Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pity Party for One, Please?

Unfortunately, this blog post isn't going to be very happy-go-lucky like the previous entry... I am, understandably so, confused and frustrated with the entire situation and the lack of Veterinary assistance in the area just adds to the frustration.

It should come as no surprise that Suzie has soundness issues - I've mentioned it many times in the past and have previously disclosed her on again off again lameness. And it's no real mystery as to why. She was used as a drill team and gymkhana horse for the better part of her life and was obviously not maintained appropriately and thus, her body has begun to break down. It's like taking a human athlete and not allowing them the oh so important stretching sessions, massages, chiropractic work, and injury management that allows them to continue to strengthen and progress. Horses, as our partners, should be no exception.


And it's not like this shoulder issue crept up on me - I knew about it before I brought her home. I knew Suzie's history and I knew what I was bringing home.

So, when she came up horribly lame (yet again) at the trot on Monday why did I feel so fucking upset?

And when I had several equestrian friends suggest retiring her, why did I feel a sting in my eyes and heat in my chest?

"She's had a hard life, maybe you should think about retiring her."

"Well she is old."

"I don't think she'll hold up to the schooling this year."


It fucking sucks. It sucks when your friends give you some "tough love" or some advice. It's so fucking hard to try and decipher what you should do.

And if you choose to go against what everyone tells you, what does that make you?

Of course, Suzie and I will not go down without a fight and all the horsey friends I've spoken to about it agree - first thing's first, we need to get some definitive answers. Last year I did a lameness exam on Suzie with the Traveling Vets, but since they do not have a mobile X-Ray machine, we were quite limited to what we could do. The Vet found some tight areas and prescribed acupuncture and chiropractic for her shoulder. Ironically enough, she was sound for the exam.

The Traveling Vets will be coming up again in mid-April and I've already penned Suzie in for another lameness exam - but this time, it'll be much more thorough. If there is anything I am unhappy with or uncertain about, I will haul her to wherever I need to to get the x-rays and information I seek. Of course, this comes with a price limit, as she is 22 after all.

You can see just how much she wants to lean to the right
and the unevenness in her shoulder. Her "bad" shoulder is HER left.
But I'm not willing to just retire her to pasture.  At least not without a firm diagnosis.

She doesn't deserve to be pushed and hurt, BUT she does deserve to be maintained, treated appropriately, and loved.

So if that means chiropractic work every two weeks, then that is what we will do. Or if it means injections twice a year. Or massage therapy and whatever else. I'll do it for her.


So yah. The last few days have been really fucking shitty. In fact, I spent our anniversary so miserable and moped for the better part of the afternoon. I mean, I shouldn't necessarily be surprised.

And I thought, since there is some time before the Vets come up, I should start small. So I called the equestrian chiropractor from the next town over and made an appointment with not only him, but a equine massage therapist as well. If my instincts are correct in that her shoulder is displaced, it should be a relatively easy fix. But if body-work does not give us any answers, I will know it's something much, much more serious.... and I think that's what scares me. What if there is so much more going
on?

 ^There is swearing in the video, because Suzie is being a fucking idiot.

It's the unfortunate case of old horses that haven't been treated properly (in terms of body adjustments and such) and instead, used to gallop around and stop hard. I love Suzie with all my heart - don't get me wrong - but it truly makes my heart ache that I'm fighting so hard for something that everyone sees as a lost cause. And in a way, I'm beginning to think that way too... Is fighting for her truly doing her any good? Should I reconsider my goals with her?

Out of the few friends I've been told to retire her, there was one who said she had something similar occur with her gelding (right down to the weird "walking in a cast" lameness). She is quite hopeful Suzie will make a recovery, based off of the pictures, videos, and the fact that Suzie literally was acting like a hot mess during the lameness videos.

And that's what makes it so hard. Suzie is a spitfire. Even though she's lame at the trot, today while Spud was having his second ride undersaddle, Suzie was literally screaming her head off and digging a hole to China... with her BAD leg.

