Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
What a mouthful eh? I still can't pronounce it! Anyway, I'm seeking opinions. After lengthy research, including the recent $50 purchase of a horse owner's complete veterinary handbook, I have to conclude that this is what Zierra has. It is the ONLY thing description that fits her perfectly, none others even come close.
My problem is that I can't seem to find any information on actual prognosis or what modifications I should be making to my training program?
To get into the detailed story, this situation occurred last spring (year and a half ago). I didn't realize until it happened that the farrier had been screwing up Zierra's angles and lopping off her heel and leaving the toe long. When I started working her hard for endurance racing, I suddenly noticed this odd swelling from about the top of her fetlock to halfway up her cannon (back of the leg). She also developed a hard "bump" that ALMOST looks like a bowed tendon, but obviously isn't.
Zierra has never, to this day, gone lame from this. I tried giving her time off, I tried working her, and it always just seemed to come and go. I finally got fed up, and for my birthday last year, my dearest friends and family coughed up the money for me to have her ultrasounded at the best equine clinic we have in the area. They specialize in racehorses. So off we went.
The results were disappointing to say the least - the ONLY thing the vet could tell me was that it appeared she'd suffered some damage/strain to the tendon sheath but there were no tears. She informed me that if she told 95% of racehorse owners about this type of injury, they'd still race the horse (putting into perspective how mild it was). She advised that if I was willing to give her the best chances, give her the entire winter off from riding. I did.
Throughout the winter, I noticed zero change. She'd be fine for a week or two, and then suddenly WHAMO, the leg would swell. Within a day or two, it would be back to normal. On her advice, I started riding Zierra again lightly this spring. I've been petrified to do virtually anything with her because I'm terrified the leg will bow. Nothing has changed - in fact, after a workout, the leg actually gets BETTER. I can only account this to it being a fluid buildup and the circulation of exercise making it smooth out. If I work her hard, she'll usually have some swelling the next day but it goes away within 24 hours and also clears up if I ride her again.
This summer, I finally got tired of being scared and decided it was do or die - I was entering her into the gymkhana event. Maybe it sounds bad, but I needed to know - if she didn't hold up, I'd know I had to turn her into a pasture pet and stop playing this cat and mouse game. She did 100% fine. No lameness, no lack of energy, nothing to indicate a single thing wrong. After the event, the leg was quite swollen, but again, within 24 hours it was gone again.
SO - if you've read this novel, kudos to you! I'm wondering if ANYONE else has dealt with this? I've spent the summer jumping her, training her, and even finally did a few gallops with her which I haven't done since it happened. She's been fine.
Should I be worried? Is this just going to be a lifetime thing? Will she eventually blow the leg? Can I look into some light endurance riding with her? Everything I've read about this "condition" seems to just indicate to fluid build up in the sheath for whatever reason. In acute forms, it causes severe lamness and pain. This form of it is, as the title suggests, more of a bother then anything.
To compare it to something, it ALMOST sounds like wind puffs (which is a form of this condition, along with thoroughpin and bog spavin). But wind puffs seem to concentrate more in the fetlock, whereas this is more the back of the front leg.
Any opinions or advice would be great. I just need to know what to expect, or how this condition usually plays out. Thanks!
I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.