It's been a little while since I posted but things are going so well. Last weekend was a bank holiday and I managed to ride Echo two days in a row which was really nice- it was warm and sunny and we went for some lovely long trots and she felt strong and fit. She's still doing all road work but Tammy is now starting to use one of her big fields and can vary the surface a bit more.
We had had a bit of a weird experience the previous weekend where Echo had a massive strop in the school with me. We thought we would take her in there first then go out for a hack, but she was so odd. She stopped dead and refused to move- I managed to get her walking but as soon as I asked for trot she threw her head up and stopped again. This really worried me, as it's what she used to do when her saddle didn't fit- but we'd only just had the saddle refitted and Tammy said it was sitting straighter than ever.
We took her out of the school for a hack - to see if it was just a school thing - and she felt fine. She was very feisty and spooky, and when I asked for trot she almost cantered the first time, then struck out with her front leg the second time. But she trotted happily and was very forward...so we took her back in the school when we got back and she did the same thing again! Tammy got on, to see how she felt and she was a bit enter, but when Tammy asked her to trot she went into canter and bucked all the way down the long side! I couldn't believe it- she's never done that!
Once she had got a decent trot we stopped. Although considering that was my only ride of the week, it was a bit rubbish! Tammy rode her the next day and she was fine and she continued to be good all week. I can only think that as it was quite late in the evening and she had already had her tea, she thought it was bedtime and wasn't impressed about having to work. The other possibility is that she has been doing quite a lot of school work to build up her balance and flexibility, which might have made her a bit stale.
So last weekend we just hacked, as Tammy had all week, and she was brilliant. It was lovely to spend a bit of time at the yard- I washed her off and she stood in the sun drying with her equilibrium pad on while I tidied up her feathers and made her look pretty. It was like having a horse again!
This week, the vet came to reassess her and although I couldn't be there, I've talked to him at length about what he saw. He was really pleased with how sound she is, considering how much work she is now in. He said she's much more evenly muscled and the movement looks good. However, he's concerned that we're still getting soreness in her back and that she sometimes drags her offside hind in trot a little. The back soreness builds up in the two weeks between physio visits. It's not terrible, but she starts banana-ing a little and falling out through the left shoulder, and the toe drag gets worse. He would now like to medicate the sacroiliac and lumbar spine to see if that makes a difference. He didn't get much reaction when putting pressure on the sacroiliac but he said that the structures are often so deep that you can't feel them. He's thinking that if we inject anti-inflammatory steroid into it, she might get considerably better, so it would effectively be diagnosing it.
He does, however, want to wait 6 weeks and build up the canter work so that she is in full work before we do anything. I think it's designed to see how she stands up to the canter work - it may make her more comfortable, to start cantering and doing hill work. Tammy, however, is concerned that we will hurt her by building up the work and if he thinks there's a problem, we should medicate now. I'm...not sure. I think we'll compromise- start cantering for a couple of weeks and see how the physio thinks she feels after that two week period. If she's more sore, perhaps we'll medicate then. I am a little frustrated, as I told the vet initially that I thought the problem could be higher up and he said it was very unlikely. Obviously her suspensories did need operating on, as they were fraying, but I hope we haven't been making her sore when the problem was there all along. Ella- the physio- said that there are a lot of studies going on about the connection between hind limb injuries and back pain and that it's almost impossible to work out which came first.
So we are continuing as we are for a few weeks, building in canter and hill work to really get some strength. Today, there was a truck with a cherry-picker doing work on overhead cables in the middle of our usual route out of the yard, so we had to go a different way, down a long hill and past fields of horses, sheep and alpacas - and she was brilliant. I think it was the first time she'd been that way, as she was quite 'snorty' but she seemed to really enjoy going a different way: she was forward and happy and didn't spook at all. She found coming up the hill quite tiring, so I only did a couple of short trots- partly for that reason and partly because she felt a bit funny on her near fore in trot. When we got back, we found she had a foot full of stones- no wonder she felt funny!
She was really affectionate this morning- she's never grumpy, but she isn't always really cuddly- there are days when I think she could take me or leave me! But today she want to nuzzle my shoulder and chin- when I was doing her stretches she wanted to rest her chin against my cheek- it was very sweet. This is not a great photo, but I wanted to show the cuddly mood she was in.
Hopefully, next week when I ride her, I'll be able to go for a canter- how exciting!!