Friday, July 25, 2008

No more riding.

It has been a looooong time coming, but I decided on Weds that I'm not going to be riding anymore. Some of you may know the frustrating road I've been on for the last 5 years with trying to get and keep Lester sound. Some of you may have read one of my April posts of Is he lame or is he neurologic? I'm convinced he's not just lame anymore.

Note Lester's hind legs in the pic, horses should "fix" the leg immediately and not want to stand that way. Less stays there as long as you let him.
Latest lunge video

Ive posted an IM conversation I had with a friend about simalarities she had with her late horse Devon. She and I have been chatting for over a year now and so she knows all the ups/downs we've had: (pls ignore all typos)
sara: did you go and see Less last night
Denise: yes I did
sara: how was he
Denise: bad
Denise: I really think I'm just done
Denise: he tripped 5 times at the walk
sara: :(
Denise: 3 times at the little trotting we did
Denise: and he did not want to turn right
Denise: he would, but it wasn’t easy
Denise: he'd first try and go left
Denise: I just feel like i'm riding on egg shells
sara: does he feel like he wants to explodE?
Denise: yep
Denise: not explode really, but just so on edge
Denise: and like he really can't control it
sara: oh man
sara: Could you ever give him a month off?
sara: just turn out, no riding. maybe use bute?
Denise: yeah, like I said I think i'm really done this time
Denise: I worry for mine and his safety
sara: so do you really think you're going to retire Less for good
Denise: sorry, had to get coffee
Denise: I think so
Denise: unless I decide to take him down to Auburn
Denise: but it's not fair for him
Denise: and to be honest it all makes me nervous
sara: how so?
sara: what makes you nervous about it
Denise: not sure what's going on with him
Denise: and he spooks
sara: The spookiness is the pain
sara: when they get spooky the are usually hurting somewhere, at least that's been my experience
sara: Devon was "bombproof" and he started to get down right impossible
Denise: I hear ya
Denise: I want to hear all about Devon from beginning to end
Denise: dont' leave anything out
sara: Ok, when you get back I'll tell you from how it started through the end
Denise: OK
Denise: I'm ready
sara: ok....
sara: Devon
sara: Well, every winter he'd be off--not lame but sore behind
sara: starting from about age 8
sara: and the vet woudl x-ray the hocks, they were fine, and we just thought it was a cold backed type of thing (he was raised in FL after he was imported as a 3 yr old
sara: )
sara: He'd take a few days off, come back fine--every month this would basically be his MO
sara: Summers, fine
Denise: that's weird, Less seems to be worse in the heat
Denise: but it could be just progressing...
sara: So, we started showing first level and when I started to introduce the collection--He started to swap leasd
sara: Again, had his hocked checked, they were ok but had them injected, he seemed fine
sara: then, he started to get spooky
sara: which eventually progressed into rearing
sara: So my then trainer kept saying he had a really bad attitude problem.
sara: He'd be fine one day, horrid the next--so on and so forth
sara: That winter, he was horrible. Wouldn't go forward, would back up, turn left
sara: *he was worse right as well btw*
sara: To the right he almost always reared and changed direction on me
sara: so we rested him, put him into training (was still thinking attitude, vet said the same) and in the spring we decided to take him back to the vet
sara: she lounged him, flexed him, he was slightly off in the front
sara: so we took him down to Ohio State Univeristy
sara: first impressions--Rt. knee, hocks
sara: ok, inject all that. Bring him home. He's fine for 2 wks
sara: then starts his BS all over again
sara: back to OSU--corrective shoeing
sara: That worked for a little bit, but he still wasn't right
sara: so back to OSU (oh and in the meantime, I took him to show in June, Friday he was fine, by Saturday he was so lame behind out of nowhere it was nuts) but they still said teh front impacted the hind
sara: made sense
sara: So while at OSU for the third time, the lameness guy was watching him jog on the road
sara: and said---"go and get a video camrea and call Dr. Reed" and we thought WTF is that about?
sara: Dr. Reed is their neurologist, they start watching him go and start talking to each other. They decided to do a full body
sara: His knees, hocks, neck and back light up
sara: they decide it is NOT in the leg, but in the back
sara: That was Aug. of 02
sara: By April of 02, he had literally lost all concept of where his hind end was
sara: they would pull his tail, he would almost fall over
sara: they crossed his legs, he would try and walk
sara: poked him with needles--no reaction
sara: They found an injury in his neck from when he was a foal, and given his size and age, it had just progressed tha tmuch as was putting pressure on his nerves
sara: I sent him down one more time and they called me and said it was completely hopeless
sara: he'd just get to the point where he coudln't get up anymore
sara: so I had him put down April 3rd, 2003. 1 day before his 10th Bday
Denise: :-(
sara: but when you went to turn him right, he wouldnt
Denise: sounds really familiar
sara: and he got the point where he'd literally become violent NOT to go right
Denise: that's what I'm afraid of
sara: I got on him once, and tried to turn Rt, he bucked me off into the indoor wall
sara: that was the last time I ever rode him, Jan. of 03
sara: autotopsy came back "inconclusive complication due to back injury"
sara: and if he tosses you off due to pain, he will start that habit
sara: *he MAY start that habit anyway
Denise: see, I think he's really close
Denise: to that
sara: and only you can feel that
sara: you know what it's like on his back, how he feels under you
Denise: I have felt it coming for a while now
sara: It scares me when I talk to you because it honestly makes me feel like Devon
sara: he was the SAME way
sara: eggshells
Denise: that's how I feel
Denise: I don't want to ask too much or too little
sara: I know
sara: but you can't figure out what might set him off
Denise: it's different each day
sara: yep
sara: when he spooks does he turn a certain direction?
Denise: alwys left
sara: yep him too
Denise: I mean he spooks away from things to the right if they are on his right
Denise: but when he spooks at "nothing" it's always left
Denise: there were moments yesterday that he felt so normal and perfect, I got off and cried
Denise: those moments aren't worth what might could happen
sara: I feel fo you
sara: I started to jump devon because I didn't know what else to do
sara: and he was LOVING it
sara: we had 2 month of fun, showed him over fences a little bit, thought we solved the problem
sara: it all came back
sara: I had this little glimmer of hope

