Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Photo dump!

Her never-ending quest to injure herself - this kept her down for a week

Her 5 acres of grassy goodness, at the bottom of a big a$$ hill.
Great for hooman and horse fitness, even when we hates the hill

Fun riding times! One of our fitness rides

Prepping for our show - with braids!
She really isn't great for braiding. Was almost for sale.

So shiny and clean, she cleans up so nicely

Time to shine! Well, in the rain anyway

We looked good even when getting wet

Walking in the trees

Oh hai human!

They are not supposed to look like this

That's not supposed to be there

Hopefully you enjoyed some media. I will try to find something more to talk about!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Then it all fell apart. Again. Pt 2

 The vet visit was frustrating. My normal vet didn't come, the other vet in the practice did. He said Mia was def lame but while she has been lame on her left front since we came home, that day she was more lame on her right front when going to the right on a lunge. To the left, her right front was sound but her left was lame. We blocked her right front and here is the rub. His notes say she blocked to 75% better. That is not the number I swear he told me. He said she was 30% better if her other foot was blocked, it would likely also be 30% better. He was convinced it was a soft tissue in her hoof, likely a Deep Digital or Superficial Digital tendon injury, but the only way to confirm would be a MRI. 

He did take a bunch of x-rays and we also found a small fracture to the inside of her left front coffin bone. He said she should be in shoes, on Equioxx, and stall rest for 3 to18 months and that was that. The surgeon he sent the x-rays to said they didn't think it was a fracture, but a calcification that just floated off and a MRI would be needed for further diagnostics.

I sent the x-rays to a podiatrist who said the fracture is actually fairly common in horses that have a clubby foot, the opposite foot loads harder and it happens. He would like to have further lameness evals before sending her for MRIs, but that would also be due to the percentage differences mentioned above. 75% better is different than 30% better after a block.

I had the new farrier out on Sept 27th and we talked about what happened, how she is doing, and what the different docs have said. The farrier did not want to put shoes on her without knowing what we are stabilizing, as supporting the different tendons would have different shoeing requirements. He studied her x-rays and gave her a very nice trim while also finding that she has very soft soles. It is super easy to depress her soles with a tool, and even a hard press via a finger. Her sole depth is good based on x-rays, but her soles are really soft.

The current plan is to stall rest her for 3 months and find a way to strengthen those soles. I am using Keratex 3 to 4 times a week for now, as I have a bottle and a half sitting around. If that doesn't do the trick, I will switch over to venice turpentine and then durasole. The thought is that perhaps she is sore because of her hooves and once we can fix that issue, I will have another lameness evaluation done. The poor mare is bored out of her mind and is not very happy that she was taken off of her 5 acres of grass, but is handling it all well. I still go out and brush her and feed her treats, so she isn't being totally ignored, but I am picking up some boredom treats this weekend too.

Fingers crossed something goes better soon. I did a very short lameness check on her last night and while she is still lame at the trot to the right, it was a very mild lameness. I didn't even try to the left. Back she goes to stall rest for a few more weeks and hopefully some rest will fix whatever she has going on. Until then, I am riding a 20yr old OTTB mare at the barn. She is quite out of shape, but is nice enough to ride and I am super thankful for the opportunity. 

As one can imagine, it is hard to come up with things to say when there are no answers and nothing is happening. One day we will be ready to kick ass again, one day.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Then it all fell apart. Again. Pt 1

The good news? Mia finished her last dose of Doxy on Aug 26th! Her final Lyme results came back as 1165 which is enough to be considered negative. WIN! It was a happy day indeed. So what else has gone on? A recap...

I had the USEA Horse Trial entry I had paid for that I needed to use or lose for Sept 5th. I decided to enter the BN HT, because I had no concerns about Mia jumping 2'7". Heck she barely jumps until you hit 2'6"! Despite not really being prepared, I entered and then immediately traveled for basically 2 weeks straight, I left on August 12th and got back on the 17th. I went out to the barn and Mia was off on her left hind with an abscess that had just popped. She was given treats and I immediately left for another week, getting back on the 24th. The new farrier trimmed her on Aug 23rd (I wasn't there) and could see where the abscess started, but she was still ouchy. He gave her a "passive trim" and she was still lame on that foot until Aug 27. On Aug 28th she was sound! 

We went on a trail/light fitness ride on the 28th and Mia was ready to GO. She was super excited to be out and moving, and while she was fairly tired fairly quickly, it was a good ride. We did a small XC schooling at the farm on Sunday. While we don't have a lot of jumps, we do have some and Mia ate them right up. I was getting optimistic about our chances at the show! On Monday and Tuesday we had dressage rides that went....okay at best, but at 930p on Tuesday night I got a call from the barn owner. There was a dressage clinic on Weds/Thurs and the first 3 riders of the first day had cancelled because of the hurricane coming through, would I be willing to ride? Uh, sure?

