Broken Ponys

I have no idea what happened,  but both Ava and Joy went lame within days of each other.

The real reason is because I had an event I wanted to take one of them to this coming Saturday. I was really excited about it too. Like, extremely.

Since I didn’t care which mare to take, they obviously both had to go lame. Spoiling the owners fun would’t work unless they successfully went lame in tandem.

Farrier suspects abscess in Joy,  but couldn’t find any pockets.  He wasn’t sure with Ava.

Actually, my big fear was laminitis again.  I don’t think it is though.  Both mares are lacking the heat,  pulses,  etc. Appears to be only one foot in both.  And they had no issues holding either hoof up for farrier on hard concrete.  So,  I think, knock on wood,  that it’s not the dreaded L word.

Ava however is feeling frisky enough to set up a barrage of kicking at the wall. She’s obviously mortally wounded and at deaths door.

Farrier packed Joy’s hoof with drawing salve last Friday. I didn’t see any difference in the hoof/dressing a couple days later, but she’s moving around better. Not totally sound, but not three legged lame either.

Edit to Add: I let both mares out in the pasture last night.  Ava drops,  rolls,  gets up and pushes off into a gallop,  farts,  aims a big buck right at me,  and immediately crashes flat on her side. 😂 She jumps back up,  shakes the dust off,  and casually strolls out toward the field like she meant that.  I might have been more empathetic toward the fall if she hadn’t been aiming her hind feet at me when she lost her balance.  Little snot.  Apparently no harm done.  A minor ding to her massive ego.  😁

Did I link my last video of Joy (for those of you not subscribed on youtube)? If not, here it is:

I have bending issues to the left on both my horses. I’m 99% sure it’s me, but STILL not sure how to fix it.  Example: the walk pirouette left.. had a really hard time wrapping her around my left leg (didn’t really accomplish it).

Ava Update – After the vet appt

Last Wednesday the 22nd I took Ava to the vets for a full lamness exam:

The vet was very thorough. He hooked Ava up to a bunch of sensors to measure head bobbing, and measure the force of push off and force of landing of hind hooves. Then he had his assistant trot Ava up and down the parking lot a few times to get a baseline reading. He did flexion tests and again trotted Ava up and down the parking lot. Then had her trot in a small circle on the pavement, and in deep sand. A few other tests on different surfaces. The sensors showed their was a big variation between left and right hind forces in the stride.

So then he did ultrasound on the suspensory ligaments. He said they weren’t smooth, but it could be nothing and suggested nerve blocking to rule suspensory ligament injury out. He did two types of nerve blocks on her suspensory ligaments (below the hock). There was no change in lamness. 

He still had the sensors hooked up so we could see the graph of abnormality of her gait. And nothing changed after the block. 

He did ultrasounds and xrays of her hocks. He said they looked good, with no real signs of arthritis. There were thinning of the spaces between the bone but no arthritic changes. Then he did a nerve block on her hock. And he retested using the sensors for change in gait. He said normally once the hock is nerve blocked it’s like night and day if it’s arthritis in the hock. There were no changes in the degree of lamness.

So he did an ultrasound and numerous xrays of the stifle. He said the Intracondylar fossa(?) didn’t appear to look correct, not how he expected it to look. It’s a small hole in the middle of the stifle and should show up as a dark hole. Hers had some grayish spots on the edges. He sent the xrays to an equine surgeon at MSU to get their opinion. 

He did a nerve block on Ava’s stifle and her lamness decreased drastically. She was almost sound at that point. 
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We then waited another 10 minutes and redid the trot test and she looked sound to me. The sensors said it was almost equal between to two hind legs (the differences was barely registered by the sensors).

He said it doesn’t appear to be arthritis in the stifle either. That other than that spot everything looked great. No lesions, no cysts, no bone changes from arthritis.

So… I waited on the MSU guy to get back with my vet. Waited… waited… I started calling the vet the following Monday, and Tuesday, and finally got to talk to my vet a week after the exam.

The MSU vet said some the xrays were inconclusive. There may, or may not, be a cranial meniscal tear. The next step is having the stifle scoped. My vet said he would’ve expected the pouches in the stifle to be distended if it were a tear, but it may have been long enough after the injury for them to have gone down. He did say he didn’t believe it was a torn cruciate ligament – which would’ve taken forever to heal.

When he blocked the stifle he blocked the 2 joint pouches (outside and knee cap). I wasn’t sure what that actually meant though.

Here’s my main issue right now… other than putting Ava on stall rest for 30 days I have NO IDEA what she needs in order to heal. The vet won’t give me a plan of action without a definite diagnosis and it’s going to be a bit before I can get Ava scoped (if I do it).

I don’t know about doing the scope. On the one hand, I want to know what’s wrong. On the other, I’ve already got $900 into getting this diagnosed… are they really going to have anything else to offer in the way of fixing this other than rest? I don’t know.

Any suggestions? I’ve never dealt with a stifle injury before. What do I do?

Things are looking up!

The last two days Ava has been moving great. No sign of lameness that I can see. She’s still slightly swollen in the left pastern area, which concerns me, but the vet said he didn’t think it was a big deal.

All in all, this little issue cost me $530 ($130 was a loan from the parents). There goes the new winter riding coat I was eyeballing. That also pretty much devastated all of the food money too. Thank goodness this injury wasn’t worse. The treatments for tendon injuries cost more for each treatment than our mortgage payment costs.

Anyway, I think, I hope, Ava and I will be back into regular training in another couple of weeks (if all goes well).

I’m so excited! Yay!

Doh, Lame!

I had a great lesson on Tuesday. It was our first lesson in 3 months and I was so nervous. But the lesson went great. Bern seemed happy with our progress (at least we didn’t lose too much ground during the hiatus).

I’m not a big fan of flying solo with dressage. Mostly because I like that my trainer really challenges me, makes me think about what is working or not, and guides me on how to fix it. Without that, I tend to get stuck in ruts, frustrated, or bored.


So the lesson went great, and Wednesday evening I get to the barn rip roaring to work on what we learned the day before and….. Ava’s lame.

Thursday she’s still lame, although using it a little better. There’s no heat, no cuts or scrapes, just swollen and obviously painful to her. She puts weight on it, but is gimpy with it.


Today is Friday… And I’m hoping, without much optimism, that she’s made a speedy recovery over night.

I had just started planning out our goals for the 2012 show season. Getting all excited because I think, with hard work, we can be quite competitive at second level next summer. Then this happens… I feel like I jinxed myself.

I’m going to the barn this evening to check on Ava. Wish me good fortune and a speedy recovery.