sara: adn it started tha tI would have these when I rode
sara: then the next day, it'd back to hell in a hand basket

Denise: :-(
sara: he was suffering at the end. LEss isn't suffering
sara: thankfully
sara: But only you can decide what's right for you both
sara: to retire him and let him live out his days just grazing--or to try again at Auburn just to see sara: but if you feel him getting explosive or dangerous. I wouldn't ride him
Denise: yeah, he's not suffering really on his own
Denise: he does stumble some here and there, but I think for the most part he is happy
Denise: but I've noticed little things too
sara: like what
Denise: he won't stand anymore when I paint his hooves
Denise: he backs up or picks his feet up
Denise: and I get mad, before I have taught him not to move his feet when I'm at them, he knows this
Denise: so when I pull him back up (he can tell I'm pissed now) he just has a look of terror in his eyes
sara: oh my!
sara: Devon did this with grooming
Denise: he walks out of his stall funny, always
sara: he stopped standing when I brushed him
Denise: paddles the right front
sara: I hate to say this, but I just think his body is done
Denise: yepped, it's like he can't stand still that long anymore
sara: he didn't look shot on the video
sara: but perhaps it is time
sara: he might have serveral issues working against him

Denise: yep
Denise: I think he just needs to be loved
sara: and there is nothing wrong with that!
Denise: nope, I just hated the teetering
sara: Will you think about getting another later on or just stop riding all together
Denise: wondering what to do
sara: I understand, it's like--what do you do?
sara: go back and forth with yourself.
Denise: but unless I get hm fully checked out I'm done, not getting on him anymore
sara: i don't blame you
sara: I'd say, give him 2 wks full rest
sara: then decide if you go to Auburn or not
Denise: that's a good plan
sara: See where you are in 2 wks
sara: is rest helped, or hurt
sara: **if
Denise: yeah
Denise: did Devon walk out of his stall funny or walk funny on cement?
sara: yes
sara: and down hills
sara: he wobbled
Denise: same here
sara: he stumbled out of his stal
sara: l
sara: I think it's truly in the back
Denise: has to be
Denise: we've injected everything

Truth is I've become afraid to ride him. Without knowing for sure what's going on it's not fair to him and not safe.