The clinic ride was excellent, much better than my ride with Becky in May on the borrowed mare. Becky helped us with a lot of basics, but also with some refinements to get Mia really engaged. With 4 days to a USEA HT, I was so PUMPED and 100% ready for the show. I was now quite confident in our ability to score really well, and was actually excited for the dressage phase! Possibly a first ever??

On Thursday we had a stadium jump session, and Friday/Sat we had more dressage which were both excellent rides. Sunday AM we loaded up the trailer and headed to the show, which had changed from a HT down to a CT due to the extreme water the hurricane had left. It was one of the few times I can say with 100% confidence that I was looking forward to the show, I wasn't anxious, and I was very comfortable with our chances. Things were looking GOOD, including Mia. I had bathed, clipped, and even braided her, she looked amazing!

We got down to the show and it was lightly raining. Mia was perfect at the trailer. I got on and walked from the trailer to the warm up ring. I walked the big warmup ring 2x before trotting. The ring was super wet and sloppy, though not slippery, but Mia was really not moving forward. I asked for some long trotting to get her forward, and she just didn't seem right. I trotted another lap before walking to the in-gate and asking the question I already knew the answer to. "Did my mare look lame? Because she feels lame". The answer was yes, she was lame and after riding another lap, she was not only not working out of it, she was actively getting worse.

We scratched before we even got to the dressage ring, packed up and went home. Based on the scores in our division? I am so confident we would have placed 1st or 2nd. It was disappointing, but I am 100% confident in making the right choice for my horse. Mia was fairly tender in her legs, I was afraid it was a suspensory issue. She got 7 days of bute and poultice before I finally called the vet out for a lameness eval on Sept 13. How did that go? Stay tuned to find out! 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Lyme update - Getting closer to clear

I had some blog posts started, everything kept going downhill, I abandoned it all. The end. So what has gone on?

In June, Mia was retested for lyme after 30 days. Her numbers went from 4600 to 3300. Great reaction to 30 days of Doxy! And she went on another 30 days of Doxy. 

We started work again after the 2nd round of Doxy, had good progress, signed up for a show. We had to cancel the day before because Mia was quite uncomfortable. This happened twice, because why not pay show fees for things you won't go to anyway.

We started lessons again, working on some fitness and seeing how Mia was feeling. She was feeling very good, until she would not. Very hit or miss, as Doxy tends to do, but when she felt good, she felt very good. We gave up trying to aim for shows after the 2nd cancelled show.

July came. 

My trainer retired abruptly due to some drama unrelated to me or my barn, giving a 1 week notice that I could not take advantage of. My farrier fired my barn over drama unrelated to me. My job started imploding. Covid is on the rise. Mia got retested for Lyme after her 2nd round of Doxy.

August arrived.

Mia's Lyme went from 3300 to 1600. One more round of Doxy and then she will be negative, good news finally comes! This time, when she is negative, I am insisting on the Lyme vaccine even if it is the double dose of the dog vaccine. I had asked for the vaccine last year when Mia was negative, however the vet wanted to wait until the equine version came out. I am not waiting anymore. I lost a whole show season because of waiting.

I am leaving for almost 2 solid weeks on various trips starting next week. There is zero chance I will have Mia fit enough to do the USEA horse trial in Sept that I have already paid for unless I went BN or N. I need to think on this, go to a BN or N show or just lose the money? We have BARELY jumped this year, less than 5 times? I don't know if even going N would be fair to her or her ligaments, so maybe BN? I am at a loss without a trainer to bounce ideas off of. It's funny how quickly I grew to love the "sounding board" of her mind. The only other instructor that has been coming to the barn is the one who didn't get back to me in 2019. I am not sure how well we would get along, but I don't know if I will have many other choices. I took me almost 4 years to find this trainer.

Mia is, however, feeling really good when she feels good. She has even given up and is now eating the Doxy in her grain without needing to doctor it 5 different ways! #littlewins We jumped last weekend and she reminded me that I need to jump with a pelham or xc bit. She was quite happy to be the driver and to let me be a passenger, except that is not what was supposed to happen! Silly girl. We did a fitness ride last night and while she doesn't have a lot of stamina, she does really enjoy getting out again. We have done some dressage and she is finally getting some muscle and tone back. She still has the intermittent day where she is sore, but those days are getting less and less. 

Fingers crossed things keep looking up. It's been down all summer, I sure 2021 was going to be our year and every single time we start doing something, we get knocked back to zero again. It is going to get better again, at some point anyway!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Nothing like a kick in the pants to get moving again!