A spit-fire indeed...
This was taken the day of the lameness video.
I don't really know how to end this blog post, as it's more or less me whining and just getting a bunch of steam out of my head... I know I shouldn't come to any conclusions or make any rash decisions until Monday evening after I see the chiro and massage therapist - but it's so hard.

I love this old mare more than anything in the world.

22 comments:

  1. I'm sorry she's not doing well. I hope the chiro can help and maybe you can start her on some Previcox from the vet. She certainly doesn't feel like she needs to slow down.

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    1. She is actually already on Previcox, which is what worries me...

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  2. It is so hard and frustrating when this happens. Has it always been the same leg/shoulder that she comes up lame on?

    I hope that it's something easy- like an abscess but it does seem to be her shoulder. I hope that the vet can give you some answers because that will help with the next round of decisions you have to make.

    Feel free to come on vent here about it when you need to. We understand.

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    1. Yes it has always been the same leg and shoulder. I didn't think she had any reason to come up lame since I haven't really been doing anything crazy or strenuous with her, but as another friend pointed out, she easily could have popped her shoulder out during a roll or something.

      And thank you.

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  3. It's always a hard decision as to what to do. If only there were a vet closer by. I'd say the only thing you can do now is get as many answers from the vets and chiropractor before you make any decisions.

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    1. Agree with this , and crossing my fingers hard for the both of you!

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    2. Thanks ladies. The vet last year saw nothing but mild arthritis and she said to continue with the treatment of Previcox. So perhaps she rolled or something and tweaked her shoulder out.

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  4. You'll know when iths a lost cause, and only those close to their animals can truly know. Not outsiders like us in blogland or those who don't interact with them (the horses in question everyday). It can be tough maintaining them the older they get but in my experience keeping a lowlevel baseline to fitness always help, so do what she can and continue from there. Your plan sounds good.

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    1. Thank you for your post. It made my eyes misty - in a good way.

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  5. I think it's awesome and admiral that you're so dedicated to finding solutions and doing right by this mare. It's the best any of us can do. Honestly the "lost cause" attitude feels to me like a slippery slope with horses - aren't they all gonna have to retire eventually anyway? Yes there will come a day for every horse where it can no longer be ridden. We are all just "delaying the inevitable" - the point isn't about the eventual end tho. It's about the time we spend and enjoy before then. If Suzie can be made comfortable such that you two can carry on with your season as planned - how could that ever be considered a waste? In any case, I'm wishing you good news from the body worker and traveling vets!

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  6. I think that it's a little presumptuous for others to tell you to just retire her when you don't have a diagnosis on what exactly is going on. It could very well be something that would allow her to continue to be in work with just some maintenance. Hope you get some answers soon.

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    1. I am easily swayed by opinions, so it's hard for me to stick up for myself. But you are so right - how can this be cause for retirement when I haven't exhausted all options yet.

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  7. I'm so sorry to hear this :( But agreed with Mare! My old mare Jubilee had lots of issues, I was told by a LOT of people to retire her, ended up digging hard with a vet, and she's fine to be ridden. I know you love your girl, and you will make the best decision for her. It's so tough when we have to deal with this stuff :( I hope you get answers soon!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words... hopefully we get those good answers soon.

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  8. Either way it ends up going, just think how fortunate it is that she ended up with you as her forever home. She's going to be living the life of luxury whether you get to go and show again this year, or if she's got to be retired to a pasture life. You've done so right by this mare just by owning her.

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  9. Sending big hugs! I have had similar moments to you. Lots of people have given me attitude for asking Apollo to jump tiny things (he's 17). I decided to tune them out (as best I can). Try to trust your gut and listen to your mare :) I think she has lots of years of go left!

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  10. All I can say is that she is lucky to have found you!! Fingers crossed something wonderful is coming your way.

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