Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rehab Dropout

I went into Candy's rehab process with an open mind, but I always knew it wouldn't end well. I harbored a little hope every time the vet commented how great he looked and how well he was moving, but I was very realistic. Yesterday, he was the most lame he's been in a while; still very happy to move forward, thrilled to be back in regular work, which is what really broke my heart (again) when I noticed his slight head bob at the trot. Yep- it was the left hock, the arthritic hock.

I told my parents back in May- "I'm going to try to rehab him, and go as far as I can, but if something happens: ulcers, another soft tissue injury, or his arthritis flares up, I'm done trying to get him sound." Yesterday- I went as far as we could go. There was no soft tissue swelling, no heat, so I knew his lameness was from the hock. When I called my mom, it was the first time she said, "I'm so sorry. I knew you did everything you could." and not, "Well, what else can you do? Can you keep trying?"

Hindsight is 20/20- I could have taken better care of his joints, could have been more pro-active with joint supplements and injections, could have not jumped the crap out of him as a teenager, but none of his lameness is due to negligence or lack of caring. I cared about his joints as much as my knowledge allowed me to. Arthritis is one of those insidious diseases that if you can't get ahead of it, there's no maintaining it, no mollifying it, and I never got ahead. It only gets worse- never better.

I always give Candy 100% and in return, he tries his heart out for me. I know he would continue to work through the pain, but as a horsewoman, I can't ask that of him. I'm not sure what the near future holds for Candy and I, but he has his forever home with me, and I know the distant future holds a very happy retirement for (hopefully) many years. As much as I wish he was the type of horse I could hop on once a week and trail ride, I know that's not the case. I'm probably going to keep riding him lightly until my project horse or next lease comes into my life, but there's no pressure, just enjoying his company.

You can see the short left hind just a touch.

Still my favorite view!

In the meantime, I am lessoning ; it's a frustrating process because I'm competing with horse-less teenage girls for horses to ride, and obviously, they have priority. I'm not frustrated out of jealousy/bitterness way; they need the experiences more than I do, and I have a horse of my own. It just makes lessons and showing tricky with several girls competing for 2 horses; with my schedule, I get last pick of lesson times/horses. I don't mind though- it's still time in the saddle, and I am learning and improving every lesson-which is what matters.

The future is hazy right now, but I'm optimistic- the right horse always finds me at the right time.

-K & C

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