Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
How to Proceed?
When I bought my horse, Casper, almost a year ago, he had DJD in his front right leg (and I don't remember exactly where but I THINK it was around the pasterns) and had gotten his very first injection. He jumped soundly, did flying lead changes, everything, and the vet check went fine, although he had flexions of 1 in his right front and hind hock. He's 12, and the vet said the hock wasn't abnormal for jumping horses. I bought him, and I probably shouldn't have.
Got him home and things went downhill from there. I always had an inkling that there was something going on, but my instructor just thought he was doing the whole "new owner, I'm gonna test you" routine. Casper started getting sticky on his right lead and wouldn't pick it up, wouldn't do flying lead changes, bucked at the canter, and he cut corners, and he started ducking out of jumps - 99% of the time to the left. But my instructor didn't see any lameness in his workouts. He had jumped 3' 3" at least in his old home, although he was regularly schooled at 2' 6", and he would not jump 3 foot fences after a while at home.
Closer to the summer, I took Casper on a trail ride. It wasn't very rigorous, but there was some hill work. The next day, he came up stiff and sore. My instructor said it was his left stifle.
During the summer, it was hard to get Casper into a forward moving canter. He would almost do 4 beat unless you really got after him. He ducked out twice at a show and got me off both times.
This fall, we used Casper for some trail riding. He would constantly fuss on the trails, and this was my wake up call that something was up. He wanted to run up and down hills, he would balk randomly and then rear up when asked to go forward, and he wouldn't load in the trailer like normal.
Took him to the vet and he's got sore hocks. He was uncomfortable even when he was only moderately flexed and went off lame. Also, when I lunge him, he's short on that right front. The vet told me to Bute him 4 grams a day for 5 days and start working him on the 3rd and continue until 2 days after I stopped the Bute to see if the Bute worked for him. He also said Casper would need to have both hocks injected and his right front as well. His right front seemed to wear off awful fast, and it was only his first injection. The vet said that the hock injections would help and I could still show him. These are my questions for you:
1. How should I proceed in the vet work? I have not done the Bute thing yet basically because I can't ride consistently for 5 days in a row, and I don't have an indoor to ride in if the weather gets bad. Would it be beneficial to get x-rays of his hocks and right front? Any other suggestions?
2. Is it really ethical to keep on working him as a lower level hunter with these issues? He's only 12, and I don't know if I want to ask a horse with all these problems to do this work.
I feel really bad because I always listened to everyone around me who said that he was fine and just testing me. Should have followed my gut, but I trusted the guidance of my instructor, who by the way, does not train me any longer.