hasn't seemed to have caused any adverse affects, and it helps his worse navicular foot stay sound. On the right she did aluminum and a leather pad with his little froggy cut out so there was no pressure there. She dug out and patched the giant crack at the top of his foot and stuck a felt wick in there so I could feed it white lightning to prevent infection. She reiterated that she didn't think steroids were the right choice in this scenario.

they shaved his leg for the ultrasound and made
his skin angry again. fortunately liberal krudzapper
has calmed it down.

So here's where I stand:

Sarcoidosis is really, really, really rare and the biggest study on it came out of the Netherlands. All of those horses had generalized sarcoidosis. Prednisone was given to some of them. It prolonged the disease in some cases, in some it didn't. In the end they all had to be euthanized anyway. Sarcoidosis is not curable. Any treatment plan at this point to address the sarcoidosis specifically is going to be experimental. I understand that the vets don't have anything to go on and are having to make this up as they go. That's frustrating for them and it's frustrating for me.

HOWEVER.

Right now Bobby is sound and happy. We have visual evidence of a problem in his foot, and a solid plan to address that problem. There's no guessing going on in that department. We're not in a lot of danger of making him worse by attacking that problem head on.

I kind of feel like the vets are so excited to get their hands on a case of sarcoidosis that they're not looking at the bigger picture. To me, the bigger picture is having that sound and happy horse first and foremost. I don't want to mess with that by trying something that might seriously fuck his body up. Laminitis isn't the only potential side effect of steroids, you know?

could we play in water all the time if he had bleeding ulcers and foundering feet?
PROBABLY NOT. #unacceptable

Have you guys ever had to say no to your vet or farrier before? Is there are point where the line has to be drawn and you put your foot down? Or am I being completely absurd here and subjecting my horse to a slow death instead of a fast one? OR AM I DENYING HIM LIFE SAVING TREATMENT I DON'T KNOW.

As an aside, Dr IM also said I should also do at least another month to six weeks of pentoxyfilline. I told her Dr Derm said he didn't think it was effective, and she agreed it's probably not, but it's a pretty benign drug so might as well. Or....might as well not? I'm using up the four bottles I already had, but I'm not buying more "just because". That I'm not budging on. I didn't think it did anything after the first couple of weeks we first started it (he was on it for six weeks), and I didn't think it was going to do anything this time. It doesn't seem as if it has.

I can't even with vets anymore.

also again. can we remember that this is what ONE
dose of SMZs did to his leg? everything makes poor
cancer leg incredibly angry all the time

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WW: XC Schooling at Morgan Equine

we did two stadium jumps with my other two barn mates before ditching them
and starting on xc on our own

bobby thought this was an excellent plan. he was so happy to be out doing the jumpies

this "venue" hosts one jumper derby type event a year. i don't think most of these
jumps were flagged for what they actually were--they were there more for keeping
it between the flags. 

some of these funky in quality as i tried to manipulate them past some of the blurriness
hubby occasionally got.

my leg is just doing its own thing here, nbd. 

bobby loves up banks

not so much down banks. i don't know if his feeties hurt from jumping down, or
he just didn't remember how to do them. once i got off and worked him for the ground
for a minute or two he was confidently stepping off again. we didn't mess with these
for long though. 

is there a way not to have a double chin jumping down banks? not if you're me!
i also like how bobby is calmly popping down and i'm like, DEATH IS NEAR. 

totally biffed the distance the first time to this as seen by my face

interpretive jump form, it's how we roll. 

he jumped this with his front end then tried to twist and run out with his hind end
and slid in the grass. two seconds later he'd finished falling onto his side and i was standing
over him like, "really, bro?" he was completely fine and was up immediately no worse for wear.

right after the above fall. clearly nobody was fazed by it. 

dude does love his water

ditches are boring

proof we can jump out of the water normally

bobby was done with our shenanigans. also it was hot and blowing in actual tornadoes. 

Bobby got new feet Monday which I'll write about later. I still haven't started him on the prednisone as I'm just not comfortable with the idea of it. Yet. I might change my mind, I don't know. But that's also a post for another day. For now I'm just glad I got to have some fun with my moose, and I'm super thankful for my BM who trucked us for free so that I could go!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cornell Visit: Only one like him. Literally.

