As many of you will know, for some time we’ve had issues with
Ruby being 1 sided, and despite doing our best to address this with schooling,
bespoke custom made saddles, physio, osteopaths, massage and vets advice, it’s remained an ongoing problem.
The vet, having re-examined Ruby, and ridden her for herself to
see just how 1-sided she was (she described her as virtually unrideable), then
referred for bone scans after a preliminary assessment and x-ray had ruled out kissing spines. In the mean time I’ve continued to work Ruby following vets advice, and really the progress she has made has been brilliant! Softer more consistent work in walk and trot, and even her canter work and jumping has really come on leaps and bounds! Sharon, my trainer saw her for the first time in a while and also noticed an improvement in her way of going, and her
attitude actually – she’s been much less up tight. At this point, I began to believe that in fact she could just be a late developer, and that her 1-sidedness could just be a lack of balance and strength that we could build on; progress has been made so that has given me great hope.
After a VERY long day waiting for the bone scans, I finally heard from the vet; my stomach dropped when she said the scans had picked up several hotspots. These included the sacroiliac, the off-side hock, and the near fore pedal bone. Gulp. All very scary things to mention. After the radiation had worn off, the vet wanted Ruby brought back to the practice for further investigation and treatment. She felt there was some muscle atrophy now present on the left, and some lameness on the near fore that hadn’t been present before. Although the x-ray did show some changes to the pedal bone, there were no fracture lines or anything nasty, and there were no navicular changes (phew) – the vet is happy that it shouldn’t pose a problem.
The hock has been x-rayed too, and whilst the vet is seeking a second opinion as it does show something, the vet describes it as ‘nothing that rings alarm bells’. More than likely this is a result of the over compensating from her asymmetric pelvis and sacroiliac pain, which the vet has pinpointed as the primary cause. In order to treat this, they have administered a rather large
steroid injection which all went fine.
The prognosis? Well, I’ve been advised to turn her away for a few weeks over Christmas to give everything time to settle down. Beyond that, it’s a month or so of working from the ground including my old favourite long reining (collective groan), and ridden walking work before progressing onto trot work. The idea is that now she is medicated, we start over again, aiming to build
topline and muscle evenly - lots of long and low work. Hopefully she will be able to sit on her hocks more now and engage her hind end which has been a struggle previously, due to the discomfort she has carried.
The vet has warned that realistically it may be 6 months before we can jump again, and 3-6 months before she will back to a
similar level of work. I’m hugely relieved that the prognosis is good, as long as the treatment does what we hope it will; there are many worse outcomes that we could have had, and hopefully this is only a delay rather than anything more.
On the other hand, being totally honest, I feel completely gutted that we’ve come so far and, not for the 1st time, are having to start over. Ruby is still young at 5, and has plenty of time to get out competing, but I have to resign myself to the fact
that it won’t be for a little while yet. Having just started to focus on jumping and seen Ruby excel, I was feeling very positive about 2013 and starting her competitive career in the very near future. My burning desire for her, and for me, is to get out eventing and this is ultimately still the goal. I’ve seen so much potential in her, despite carrying all these issues, her attitude is great and she just takes everything in her stride, and I consider myself very lucky to have a little 1 in a million horse with a massive heart! Regrettably, we’re now back to rehabilitation – but with any luck, now we have a firm handle on the issue, this will be the last time we have to do this. The process is frustrating, but the outcome will be worth it. Maybe we’ll get our chance one
day? All good things come to those who wait, apparently.