Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Are You Going To Do...? Sit In The Corner And Eat Worms...?

That was my father's response when he called me yesterday evening looking to get an update with Chester and after listening to me sob uncontrollably for a good 5 15 minutes.  After being able to digest what I learned yesterday - and speaking to the Boss and my dad, I have had a tough 24 hours and made some pretty tough decisions.  BUT, we have a plan. 
The hardest thing now - is telling everyone - over and over and over and over again - what is wrong with Chester. Saying it out loud, effing blows beyond belief.  And, for the record, while I appreciate being told "Everything happens for a reason", "I'm so sorry", "It could be worse", "He will be Okay" and "Showing isn't everything",  IT IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO BE HEARING RIGHT NOW!! Okay, Braff, deep breath and continue. 
Someone who I have never met before in my life, mentioned to me yesterday, "When it comes to horses, it is a good idea not to have a plan that goes beyond 3 months".  Makes sense right? Especially considering how quickly things can change when it comes to our four legged friends.  Although my plan does go for longer then that length of time, I am going to focus on the next 90 odd days and attempt to keep myself together in doing so.
When I got home yesterday, I was not in the best frame of mind - as you could imagine - DVME bbm's me and says 'What are you doing for dinner? Fancy burritos?" Considering I was planning on having diner with my friends Jack and Jim, I thought it might have been a better idea to have dinner with her and her long as the Chester talk was non existent.
When it comes to the next 90 days, a lot is going to happen and we are going to follow protocol as follows:
Another set of x-rays will be taken, just to completely rule out any problems with the bones in his foot. While DVME is certain it is soft tissue damage - most likely along his coffin bone - the only way we can rule OUT any bone problems are with x-rays.  At a cost of $285...more then likely for 'nothing'.  However, by doing the x-rays, we confirm 100% that it is soft tissue damage. This will happen in the next week or so - either right before ROLEX!!! (YAY, the ONE thing I am looking forward too) or immediately after I am back.
Solitary Confinement
If you recall, DVME said, 'well, it starts with 3 months of stall rest...' and I promptly cut her off.  Sorry, but that is NOT the best thing for Chester, especially given what happened in February and March and especially because of his UFP. Ain't. Happening. So, my project for tomorrow, will be to build him a small outdoor cell.  Small enough that he can't run around like a frigging moron, big enough so he can a - be outside b - walk around a little and c - be able to see his friends...who are clearly all bad influences on his moronic behaviour...maybe something like 30 x 30?  I am not sure.  There are a bunch of gates hanging around the barn which BO says I can use.  We will see how I make out.
Trail Horse
Chester, will be the nicest trail horse in Ontario no wait, Canada no wait, North America for the next 3 months.  We are allowed to walk under saddle only.  That said, if we wanted to walk for 2 hours every day, that is allowed.  The ONE thing I have going for me in this case is that summer is coming and the farm land we have to hack on is the best in the area. Hands down.
Shock Wave Therapy
This is where is gets interesting.  At this point in time, we are 99.9% sure that his new rads will come back clean thereby confirming soft tissue damage in his front left.  This sort of injury, takes nothing but time to heal... AND, some very newish forms of therapy to assist in the strengthening of torn ligaments/tendons.  Sound interesting? When DVME and I were talking about the 'what now' one of the first things she said to me was 'you should consider doing ShockWave Treatments, do you know what those are?"  Immediately, I thought of an article I had read recently. The article was written by Samantha Clark (whom I have never met, but who I want to be like), which was posted on her blog via Eventing Nation. -->
In a nutshell, Shock Wave Therapy (SWT) is basically is a non-invasive treatment that can speed the healing of many types of orthopedic and soft tissue injuries and conditions. 
Shockwave is a pressure wave – any action that displaces its surrounding medium is a shockwave. The ripple created when a stone is thrown into a pond is a shockwave. The shockwaves used in equine medicine are generated in a fluid medium inside a transducer head and are then transmitted readily through skin, fat, and muscle. The high energy waves are focused within the transducer head so that the shockwave can be directed to the precise area of the injury. When shockwaves hit an area of higher acoustic impedance, such as bone, the waves slow dramatically and a large amount of energy is released into the surrounding tissue. (Basically by strengthening the area where the original injury occurred .) Is this painful? Well, yes, it is. (Check out the video in the above link.)  Chester will be sedated during the procedure.  He will get 3 treatments, 3 weeks apart at $300/shot.  Sigh - does this horse think I am made of money?  Sigh. Good-bye fancy EcoGold Saddle pad I was going to buy at Rolex. However, nothing but GOOD can come as a result of these treatments, the end result being an even stronger ligament/tendon then before the injury.
Yes, I feel like we are moving backwards..
What Actually Happened?
Remember how he was getting better...after about 2.5 months?  And then I started riding him and then he got worse? I immediately thought - OMFG - I pushed him too much and it was my fault.  That was quickly put to rest by DVME. "Absolutely NOT. He relapsed because he was out in the field running around like a moron and acting like a 2 year old. The twisting/turning/bucking/rearing, was what caused the relapse, NOT you." Well thank god my horse is hurt because he is a moron and not because of something I did. Yea, makes me feel better. (Not.) The damn horse will be lucky if I EVER let him into a field again.  If I have anything to say about it, he will be grounded for the rest of his life.
Long Term
We might be able to trot by July or August. Our season, will be non existent. I do not expect to jump anything until October or November...If at all.  There is a risk that Chester will not heal properly - regardless of following protocol. It might just happen that way. I don't want to have to think about that, but I will keep it in the back of my mind.  He is beautiful and will make a beauty of a dressage horse for a lady who doesn't want to jump should it come down to that.
He has good feet. He has a good mind. He is in good shape. He is pretty fit all things considering. And he is in an environment where he gets nothing but attention and praise and treats and pats constantly.  I am going to do everything I can to ensure this horse has EVERY opportunity he needs to heal - and heal properly.  I love that horse like nothing else on this planet - he knows it - I know he loves me back.  And, while I can think of other things I would rather be doing for the next 3 months; I still have Chester, Chester has me and we will get through it together.  Geeze - don't we make quite the pair?  The unemployed HR Manager and the Gimp of an Event Horse.   
Remember the x-rays? And how I think it is kind of stupid to spend that money on something we are pretty sure will come back clean?  Well, what's $285 if I am spending $900 on Shock Wave Treatment?  And, what IF (that's a Big, What IF, there actually IS something wrong with the bone?  It'd save me $900.)
You know the WORST about this whole thing?? One of the very FIRST things I wrote on this blog when I first started it about a year and bit ago was our short-term goal: Bromont 3 Day, Training Level, June, 2011. Guess we fell a bit short on that one.
So - Am I going to sit in the corner and eat worms? NO - I am going to stick to the above plan, worry about building a damn solitary confinement paddock tomorrow and then the following 88 days after that...


  1. You tell Chester he is a damn lucky horse to have you! I wonder if worms would be any good with enough ranch dressing?

  2. Thanks EV79!
    Humm - With Ranch? For sure...! Probably asiagio cheese and artichoke dip too. Why don't you try it and let me know how it goes?

  3. Oh oh, artichoke dip, definitely!