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A Bump In The Road

Scottie has suffered a set back

Scottie has been looking and feeling incredible, especially since his steroid injection. Every ride has felt better than the last. He is working over his back and pushing from behind. We have cantered, getting both canter leads, and we have done a bit of pole work. Everyone has said how good he has looked, the best he has ever looked.

Unfortunately, we have hit a bit of a bump in the road. If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, then you might have already seen a bit about this. But on Saturday (14th May) I rode in the morning and wasn’t sure he was quite right. He can be a bit bridle lame when he is behind the leg, pushing him forward usually stops this. But it didn’t feel like this. Luckily there were people on the yard to be a pair of eyes on the ground to see exactly what he was doing. They confirmed what I thought in that he was lame, most likely in his front right. They took a video for me so I could see exactly what he looked like.

I got off and had a quick look at him on the lunge so I had a good idea in my head as to what he looked like, so I could assess him going forwards. He wasn’t awful, but he was definitely lame and on a hard circle he was the worst he had been in a long time. There was no heat, no swelling, no signs of an injury. So I am fairly confident it is his loss of use injury. We know he will always have an issue there and the occasional flare up. But it has been so long since we had a flare up, (October 2020 to be precise) that it does seem strange and I want to try and get to the bottom of what caused the flare up.

I racked my brains for things what had changed. I hadn’t upped the workload, if anything he has had a quiet few weeks as I had been quite busy with work. We have dropped down from exercising 3-4 times a week to 1-2 times. Because of this, I have also dropped down the amount of trotting, spending more time in walk and no cantering. So it’s not like he has been pushed too far. He might have done something silly in the field, but he ALWAYS is silly in the field and isn’t one to come in sore.

I came up with that it could be Devil’s Claw. I started feeding Scottie Devil’s Claw at least a year ago, I think longer when I was looking for ways to keep Scottie comfortable without bute. It was cheap to feed and I didn’t think it would have a negative impact on him at all. Once Scottie got his arthritis diagnosis, he went onto a new joint supplement and I didn’t think he needed that and Devil’s Claw. So I didn’t buy more once it ran out. So Scottie has probably been off Devil’s Claw for roughly a month. I thought this could be a possible reason why he has gone lame, maybe it was helping to keep him comfortable. I decided to buy some more and see how we got on, afterall it is so cheap to feed!

On Wednesday (18th May) I popped him on the lunge again. I wasn’t expecting to see a miracle cure, but I wanted to see how he was looking. I was really disappointed to see that he looked worse. This instantly got me thinking again as to what was happening. If it was just Devil’s Claw I wouldn’t expect him to be worse.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought that the previous week (7th May) he hadn’t felt as good as he had been. He hadn’t felt lame. Just not quite as strong as he had been. I thought that this could have been the start of whatever the problem was.

I went back through my camera roll, luckily being horsey we document so much! I found a video from 27th April of him lunging in his pessoa. He looked incredible. Really strong and fluid, the horse he has been recently. So I have a rough window of the 27th April to 7th May for something to have happened.

Scottie looking good on the 27th April

Unfortunately, I only remember exercising him once during this time. On the 30th we did some polework, just walking and trotting over a few different pole combinations. He felt a bit tentative over the poles (what is normal for him) but felt pretty good when we weren’t going over the poles. I can’t think there was anything in this session to have caused him to strain his injury. Especially not when over the last year we have cantered, trotted 10m circles long reining, cantered large circles, lunged and long reined over poles. All of which he had coped well with. I think it would be very unlucky for this polework session to be the cause of it all!

The only other thing I can think of (other than him just being silly in the field) is that he was shod during this period. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me. He was shod on the 6th May. I think I remember thinking he was maybe a bit footsore – but I might just be imagining it looking back. But riding on the 7th the next day was the first time I thought he didn’t feel himself.

While I don’t think it is to do with being a bit sore after shoeing as that should get better with time, rather than worse, I wonder if something this time round has changed the angle of his foot slightly and caused a bit too much strain on his injury. I’ve had a quick chat with the farrier and he is going to come out as soon as he can to come and have a look at him.

In an ideal world, he would take the shoe & pad off and find something obvious like the shoe had twisted or something. But in reality, I think it will be a case of not seeing anything and instead doing something different with his hoof angle. Where the injury is, we know that the angle can increase or decrease the strain on this injury. So it might just be the current shoe and pad isn’t giving him the support he needs. This might also explain why he is getting slightly worse with time.

Obviously if we don’t see any sort of improvement or he continues to get worse, I will have to investigate further. But currently, I know if I got the vet out, they would say he’s lame and it’s most likely the same injury in the hoof. I can’t really afford another MRI to check how the actual injury is doing. So realistically all we can do is x-ray to check there’s nothing else and rest.

Fingers crossed our farrier can think of something as he has just been doing so well!

Last Updated on 20/05/2022

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