We've had a bit of an expensive and eventful time in the last week, but we have gotten to the bottom of Aria's lameness issues as she still didn’t seem right to me and wasn’t making the recovery I would have expected. I had hoped it was muscular and had my trusted physio out, but after an initial examination and trot up it was evident it was vet territory – hurrah for insurance!
I was very lucky that the vets could fit her in quickly and they came out early Monday morning. I was petrified of what the outcome was going to be, as she appeared very lame in trot when the physio visited so, as always, I expected the worse. A thorough examination was conducted by the vet and her assistant, including walk/trot on hard ground and in the arena, followed by potential causes and suggestions of the three routes we could take. I was reluctant to try medicating her for two weeks to see if she would improve, and didn't want her stressed going for a bone scan at a location two hours away, where she would have to stay for a couple of days, unless it was completely necessary, so opted to see if we could get her hocks injected as a first port of call.
Amazingly, between the three of us, we got her sedated and the vet was able to apply nerve blocks to both hocks. Then came the waiting time…. I was very worried that the injections wouldn’t make a difference, but after the sedation started to wear off, and I was asked to walk and trot her up, it was evident they had worked! It's been determined she has hock arthritis in both hocks but, luckily, the steroid injections appear to have helped a lot. I did say to the vets that if she was to be a field ornament for the rest of her life so be it, as long as she was happy and comfortable. Their reply shocked me: give her two weeks rest, then slowly do walk exercises with her and gradually build it up. If there are no more issues, they see no reason why she can't resume work and be a happy hack! The reply didn't fully set in until I got home and told my partner how it went – there were happy, relieved tears and lots of sobs that she was still with me, and we still had a chance to progress with her.
She may be a huge pain in the rear, but I was so happy at the result, especially as in my head I had it that I may lose her. A very stressful time but, happily, she is on the mend and getting stronger each day (plus she is happy not to have her funky bandages on anymore).
Whilst Autumn has received a well-earned rest, Bob and I have been trialling a new instructor. The first lesson was good, as he had a few hissy fits and actually showed her what he was like when he has a meltdown, so at least she knew where to start, and after only two lessons he has made huge improvements. He is listening more to my seat and accepting when I tell him not to rush off with no napping. We are hoping at the next one to try a bit of jumping with him – that will give her some entertainment. Now just to find my sticky bum breeches!