I couldn't be there, but I had a long chat with Ben afterwards and it all sounds really positive. He watched Echo trot up, lunge, did flexion tests and did loads of manipulation on her back and said that she is 100% sound and looks the best he's ever seen her. He said he really put her through her paces but couldn't see anything that he could pick up on - he said if he looked at her for the first time, he would say she was sound. Which is fantastic. It really is. But at the same time, she is consistently getting sore in that one area and I was really hoping that we could do something to eliminate this so we can get on with getting her to full fitness. Luckily, Ben thought that it was worth medicating the lumbar thoracic junction where she is getting the pain, although he didn't inject the sacroiliac as he said that he couldn't get any kind of pain reaction from this area at all. He said to keep an eye on it and we'll see whether the pain further forward is a result of the sacroiliac or whether it's just a tricky area that she finds it difficult to mobilise.
The only thing I had thought is that watching her from behind on the video my boyfriend took on our hack, I noticed just how close together her hind legs are at the bottom when she moves. She's always brushed a bit behind, but watching videos of her when she was sound before, her hock action was much straighter. I had wondered whether this was something to do with some sacroiliac pain. Ben said that was unlikely and could well be a way she has developed over a prolonged period of suspensory pain - a way of compensating for the pain. Another reason for me to feel guilty for not realising what was wrong earlier. But he said we probably can't do much to change that (it was also probably the reason her feet wore down on the outsides) and we should just work to get her stronger.
So she has a couple of days off, then the rest of the week just walking, then hopefully, provided she isn't too sore from the medication, she should be able to pick up the work again. I've sold my old saddle, so as soon as she's back in work again, we will sort out getting her a new one specially made for her. I WILL get a saddle to fit my horse! From then, we will get her home at the end of July and start to have some fun! Long term, both the vet and Jo Spear - the Animal Health Trust physio - have advised that we do very little work on a surface, only using a surface when we want to compete. Ella suggested I look for affiliated dressage shows that are on grass rather than on a surface - or at least where the warm up is on grass. The more hacking I do, the happier I get with this situation - I am just loving riding my horse again, so if we can't do much dressage that really is fine. We will do some pleasure rides - maybe even some Le Trec and just have a lot of fun. I need to start to contain and limit her movement to keep her sound, so this sort of thing will be great. I think if I did too much schooling, the perfectionist in me would want to push for more.
So I'm seeing her on Saturday but she probably won't be up to being ridden yet by then. Annoyingly I am away next weekend so it will be a while before I get to ride her now...but hopefully she will be back in proper work and feeling good by then. I can't wait to get her home in the summer!