Saturday, February 21, 2015

Glasses half empty. Glasses half full.

I haven't posted in a while. Here's the thing: Snoopy's been going through some issues with his legs. At first, we thought he had tweaked his left hind flexor tendon (I always want to call it a tendor flexon). We treated it with drugs and walking and it seemed to get much better. 

Except that when we started riding him again, his left lead suddenly felt different, as in, riding an off-kilter washing machine. His left hind leg just wasn't advancing enough to round his back and smooth the ride. Niki tried to push him into the right physical frame and he actually got mad at her, something he never does.

We thought it was up in his stifle, so we had Dr. Pollard out to watch him being ridden. The doctor was surprised, only in that what we saw wasn't what he saw. He did a flex test - this is where he holds a foot up for an extended period, then has the person lead the horse off at an immediate trot. He flexed all four feet, and what do you think he found?

It's Snoopy's front feet.

According to the doctor, Snoopy's showing the kind of stress on his front feet that jumpers show, from hitting the ground over jumps. This is all part of his ongoing need to compensate for a fused joint, a metal plate, and six screws. 

Anti-inflammatory drugs seem to be working. If they don't, then we'll go to injecting the hocks, then who knows? We're also going to talk to the farrier to see if there's anything we could do to his shoeing to help him out.

So why wasn't I detailing this excruciating process? Because Snoopy is 11 and has so far led a miraculous life. I keep telling myself that every day with him is a blessing, but the truth is, I want the blessings to continue. I want him to be the same horse he was last year, when I took him to shows and participated in the three-day trail challenge at the Pink Show.

I don't want him to show any signs of age, because I suspect he will not live as long as most horses.

The result is that I stayed under the radar, giving him drugs and walking him and denying that perhaps there are changes in his body that we have to adjust to, and some of those changes may mean the end of his riding and showing career.

We are taking him to his first show this weekend. It will be fairly low key, as he and I are both out of shape, and plan to just have fun and see what we can still do. If it works out, we will plan for the one in April.

One day at a time, one blessing at a time.