Remember how I was all, "Cornell is an easy two hour drive" yada yada so easy?

LOLZ.

We almost died.

It was a really easy drive...for an hour and fifty minutes. Once we hit downtown and my directions failed me, we almost died. I somehow zigged left instead of right--I think--so I quickly turned on my phone's GPS and told it to get me to the vet hospital.

It took me to a dorm. On a mountain.

I drive a Dodge Ram 1500 with the biggest engine that model offers, and I have never once had a problem with it hauling. My trailer is pretty light, and there was only one horse on board. Dudes, every time I so much as paused I started rolling backwards. And almost shit myself, I think it goes without saying. Thank god for tight trailer brakes. I finally found a levelish alley type thing to pull into and park (e-brake engaged) while I called the office.

The wonderful front desk woman put on her headset and stayed on the line with me while my truck put its head down and somehow hauled us the rest of the way up the hill, moaning and groaning and warning me not to take my foot of the gas pedal for so much as a second until we reached our destination.

"this does not look like a horse show to me."

I nearly kissed the ground when I finally pulled into the parking lot. I was able to follow my directions on the way home, but still had to creep down a mile long 10% grade hill that was fortunately under construction so I was able to inch down it without any trouble. Holy fuck, I just really, really hate hills under all circumstances.

I got us checked in and then headed back out to the trailer to console Bobby who was in a bit of a rage about his circumstances while we waited for a student to come collect us.

ANGRY eating his hay. SO ANGRY. 

My student keeper for the day was great, and she had us settled into a stall with medical information written down in no time. My appointment was with the derm and ortho departments, but ortho was in the middle of looking at another case when we got there so derm got to work first.

Team Dermatology

Dr Derm has been working with us since the original diagnosis of sarcoidosis. He's one of the few in the country that has any first hand knowledge of the disease so I was looking forward to finally meeting him in person. He let his students and the other lead vet do most of the poking and prodding before ducking into the stall with a giant camera to get pictures. If Bobby appears in one of his books, do I get royalties?

Once he came back out, he asked me what I knew about sarcoidosis. I was like, "I know as much as you actually. I even read your one paragraph you published on it." The biggest problem with this fucking disease is that there is nothing known about it. If it's generalized, you euthanize. That's what we know. The end.

If it's localized? Dr Derm said, "I didn't actually believe there was such a thing as localized sarcoidosis. This is the only case in this country. Ever." Bobby. You do not need to work so hard to be a celebrity, bro. I can't afford it.

team derm and my student get to work

After everyone got their chance to poke him, Dr Derm pronounced he didn't think we were actually dealing with anything skin related from the sarcoidosis. He hypothesized that because the disease is basically the body trying to eat itself maybe there was some internal scarring that had blocked a vein and was causing the disruption of circulation and all the swelling. That didn't seem like a bad guess, and he went to go print the rads we took last Monday to look at and show the farrier and ortho who were finally ready for us.

Team Orthology

Since derm didn't think they had much to do with us, aside from wanting to play with the sarcoidosis, ortho became my lead doctor. Right off the bat they had Bobby hoof tested and jogged (and more pictures taken since the shape of his foot is almost as exciting as his sarcoidosis) as everyone unsurprisingly seemed blown out of the water that he was sound as a dime. Dr Ortho watched him go multiple times before shrugging. "Well, yes, he's very sound. Hmm."

He asked if I'd tried sweating it. I said I had once, but his leg couldn't handle it.

Dr Ortho: "What did the leg do?"
Me: "Um...well, the skin kind of fell off. He's very sensitive to topicals now."
Dr Derm: "LOL, no but really it did."

I was glad Dr Derm had stuck around because he's seen the entire progression from slime and pus and chunks of hair falling off and burnt skin to the relatively normal looking leg Bobby has now.

Dr Derm relayed his theory about the possibility of blocked circulation and Dr Ortho agreed that was a good guess so we'd roll with it. They scheduled an ultrasound and stuck Bobby back in his stall to wait.

he really wanted to eat his shavings even though
he had hay.

