Posted by: shannonc | May 4, 2009

Cross your feets

Mixed update today.  First, Mystical Photography and EqPhoto caught the pony looking lovely at Groton Pony Club!

Kisses earning a 9 on his trot circle!

Kisses earning a 9 on his trot circle!

I love his little ears.  He is trying so hard to pay attention!  On the other side of the chain, horses were xc schooling, so I think he did quite a nice job of focusing.

And here he is finishing stadium:

Phew!  I was good!

Phew! I was good!

As for the Pippermint, he’s been on hiatus the past month.  After my last couple of very difficult rides, I decided to regroup.  Several factors were involved:

  1. It was nearly impossible to engineer even a short positive experience on the longe or under saddle, because the very first thing he does is act up. 
  2. A few people who reviewed the videos expressed concern that he doesn’t look completely sound in them behind.
  3. I was waiting for release on the radiographs so I could have my vet review them and my love for the horse was getting a bit ahead of itself in the meantime.
  4. The acting up appeared to me to be much more worry than naughtiness, yet I was bending over backward not to worry him.  Walking on a long rein shouldn’t produce that much worry.  I wondered if he was trying to say there was a pain issue. 

Teeth have been done, saddles have been done, I have tried different snaffle configurations (thin, fat, loose ring, D ring, single joint, double joint).  So I turned to Gretchen Ham, DVM, who has developed a chiropractic specialty and who has worked extensively with OTTBs.  Pippermint’s appointment is tomorrow.  Meantime, his regular vet came out and he was extremely reactive to handling, so blood was drawn for a Lyme test.  In fact he was *so* reactive to handling that the vet doubted Gretchen would be able to work on him at all and I called her to discuss cancelling.  In the end we’ve decided to go ahead – it seems the Pippermint may have been having a bad day because better ones followed.  I love Gretchen’s work and her opinion will carry a lot of weight with me.  Or maybe I am just hell bent on spending money on this horse I don’t own!

It would be a huge relief to find that there is some reason for Pip’s lack of rideability.  He’s such a sweet, easygoing, smart, and otherwise *trying* horse (I mean that in a good way) that his behavior just utterly fails to make sense.

The release came through for radiograph review and my vet just called me today after she took a look at his films.  She has known me for upwards of 10 years and has been with me since before even Blue (there was another horse back there, but we don’t like to talk about him.  He was the Evil One).  She knows that I don’t demand perfection and will take a chance – I bought Blue with a drain in his hock.  But she also knows there are two important elements to factor in when giving an opinion on a new potential partner:  one, my goal for the new horse would be to get back to Prelim.  In good time, but all the same.  Two, my intention is to give the horse a forever home.  I’m not looking for a resale project (I have one of those…anyone know a really good kid who needs a cool pony?  ;)).

Bearing this in mind, she has some reservations.  There are two sets of films and in both the fracture is very evident.  In the second set, she said the edges are not as sharp, but it is clear that the injury will never heal as a bony repair, it will be “fibrous union” (cartilage) only.  This is unsurprising for a sesamoid break, but is a concern.  Also of concern is whether the suspensory has been at all affected.  Hurt suspensories plus jumping horses = not a good combination.

At a minimum she recommends that if I decide to proceed, we find someone very, very good at ultrasound, probably at Tufts or Rochester, to take a look.  This makes sense.  But unfortunately the picture that’s starting to form is not an overwhelmingly promising one.  Wonderful, rideable, sound 4-year old with old broken hind sesamoid that needs careful risk assessment?  Okay, maybe.  16-plus hands of possibly unsound 4-year old who isn’t showing signs of wanting to stop stuffing his ears in my face?  Hmmm.  The latter perspective has generated a few emails from my friends saying I’m nuts.  Then again – we knew that already!

So I’m looking forward to talking with Gretchen tomorrow.  If she finds something wrong that’s good.  If she thinks he’s lame now, and it’s not due to something she finds, that’s not good.  If his bloodwork comes back with astronomical Lyme antigen, that’s also good.  Taking myself out of the picture, no matter what, all this work is for the good of the horse.  That seems sort of like a win-win, right?



  1. :)

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