Stephanie said...

I'm sorry about Less - please keep us updated on how he is doing...are you going to give him the two weeks or a month?

Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

Thanks stephanie, actually he has forever off now. I don't think it's fair to keep getting on him. I've been "light" riding him for years, not sure how much lighter I can go. I think it's just best I stay off him. It's OK though, I know I've made the right decision.

Laura said...

Oh - so sorry to hear that. I was hoping the farrier work and injections would help him more.


What a tough decision. Less is lucky that you are willing to make that decision and not push things.

cdncowgirl said...

Oh Denise, I'm so sorry :(

Knowing what to do in a situation like this is tricky. I think you're doing the right thing in "retiring" him. He'll live out his days fat and happy with you pouring love on him.

I do think that whenever you are ready you should continue riding. Maybe a part lease?

jesterjigger said...

I am so sorry Denise, so incredibly sorry. I went through the same heartbreak with my Jessie over the winter. I was so hoping that you would be able to beat whatever it was afflicting him. All I can offer are ((((hugs)))). I know how hard it is to make the right decision, even if a kind of peace comes with it. I don't really know what to say about riding again...if you meant ever...or just Less. I hope you didn't mean forever, but I know how hard it is to lose a horse you're so close to. Please keep us updated, and take another video or two of the tongue trick!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Sorry to hear that, but probably a wise decision. Its bad enough having a dog with a neurological deficit, but a horse is a different story especially when the horse is underneath you. You still might want to give acupuncture a try. I'm sure they do it on horses too.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sorry to hear about this, but it may be the safest thing for you not to ride him right now.

jme said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your boy's troubles. poor guy :-( it's never an easy decision to retire a horse. i'm having a similar debate with myself about one of my horses. over the last few years he has been getting progressively worse at backing up, to the point where he almost falls down sometimes. he has always had some trouble getting up and down from rolling or sleeping, so i thought at first it was just weak stifles or something. but i've had all of that checked and there's nothing.

i've treated him for epm just to be sure, and then even had the lumbar puncture done to be sure, but it wasn't epm. he's been treated several times for lyme disease (lyme seriously affected my cns and coordination, and can do the same with horses) but i see little improvement. i had a complete nuclear scan done and nothing major turned up. now i've just had a muscle biopsy done to rule out epsm (pssm), recurrent tying up and a neuromuscular condition (can't think of the name.) if we can't find a way to help him, i think he'll be looking at an early retirement too.

have you had Less checked or treated for any of these conditions? epm and lyme in particular can look like anything, are hard to test for, and can be picked up by the horses anywhere (i've even heard they might be able to pick it up in contaminated hay...) i'm completely lyme paranoid now, and since the medication is cheap, we treat whenever someone looks suspicious, just to be safe...

anyway, best of luck to you both. less is lucky to have someone who loves him so much :-)

cdncowgirl said...

The leg thing... Raincloud does that. But I'm *pretty sure* its due to laziness. I don't think a neurologically impaired horse would be able to manage running barrels!
But its a good point to make, and definitely something to take notice of.

IHateToast said...

i'm sorry. i have no clue what it is like to make that choice. i can only imagine that this hurts and is very sad for you. i know from your blog that you love lester very much. not being able to ride him has to hurt. again, i'm clueless on this topic. i'm just guessing.

the poor guy. and you, too.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I saw you yesterday and you didn't say a word. Probably because of what Jen was going through with Travis. I know this was a hard decision but,I know you are doing what is best for you both. Less is so lucky to have you for a Mom.
L, M

Maximus said...

Hugs. This was hard but I think you're doing the right thing. Just love on him and go for walks.

I hadn't hear from you in a while so I thought I'd check in. We have a similar but much worse horse at our barn.