In the past few days, a few fairly difficult decisions have fallen on us to be made. When talking about your horse, who is your life and soul, and having to seriously discuss whether they will be able to come back into any form of ridden work ever, as well as whether it is fair to put them through the pain and recovery of two operations (as well as the risks of general anesthesia) and months of rehabilitation simply to be a happy hacker and potentially an occasional light, local show, isn’t easy.
We were due to pick Freddie up on saturday, however a spanner was very much launched into the works.
Over the week since I last put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard…) the brilliant vets at Leahurst Equine Hospital have done what seems to be every scan, test and X-Ray under the sun. They’ve found yet more about the grey beastie, including that he has quite a large problem with his suspensory ligaments. For any horse owner, hearing the words is quite frightening as the Suspensories are incredibly important. As well as this, they’ve found a section in his back – just before the lumbar vertebrae – of kissing spine. Again, another moment of ‘Well crap’.
The kissing spine clicked into place with his ‘quirks’ that have developed over the past couple of years. Freddie will not be ridden bareback. On the occasions I have tried, he has thrown me clear. Anyone other than me who rides him, also gets thrown off. I do not, because I am fairly small (bloody midget more like) and therefore don’t have the weight at the very back of the saddle. This means I don’t put enough weight on to cause dramatic pain, until recently with his flare up. Anyone else who has tried to ride him in the last 18 months has either been taken off with or thrown off. All these people have been either a lot taller or a lot heavier than myself, meaning when they sit back into the saddle, it presses onto the sore spot and causes a lot of pain through his back. It’s made it abundantly clear that horses only do things for a reason. Of course, we already knew that, but even things that are small enough to be put down as ‘quirks’ are caused by something. It’s made me more aware for sure.
After two and a half years of blood sweat and tears, my poor sausage of a pony will not have the career I had dreamed of for him. Something had to be done, unless we were to retire him to grass completely now which I don’t feel is fair, he needed something doing. These ‘somethings’ turned out to be an op on his kissing spine, and one on his hind legs to correct/help-with the PSD. PSD is Proximal Suspensory Desmitis, or Upper Suspensory Inflammation. This – in short – means his suspensory ligaments are incredibly inflamed and effectively getting ‘stuck’. Sounds pretty damn painful to me.
Yesterday we went up to the vets to visit our patient. He was quite happily munching away in a barn with other horses for company. His next door neighbour is a gelding called Bruce. He looks perfectly content eating, which wasn’t surprising. He looks a little like a patchwork quilt, due to having to have the back of his hind legs clipped for the scans, as well as a big patch on his neck and a line across his spine. I didn’t tell him how silly he looked through fear of embarrassing the poorly boy. Here’s a picture of said legs.
After some attention and a carrot (think he preferred the carrot), we had to head back home. We are due to ring the insurance company this morning – who we’ve been with for years and have always been brilliant – to confirm everything and keep them up to date on the proceedings because as much as it sounds questionable to say, we are very reliant on the insurance companies help as horses are bloody expensive animals to treat! You other horse owners will understand what I mean by the importance of good insurance.
All being well, Freddie goes in for his first op tomorrow, on his hind legs. When discussing it with the surgeon, he had to remind us of the dangers of general anesthesia and how on occasion when the come round, being horses & flight animals they can panic and end up breaking a leg, but these cases are rare and he is obliged to tell us.
After this, he asked me how I think Freddie would take to being roped (they have a rope on their head and one tied to their tail to help stabilize them when they are coming round and standing up) when he is coming round as – wait for it – “He’s quite…. special”
Yes, the vet described my horse as ‘special’. Honestly, I can’t disagree.
Following the (hopefully) success of his ops, it’s going to be a long road to recovery including a fair amount of rehabilitation. I’m going to document his journey on here, in ‘The Freddie Diaries’.
Apparently he’s been a good lad, aside from showing his usual stubbornness and refusing to walk through the doorway into the room for his scans.
This time, keep him in your thoughts for tomorrow! Vets can do wonderful things nowadays, and I’m using that to keep my worrying as limited as possible.
Tatty Bye x