Well, while the injections seemed to help considerably when I free lunged Copper in the barn, when you put him on a tighter circle there doesn’t seem to be as much of an improvement. Honestly I haven’t checked since Thursday to see if he’s less lame.
On Wednesday I rode him in the barn and he was fine going clockwise, but going counter clockwise, the old issue resurfaced when trotting. Of course, this is the direction that literally every horse feels off to me when trotting. My first horse had arthritis in his hind end significantly enough that he literally wouldn’t allow me to post on the right diagonal, but he wasn’t lame. So since Logan wouldn’t allow me to post on the right diagonal for most of my formative years, I can a) feel my diagonals super well now and b) project lameness on all horses at the trot going counter clockwise. It’s charming. (But really…Logan was the best. This was literally our only issue. He was legendary enough that I’ve added his name to the short list of barn name possibilities for TaterTot should I be lucky enough the baby is born male.)
So I was pretty disheartened on Wednesday night. Riding Copper after riding Paige is akin to swapping out your perfectly comfortable and fun Jeep for a silky smooth and sensitive ride in a sports car. Only my sports car is not as smooth as he once was, especially when asked to move out. I’ll give him kudos though, he was willing to give me whatever I asked for in spite of the gimpiness, which isn’t surprising considering our rides earlier this year were similar.
On Thursday I was still not thrilled with how he looked, though he didn’t look any worse after Wednesdays ride. In an effort to not break him further, I just hacked him around the field at a walk to see how he felt. Most of the time he was very forward and we trucked around on the buckle nicely, but the last half of the ride I found myself dragging his head from between his knees while he played with the bit (I think he was bored…). Of course, this made me nervous because he is capable of bucking like a fiend and his head being that low is very conducive to said bucking. Rational Sarah realizes that he was just bored and not sure why we were just wandering around aimlessly (he is used to having a task when ridden outdoors because of said bucking…), but paranoid skeered Sarah thought the end was nigh, so I asked him to bring his head up and walk in some sort of frame for the last few minutes we were out there. He still played with the bit some, but was otherwise more focused. He did take a few weak/off steps when walking uphill, but not often, and possibly because he wasn’t thinking about his feet when power walking around.
My main bit of paranoia regarding hock injections was that it just plain wouldn’t work and he’d still be lame and without direction. I remain confident that the lameness stems from his curb, so I don’t know what else can be done really. I guess I’ll ask my vet, but I honestly need to focus on paying off my vet bill before I add more to it. Copper is reliably pasture sound after injections though, so I don’t feel bad about leaving him without answers through winter. I kind of doubt he’ll be doing 20 meter circles in the field without me this winter, and that’s where the issues crop up.
All of this would be frustrating enough had we not been finding our way together. It may not have looked like much, but this spring/summer was the best he and I have ever worked together without him being in training with someone.
I do plan to have A watch me ride him soon to tell me if he looks as lame as he feels to me, but I’m not optimistic that things will have magically improved. I will get to use the new (to me) bridle that she gave me for helping with her training business’ social media and doing some photography work.
He was none too interested in modeling the new bridle before eating dinner. Despite how weird the reins look in this picture, they are so buttery soft compared to my hunt seat bridle. Unfortunately, it doesn’t match my saddle at all really, but I think I’m going to try to dye it a darker brown in spring. Not that it really matters…if we can’t do a sound 20 meter circle at home, it isn’t like we’ll be hauling out where anyone can see my mismatched tack.
Yes, I’m whiney that my horse is lame. I was optimistic that he and I would be able to attend a clinic somewhere this fall since we didn’t show at all this year, but a) he’s still lame and b) all my money is promised to the vet… Can it just be April so I can have my baby horse to cuddle?