 This is the first time I have ever had a trainer. I have been riding for 20+ years and have never had more than the occasional lesson until this past year. Sometimes it was due to money, sometimes it was due to time, sometimes it was due to a lack of both, and sometimes it was due to having no one who wanted to be that person. Having A give me lessons since Dec 2019, I can certainly say we have evolved into a trainer relationship. It is cool, I haven't had someone to rely on like this and I do enjoy it for sure. She really enjoys teaching me (even when I drive her batty) and I (sometimes begrudgingly) love her challenges. 

This lyme journey has been a long two + months. On April 4th Mia was definitely weird, we attributed it to the saddle fit. April 13th she was much worse after a chiro adjustment. April 15th is when the wheels fell off of the bus and we stopped all training when she broke out of cross ties, dumped my saddle, and refused to be caught. April 30th is when we did a full lameness exam with Lyme testing. She has been on Doxy since May 5th until June 8th.

Mia finished up the round of Doxy on Tuesday. She has been frustratingly off/stiff on and off for the past 2 weeks which I have been attributing to the antibiotics. Everyone tells me being on Doxy feels horrible, and even though Mia felt amazing at first, she was likely off due to the drugs. As a result, I have continued to ride very conservatively, 99% walking on flat ground only when she was comfortable. I rode on Thursday as the first time off of Doxy and while in the grass, she felt great. In the sand arena she still felt stiff, we did our normal walk ride with some light trot thrown in on the grass. On Saturday, she was not only NOT stiff in the arena, she felt amazing! I rode with someone else and they also said Mia looked amazing. Tracking up, very swingy in her back, and looking like she was very ready for work. We trotted on a loose rein in 2 to 3 minute sessions and it showed just how out of shape Mia is. After our third trot session, she was breathing harder than I was expecting. No worries though, we are both out of shape. We can get this fitness back in no time if she is comfortable!

How does this relate to A? After I told her about our amazing ride, she sent me a show for June 27th and said she wants me to go to it if Mia stays sound and comfy. Not only is it a show, but an actual horse trial that is "fairly" close to the barn. HA! Uh, we haven't been riding? Or training? Or even trotting! I conveyed my skepticism with vivid animation but finally caved and committed to ONLY go Beginner Novice only if Mia get can be fit by then. A knows I am very goal focused and there is nothing like a swift kick in the pants by being presented with a short deadline.

A BN show is something we SHOULD be able to do easily. Mia should have no issues what so ever going over 2'6" jumps in competition, since that is the height we typically warm up over. The dressage test should be an easy challenge. My big concern is the fitness for cantering, which A says we should have no issue doing by then. Besides 1. it is a schooling show and XC may not even be timed 2. we aren't going to the show to win a ribbon. 

This show is a super duper cheap HT to get Mia out and going over something that should be super easy for her. Going to the show is a goal for me to focus on to get back into a competition mindset, something I have definitely lost over these past 2 months. The actual goal will be to get out and scrape some rust off of ourselves. The goal is to assess our fitness and mentality. The goal is not to win a ribbon (that will be a bonus if we do!), but to just get out and find the joy in showing again. When I find the fun, doing the harder stuff shouldn't be so scary and maybe my brain won't freak at Training level like it did in 2019. 

Fingers crossed, tonight is going to be our first true ride in almost 2 months. We are going to do trotting with lots of walk breaks, but we are going back into training. With a show in 2 weeks, we have something to aim for! Not to mention I now have a lesson on Thursday, I think my butt is going to be kicked. Fitness here we come!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Coming back, one scoop at a time

Mia is finally finishing up her 30 days of Doxy and the turn around has been nothing short of miraculous. Do we have our ups and downs? Yes. Is she a fire dragon one day and totally body sore and lame the next? Also yes. But her demeanor has made a complete turnaround and I can't be happier with the results. Hyper-reactivity around the neck/poll/face? Gone. Often explosive reaction to simple requests? Gone. The overall sense of "something is wrong"? Mostly gone. 

She is looking GOOD

Looking back, I can see now that when things really started to come apart coincided with the time that I got my 18" saddle. I was telling my trainer that something was wrong, but we thought it was my saddle fit. Which, I mean, the saddle DID need adjustment but that wasn't all of it. Right after that, Mia started having weird reactivity including breaking out of cross ties twice. And having weird soreness/lameness. Even the second ever chiro eval was wonky, and the vet said she could tell Mia was amiss and very uncomfortable. Stupid Lyme being so hard to diagnose, why can't it present the same way in each horse for simplicity?

The weight loss she had is gone, she is BEEFY again!