Team Imaging

Bobby was already in the stocks and "sedated" when my student came to get me for the ultrasound. She said they'd given him xylazine which I was kind of annoyed that they'd done without asking me. Bobby doesn't react to xylazine--I mean, he sweats a lot and it makes him pee, but it doesn't sedate him. That was a charge on my bill I didn't need as Bobby hung out being annoyed about the sweat dripping down his butt and gnawing on his lead rope, but otherwise quiet and not sedated in the slightest. If sedation is a mandatory procedure, they could have given him dorm and actually knocked him out.

The ultrasound doctor admitted right off the bat she didn't usually work on the coronary band area, but she spent a good half an hour trying her best to get some good imaging. Dr Ortho joined us towards the end to discuss findings.

Veins and blood vessels looked great, no problem there. She did the suspensory and DDFT as well and said those also looked great. She found a small pocket of fluid on the outside side of the heel bulb, but she didn't think it was anything of concern. His lymphatics were slightly swollen which was what they were expecting with the leg being swollen.

Overall though, we didn't get much. Dr Ortho wanted to focus on the foot itself and asked to do a venogram--where the veins in the foot are highlighted and viewed via xray. Yeah, sure, whatever, Dr Ortho. Just give me an answer.

I haven't heard yet what they found on the venogram as I wasn't called back for it. They're supposed to email me the report at some point today. I can probably give you a summation though: nothing.

parked next to me with the most gorgeous dapplely warmblood gelding. later to be
stalled next to us was a giant equally gorgeous warmblood owned by the maddens.
bobby was the celebrity for the day, but he did not look the part in comparison. 

Team Farrier

Throughout the day the farrier popped in and out. I liked him because he was alone so he talked directly to me instead of to a team of students trailing around him. He'd looked at the rads and had watched the ultrasound. I don't know if he was there for the venogram, but I'm sure they passed that along to him as well. He was very interested in Bobby's case because Bobby. Everyone was very interested in Bobby's case.

He thought my farrier was doing a good job with the shoeing, but agreed it was time for the wedges to go. I told him Farrier wanted to do glue ons with a rocker toe and he said he'd do that as well, but he need a pour-in pad or a frog support pad. Anyone ever dealt with laminits? That's a classic laminitis shoeing package.

Why? Because the farrier thought that Bobby had had a laminitic episode. He was practically giddy over the rads. In most laminitic cases, the coffin bone falls forward, right? Bobby's was pointed upwards, pushing through the back of the foot instead of the front. Not unheard of, but very rare.

My farrier has frog support pads on-hand so we'll be doing that set up on Monday. She's been sent the rads as well and promised to get in touch with Cornell farrier to discuss.

back at home and gorging himself, unconcerned
about the state of his falling apart body.

Team Internal Medicine

Almost done!

Do you feel like we've cycled through the entire vet school yet? Because I did. It was 4:00 by this point and Bobby and I were both done with the whole thing. While at the beginning of the day Bobby was mugging everyone for snuggles, when my student took me to the back to talk to IM, his ears were pinned and he was trying to bite them. Having teams of five to seven students poking and groping him all day had lost its appeal, and he was pissed. It didn't wear off when we got home either. He unloaded with his ears back and wanted nothing to do with talking to anyone. He seems to have forgiven me this morning, but I gave him extra cookies and the day off anyway.

I didn't know IM had been called in to consult, and was kind of annoyed to find that charge on my bill. If you want to take a look at his leg because sarcoidosis is rare and Bobby's is even rarer, fine. But don't charge me for it.

They asked all the standard sarcoidosis questions: How's his weight? Is he eating normally? Breathing normally? Have you had his lungs checked? Temperature stays normal? Yes, yes, yes, all things my vet and I discuss on an almost weekly basis. We're old pros at this by now.

Finally Dr IM came out of the stall and gravely told me, "Sarcoidosis isn't cured. We can manage it, maybe, but once it spreads..."

I was like, "Uh, yeah. I know. I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT SARCOIDOSIS ON THE PLANET." We've had the euthanasia talk. A couple times, actually! At the first sign it has spread to his organs, I will put him down. I'm not going to rush him back to Cornell and hope they can stop his lungs from eating themselves while his fucking flesh falls off.

Her recommendation was that we try a steroid--what my vet had wanted to do if I didn't take him to Cornell. In generalized sarcoidosis, that's the one and only treatment option. Like Dr IM said, it won't cure it, but it might prolong the inevitable. Not a single horse treated has ever not been euathanized though. Not. One.

no organ eating going on here for the moment.
just cookies and grass.

