Friday, January 14, 2011

Tough Love Pickle...Deal With It...

About 10 months ago, Chester suffered a pretty serious injury. In a nutshell, he was reared up onto in the pasture, which caused his hips and pelvis to become out of whack, which needed adjusting 3 times, which lead to him not being ridden for a month, which lead to the tendons over his stifles becoming loose, which lead to intermittent Upward Fixation of the Patella, which lead to him having to go through me administering external blistering and 6 months of long, slow rehabilitation. There was a point when I didn't think Chester would ever jump anything again...let alone EVER event. If you look back at this a nutshell, March - July was the longest/worst 5/6 months of my life. However, through sheer determination, stubbornness on my part, tears and most importantly patience, Chester pulled through and he was able to complete (very successfully I might add) his first 2 ever events ever at the end of summer, 2010.
He has re-aggravated that same injury....movement and mobility is key for this horse's success as the more immobile he is, the more stiff he becomes and his stifles will begin to catch more and more and more...yesterday, we were schooling, stopped to talk to someone for 5 minutes, started up again and he was dead lame....upon closer examination, he was over compensating in his front end to make up for the lack of movement through his stifles...sigh. So of course, I have a mini freak out, get really upset and think in my head - oh no, here we go again.
I speak with my vet - who happens to be a good girlfriend of mine...we were friends before she was my vet - and she tells me this: (Keeping in mind she knows the kind of person I am and how much of a princess Chester is). "His stifles may be catching, but they shouldn't suddenly become a noticeable pain issue. It is more mechanical then painful. Check his feet too. Bute for a few days and then evaluate him. Walk under saddle, do lateral and stretching exercises, turn on the forehand, make him cross his legs. He is a BIG horse and will always need this maintenance. HE IS FINE. Be tough with him, he has a cushy life. Happy Birthday Chester - NOT." (yes, I forgot to mention yesterday was Chester's birthday... he turned 10, going on 4.)
So, here is the plan: Bute, stretching, lineaments, walking under saddle/stretching, stretching... for the next couple of weeks...In a couple days if he feels like we can trot - then we trot and see how it goes. The hard part about being in the great white North, is that I lose out on my 30 minute trot sets that I do almost daily in the spring/summer/fall...sigh...and THAT is what keeps his tendons and muscles taught and tight over his stifles.
The trials and tribulations of owning an event horse with stifle maintenance issues...Good thing I would do anything for him...the little bugger.
The hard part now, is making him do it...and telling myself to give him some tough love. That is the one thing my DVM Extraordinaire always has to remind me about - BE TOUGH WITH HIM, HE CAN HANDLE IT...I remember in July, when we jumped him for the first time in about 4 months after his injury - I was terrified...Was he ready to jump? What if we have a set back? etc etc. But, what did he do...he just popped right over the teeny tiny xrail.

This was that first jump back in July:

That is my favourite video of Chester and I...simply because it was the first true milestone we had reached together. Every time something doesn't go according to plan, or I get frustrated with something, or our lesson was a disaster, I watch THAT video and remind myself that through patience, dedication and TOUGH LOVE, Chester, will be a champion. (I should warn you that we get pretty excited after Pickle jumps - so be forewarned there is some high-pitched cheering/screaming afterwards...)

More soon!

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