This week will mark a full 2 months since Mia has been out of training. I have been walking her both in hand and under saddle constantly during this, as she always moves better at the end than at the start of a walk. I did try trotting her a few times over the past 2 weeks as she is totally over walking around. The first couple of times went very well, but then I let her actually do some fitness/work trotting last week and boom, completely uncomfortable again. I am going to wait until she is off of Doxy before I try again, many people are telling me their horses felt badly on Doxy. While Mia has felt great most of the time, sometimes she doesn't. No sense in trying to hurry the process, every time I have tried to get "back to normal", the wheels have fallen off of the bus. We are getting blood drawn this week to retest for Lyme, fingers crossed the numbers are good!

This is the face of someone who wants to do fun stuff again

IF Mia is comfortable and sound, we are going to aim to start working this week and maybe go to a schooling horse trial on the 26th. We would be doing Beginner Novice or Novice, depending on her fitness level. I had already paid for a USEA entry in either June or Sept, so fingers crossed we can get our fitness back by Sept. I would love to go Training for my USEA debut, however with the timing, going Novice may be much more reasonable of a request. I am also aiming to go to Loch Moy in October (Hey Emma!) with someone else if she stays sound. #Goals

It has been a really defeating spring, we had worked so damn hard to fall short at the start line. I am really optimistic that things will get better. Mia is already so much better, it can only go up from here right?  Here's to hoping she gets back to feeling great all of the time and we can start doing the fun stuff again! 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

No more margaritas, please

 We do have answers! Finally. The vet was out on the 30th and we did a full workup on Mia. The vet said Mia was super uncomfortable even standing in the indoor arena, and I agreed. She was very uncomfortable and hyper reactive. Mia almost knocked the poor vet over when the vet tried to examine Mia's ears! A lameness exam showed her slightly lame on all 4 legs but flexions didn't show where, which may or may not be related to the trim that was done 2 days before. I showed pics of Mia's feet pre-trim and the vet agreed that her feet could have been making her sore and that the adjustment back to normal could be making it slightly worse. The farrier from Feb-Apr had not done Mia any favors but 1 trim has her back on track. Basically Mia was broken enough that we couldn't block to find where she was sore. The vet left with blood for tests, and a list of things we would do as we crossed other things off. First up? Lyme. If no, then EPM. If no, bone scan. At least there was a plan!

We put Mia on Robaxin to try to make her more comfortable, which did help. Well, they helped for 10 days anyway. After that, Mia went on a hunger strike and refused to eat if any pill DARE be in her grain despite the addition of applesauce and straight molasses. *sigh* On May 5th, we got our first result back. Hold the margaritas, Mia doesn't need any more Lyme! She tested positive for chronic Lyme. The vet thinks she caught it around the March timeframe based on her numbers and my description of her reactions. It sucks. I was the first person in the barn to break out fly spray in March but apparently I was already too late. Her numbers are 4600, which is definitely positive but also significantly less than other horses have tested in the barn and area. Another mare in the barn tested over 20k last November and is still being treated, a gelding at a nearby barn tested at 14k and is also still being treated. 

With this new information, we put straight on Doxy which quickly made a significant difference. After 3 days, Mia looked comfortable again. After 7 days, Mia started to walk normally and have swing in her back again. She has been so uncomfortable, she felt like she was a machine walking on stilts! After a week and a half, Mia is now acting normal again. She still has some slight hyper reactivity on her neck and poll, but it is significantly reduced and I wouldn't consider her borderline dangerous anymore. Yes, it had gotten that bad! For a while, I wasn't even cross tying her because of her extreme reaction when anything would touch in front of her shoulder! 

She had a 2nd chiro/acupuncture visit on the 7th and was told Mia is MUCH better. Mia was out in a few places and still sore, but was much better than the treatment the month prior and that was after only 3 days on Doxy. It was good to hear someone else agree that Mia is getting better.

Mia has been getting lots of attention and 30 minute walk rides for the past 3 weeks. The vet agreed she was working out of the stiffness so keep her moving and it has helped. I have increased the ride times to 45 - 60 minutes since she is feeling better, but I wanted to make 100% sure that she was feeling okay. After last night? I would say she is feeling GOOD! Mia is currently in a big almost 5 acre field with a 4yr old gelding and another mare. Last night, the other mare kept running Mia and the gelding away from me as I went to catch them. I had to walk ALL OVER the dang pasture trying to catch them, and when I did catch Mia? The other horses were running around us taunting Mia to run off with them and while she didn't break free, Mia was very happy to try. Needless to say, Mia was feeling GOOD.

Fingers crossed she continues to improve and her Lyme numbers are gone at the end of the month. It would be awesome of we could start training again in June, there are competitions I would love to go to this year!