All of Bobby's emergency vet savings completely emptied, we headed home with a thousand prednisone tabs and no more answers than what we'd arrived with.

I called my farrier and relayed all the information. About an hour later she called me back again. "I'm not going to tell you how to medicate your horse, and I haven't seen the rads yet, but with the state of his foot and Cornell Farrier thinking he's had a laminitic episode, I don't think you should give him the steroids. At all."

Ughhhhhhhh.

Steroids, of course, run the chance of foundering a horse. If Bobby's already vulnerable, he runs an even higher chance. Right now this horse is sound as shit. If you didn't look at his foot, you would never know there was a thing wrong with him. If we chance the steroids on the chance it does something to the sarcoidosis, we could very well bring on full blown laminitis, and then he's definitely going to be lame and now we have EVEN MOAR problems.

So I put in a call to my vet (and am waiting to hear back from her) to get her opinion. I don't know what IM was doing there, so I don't know if they knew anything about what was going on with the foot, or if they were focused entirely on the sarcoidosis. It certainly seems like the latter. If that's the case, then I'm assuming they didn't realize his foot is not up to steroids.

I should have known that, and I should have said something, but at that point I was so done with the day and ready to grasp on to any type of answer or solution that I was just like, whatever. Give me the meds. Now I have two giant bottles of prednisone sitting in my kitchen that I don't know what I'm supposed to do with. Is there a black market for 'roids? Someone get in touch with me.

So there you go. My takeaway? I'm going to keep doing whatever the fuck I want with him so long as he stays sound. I'll let Farrier do whatever she thinks needs to be done with the shoeing as we go along. If he comes up lame, we'll take it from there.

Thanks, Cornell. For nuthin.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Oh Gingersnap Blog Hop: Change

Late to the party content is better than no content, right? I'm using T's blog hop as a platform for a post I was going to write anyway. Because multi tasking is what I do, bitches.


Have you at some point moved on to a different horse, trainer, stable, etc with the purpose of advancing your progress? What made you realize the time was right for a change? Or did you opt to adjust your goals in order to stay with what you know is working? How did either choice work out in the long run?

First, let me give a brief overview of my riding experience. I started riding at five at a backyard barn in the sticks of South Carolina. My instructor, Miss Patty, was the perfect teacher for the group of horse crazy young kids I rode with. She was encouraging, she focused on safety, and she pushed us without scaring us. I learned the basics of jumping there, and then we moved to Illinois when I was eight. 

I took lessons at a hunter barn from eight to thirteen. Grooms did the tacking up and cool downs for us, and while we had brief chats in the tack room before our lessons about horse care, parts of the saddle and bridle, yada yada, it was basically a get on and ride type program. The lesson horses were great teachers, and there were very few horses you could get on and not have to do anything with. I think this barn put a great riding foundation on me because the next time I rode wasn't until my freshman year of college. (Riding Bestie finds it hilarious that I'd never tacked up my own horse until I was almost eighteen. Fancy barns are not always the best barns.)

I took a semester of dressage lessons and for the next three years I supplemented riding racehorses in various stages of training with once weekly regular riding lessons. I was given a reject OTTB early in my second year so I was riding quite a bit on my own, but I only had a handful of lessons from graduation on until I started lessoning with BM last January. I was strong as shit, but my knowledge of the subtle intricacies of things like...you know, the aids, was pretty much nil. 

duties also included teaching a (giant) baby bobby to pony

I've managed to creep along pretty far on my own. I read anything I can get my hands on, and I spend tons of time watching both online videos and other riders. My feel and my instincts have gotten better, but there are so many gaps in my training and consequently in my horse's too. We've shown Second, we've kind of gone Training, and I could navigate a Novice cross country course with my eyes closed. 

But it's all been by the seat of my pants, and I want to be better. 

Part of it is that--if we haven't already--if we attempt to go any further we just won't be able to because of the gaps in training. 

Another part is that yet again we've hit a soundness related brick wall. Or bouncy rubber wall? Because we get knocked down but keep on crawling back to the same old spots. It feels like every time we inch to a new level, BAM, try again later because Bobby needs three months of sitting around working up new medical marvels, and he retains muscle about as well as me sitting on the couch stuffing my face with Cheetos. Which is to say, not at all. 

and then he hurt his ddft and we tack walked all summer. 

