The local unaffiliated Retraining of Racehorses dressage league 2023 was complete for the year and, after not having the best final day, the overall year had been incredible for Mister. I started the year in March with a very green, very wobbly, but very willing horse who could do a decent Intro and just about scrape through a Prelim test. Just a month later, he was ready to drop the Intro, as he was holding consistent mid 60+ scores. By August, he was just starting to pick up some medium work, and have a go at a few Novices, still hitting the 60s!
I was so ready to affiliate him at this point, but I decided to finish the league we were doing so well in and give him some downtime. We had worked so hard this year, and I wanted to do some late winter dressage to get qualified for the British Dressage Associate Championships and Area Festivals that I sadly missed this year due to Ben’s eyesight. The awards for the league are on 2nd December and I am so excited to see where we placed in the league. For this horse’s first year in retraining from the track, I could not have asked for a better pupil, who has tried his absolute hardest for me. However, his absolutely lovely character might just be his biggest flaw!
After not doing great in the last dressage test of the season, I realised something was wrong, and Mister was lame! I gave him a few days off and when I rode him again it was really noticeable, but I just couldn’t place exactly what was wrong, so I booked a full lameness work up at the vets. Unfortunately, I do not have any level, smooth, hard ground at home, so it was really difficult to determine exactly what was wrong, and I needed a professional eye.
As soon as he trotted up in front of the vets it was obvious it was really serious in his near hind leg. We nerve blocked from the foot upwards, and as soon as the suspensory ligament was blocked he was sound. This was the moment my heart broke into a thousand pieces and one of the worst injuries any owner wants to hear about! To make it even worse, after the area was blocked, he went lame on the near fore leg as well. Was there another injury? We decided to scan the back to see what we were dealing with, and the damage was detrimental and even outside of the scope of my vets. This is not an injury that will heal with time, or even cheaper alternative measures; this will only heal, “maybe”, with surgery.
I am currently waiting for the local equine hospital to contact me once they have reviewed the scans to discuss possible options, but the sad truth is, even if there are any options, they are likely thousands of pounds out of my price range, with an enormous risk (because horses aren’t that sensible) while rehabilitating, and I also have to consider that the original lameness work-up highlighted other lameness too.
With reference to my earlier comment about Mister being just the nicest character, the vets think this injury has got worse over a prolonged period of time (mum guilt!) due to Mister not showing any clear signs or changes in behaviour to tell me something was wrong and carrying on like an absolute trooper!
Who knows what December will bring… and I am not even sure I want to know!