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Steroids, Supplements & Scottie

Scottie looking pleased with himself after a lunge.

It’s been nearly 2 months since Scottie was diagnosed with arthritis and I am pleased to say I have seen a big improvement! He had his first steroid injection and started his new joint supplement a month ago and I think they have been the real driving force behind the improvement.

The vet said we should see an improvement after a week if we were going to see an improvement. But I saw a small improvement after a few days and after a week I was very pleased with him. One of the girls at the yard said he looks the best she has ever seen him behind. He has always been stiff through his back, but this looked to improve after having time off with his tendon injury. We have been commenting for a while now how much stronger and looser over his back he looks since. So this combined with being more comfortable behind means he really is looking much better.

He’s still not 100% though. On a circle he is still the tiniest bit unlevel in that hind leg. But he has lost quite a bit of muscle behind and he has always been a bit wonky if he isn’t in regular work. So I do wonder if this lingering unlevelness is due to weakness rather than pain or stiffness. I’m hoping to keep slowly building up the workload and see if he improves or not. But I accept that at this point in his life, this might just be him now.

Before the arthritis diagnosis, Scottie was very on his forehand, more so than normal for him. In hindsight, this was probably him trying to protect his sore hock, taking more weight in front. When the vet first saw him, he did comment that he was 1/10 lame on his loss of use leg on a right circle, I think the issues behind distracted me from seeing it as it’s only now we have treated the hindleg I was able to see it. Again, he had loss of use on this leg for being occasionally 1/10 lame on it. So I expect us to have an issue with this now and then. I also think that he might have put a bit more weight on it while he was trying to protect his hock, so I’m not too surprised he’s a bit sore on it.

I do think this has improved too since he had his steroid injection. When you watch him move on a circle, he has the occasional nod or awkward step as he adjusts how he is carrying himself. But it almost looks like he is more comfortable and is learning to move in a slightly better way. So over all, I am pretty happy with how he is looking. I do sometimes find myself obsessing about him maybe being 1/10 lame, but I have some great girls at the yard to give me a reality check.

At the end of the day, he is semi retired. Our aim is to slowly build up his workload to strengthen his body up to support himself as best he can. No one wants to ride a lame horse, or be seen to be riding a lame horse. But at this point, being in light work is better for him than not being in work at all. He is perfectly sound enough to hack and do some light schooling. I would love to get back to the point where we could do a prelim, maybe even a novice if he can cope with that level of work. But we won’t go any further than he can manage.

As long as he doesn’t get any worse, I have no problem keeping him going. Being occasionally 1/10 lame on a bend isn’t the end of the world, especially not when you are aware of it and are doing the right things to help it. I see far lamer horses out competing which always makes me feel better about how obsessive I am about Scottie’s very minor lameness.

Scottie is having his back checked again this weekend then I am going to start getting back on again. Up until now I have stuck to ground work. We have hand walked, long reined and lunged. We have even done some pole work. But he does need to work on his straightness, and I do just find that easier to correct in the saddle than on the ground. I will continue with the ground work, especially during the week. But will start riding at the weekends again all being well.

My mini goal for 2022 is to do an intro dressage test, even if it is an online test!

Last Updated on 01/03/2022

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