To answer T's blog hop questions...

Have you at some point moved on to a different horse, trainer, stable, etc with the purpose of advancing your progress?

I think the horse has the potential to go as far as I can ride in dressage. I don't think he'd stay sound enough to go further than Prelim in any scenario which is more than fine with me. I think my trainer can get us through Fourth level on her own (provided she can teach me how to ride that well, poor girl). She's not at all adverse to outside trainers and has even suggested a few, so if we hit a wall she doesn't think she can get us over, I'll find someone else to help us out as well. 

What made you realize the time was right for a change? Or did you opt to adjust your goals in order to stay with what you know is working?

I've adjusted my goals big time in the past couple months. Knowing there's not a show in sight this year because all the Bobby Money is allocated to vet bills, I've wiped the slate clean. Last week I requested a longe lesson so that BM and I could get a good grip on what my biggest weaknesses are. (I balance on my hands, my core needs to be stronger, and I need to get my hands about thirty feet out in front of me.)

my elbows just really love to live behind my back, okay?
pc: megan stapley, used with purchase

I'm committed to going as far back as we need to fill in all the missing spots. I want my horse to look classically awesome, and I want to be the best rider I can be. A lot of days this means we strut along in a training level frame working on rhythm and adjustability (I think I'd slay bitches in a hunter flat class right now though, not gonna lie.). Some days we're both feeling so on it we absolutely coast through second level work. 

The pieces are all there. They just need spit polish...and some need a little gorilla glue or medical grade sutures, but I think this change in my training mindset is going to be super fucking beneficial for the both of us. I'm hoping we come out next year ready to pick up on the goal train what I wanted to accomplish this year--only better!

This, of course, all depends on Bobby not dropping dead or realizing his foot should not be functional any longer. We head to Cornell first thing tomorrow morning to hopefully get some answers!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

All Rolled into One

For those patiently waiting for a glorious show recap, or any show recap at all, I'll start the post with a quick one:

It didn't happen.

The footing was horrendous for dressage warm up, and I felt like I could barely get Bobby out of the ground. We put in a correct but blah test which landed us with our worst score ever. I was pissed about that until looking at the rest of the scores from our ring and seeing that there was no way I was the only one who ran into such a thing. I'm not sure what the judge was looking for, but apparently none of us had it.

trying to get some forward, but it's hard when your horse is stuck in the ground

Cross country was cancelled because it was under water (as in, the water crossings were up to my thighs), and I wasn't about to drive back down to Geneseo for a stadium round on crap footing. This is the second time in the three years I've lived here they haven't been able to jump because of footing. It's basically a $200 combined test or dressage test which is not what I sign up for. Along with a lot of organizational issues--like there being no announcement anywhere about the cancellation as I found out from a friend who was grooming for someone else who'd heard a rumor--I will not be patronizing this event in the future. I sent in an event evaluation as well.

I have a lot of Feelings about eventing in WNY, but that's a post for another time.

#feelings. the horse was good though and earned his carrots.

Immediately following that I got deathly ill for a week straight, becoming intimately familiar with my bathroom floor where I took up residence for a couple days. Fortunately I finally felt human just in time for our week-long vacation to Maine which was amazing and I wanted never to come back from.

poor black bear said mountain climbing is exhausting. and no, she has no problem
being toted around like a 90lb kitten. 

I finally got to ride my horse again last week. It sucked. A lot. He wasn't really doing anything wrong, but I went into full on "I suck at riding. I'm the worst rider ever. I've broken all my horse's training. I will never ever get better." meltdown, and Bobby was just like, "Amen." My rides sucked, my lesson sucked, my morale sucked.

So Sunday I took Hubby up on his offer to accompany us to Mendon for a photo shoot where we had a blast romping around and soaking in one of the ponds, and I remembered that at the heart of it I just really like riding.

sometimes you gotta go deep for the best snacks

and then he tripped and really went under, but came right back up like, "got it!"
#snacksforlife

Sitting heavy in the background off all this was Bobby's cancer leg. Or more specifically the troublesome foot attached to cancer leg. Like I wrote about when he was first diagnosed, the coronet band has slowly been bulging outwards. It went from all along the top of his foot to really blowing out one side.

it's hard to get a good angle, but the whole top is squishy and swollen. he's also
due to get shod this week, but we're waiting to firm up a plan first. 

He's been one hundred percent sound. Nary a hitch, and BM even complimented how much freer he looked in our lesson than the last time she'd seen him go. He was adjusted by the chiro for an out of whack pelvis last Tuesday, but that was because he couldn't turn right and not because he felt crippled.

Obviously though, that's not normal so I put in a call to the vet Friday for her to come out Monday. Farrier also managed to come out that morning. I like to confirm that I'm not being crazy about hoof issues before talking to Vet as she doesn't seem to take them as seriously as I do--which is why I lean heavily on a really good farrier.

Farrier didn't have any clue what was going on with it. She sent pictures to a colleague who also didn't know. We talked about how the crack is now expanding out instead of up and down, so currently we're planning on ditching the wedges and trying some form of glue-ons and doing....something to the crack, I forget what.

freshly braided for the second time that day
and they're already falling out again. fucker. 

Vet had no idea what it was either, so I agreed to do x-rays with the worry that there might be some bone rotation/fuck uppery somewhere in there. She was without an assistant, but good old Bobby stepped right onto the blocks and happily ground tied without twitching a muscle while I helped her take the images....which showed nothing. At a loss, she gave me a bottle of pentoxifylline to start him back on, and told me she'd get the images sent right to his derm doctor and the ortho team at Cornell.

The only things Vet and Farrier really agreed on were that a) the skin looks good!, b) we were more than likely dealing with a side affect from the sarcoidosis, and c) there was no fucking way this horse should still be walking, let alone sound.

expectation defying moose, breaking the medical rules since the dawn of time.
(he was initially very suspicious of hubby following him around before he realized
hubby belongs to him and is a certified dispenser of treats.)

But he is sound. He feels fucking fabulous actually. In our two rides this week, I've dropped all upper of the lower levels expectations and just let him go back to basics--a training level frame with good pushing power and a steady rhythm. He's a solid A going around like that, so I'll let him keep being an A until he's ready to be an A++ and he wants to give me more.

ugh, this park is so pretty

Vet got all her information sent over to Cornell by the end of Monday, and then went on an emailing rampage to try to get any more information on the sarcoidosis. Like, she sent off an email to the vet in the Netherlands that did the biggest (and seemingly only) study on the disease. She hasn't heard back yet, but it kind of feels like a sarcoidosis celebrity.

Look, things have been kind of dismal around here. I have to get my kicks where I can.

Nobody knows jack shit about it though. Cornell's derm vet has the next best knowledge, but that's pretty minimal and all he was able to contribute was that he's never seen it do anything to the foot. The ortho team suggested a hematoma, but Vet had never seen one inside the hoof, and she felt that they weren't able to really get a good grip from the pictures that it's not just swelling in that one area. It's around the entire foot.

Soooo, that currently leaves me with two options.

Option One: Go down to Cornell and have the ortho team, derm vet, and farrier all take a look at him. They might have to ultrasound, they might biopsy, they might try to drain it. Basically just do a full work up on the mysteries of Cancer Leg with everyone that's been seeing the pictures but hasn't seen it in person.

Option Two: Add a steroid to the program and wait and see.

farrier's horse taught bobby to splash when we ran into them trail riding
a few weeks ago

I was hesitant to jump right aboard the Cornell visit bandwagon. I mean, I'd love to do it. Cornell is an easy two hour trip south and the leg and foot really have to be seen to be believed. But I do have a budget, and the horse is sound as a hardy fucking mule. Vet assured me they're not much more expensive than my usual clinic, but they're plenty fucking expensive all on their own. Cornell is putting together a quote for me though, which I should have sometime this afternoon, and if it's not out of hand I'll jump right on it.

If it is, we'll go to the steroids.

The end goal here is that Bobby has to be sound enough to be a riding horse. There is no retirement pasture waiting for him at this point. If the cancer affects him to the point where he's in pain and we can't get a grip on it, I will put him down. It's a front leg on a horse that turns into a fucking terrorist when not in work. I'm not going to watch him hobble around with his skin sloughing off and his hoof threatening to detach.

But we're not there yet. We're still doing the thing, and fighting the fight, and confusing the medical world one random malady at a time.