Apollo's soundness issues continued and eventually resulted in a proper lameness exam by a vet last Friday. He was no longer off on his right hind only, the lameness became more minor but looked to involve both hinds. We did flexion tests and his fetlocks were pretty awful. I opted to have them both injected. I have never had injections done on any of my previous horses. I don't want to say that I'm against it exactly but it was hoping the addition of an oral supplement would be enough to help arthritic changes.
The vet thought he likely was painful on his fetlocks at all times (he has been more sluggish coming in and out of the pasture lately) and didn't feel that oral supplements would help him enough. I am purchasing a tub of Recovery EQ + HA this week and plan to start feeding that also. I didn't do any xrays because honestly I can't afford it. If the xrays showed nothing/minimal changes the vet said he would still recommend injections based on how poorly the flexion test went. Fingers crossed that this helps my big guy.
I feel really guilty for not having a proper veterinary exam done sooner, I had convinced myself that it was a soft tissue injury that just needed more time. But in my last lesson he still wasn't quite right and I knew it was time to take this funny lameness issue a bit more seriously.
I don't know what this means for my plan of doing some low level events this year. I don't want to put my dreams above what is in the best interest of my horse. So I feel kind of stuck right now. I had told myself that if Apollo gave me one season of low level eventing that he would be officially retired from jumping and would be a light work/trail buddy only. His conformation doesn't really lend itself to jumping/hard work. He is somewhat post-legged and being such a large bodied horse that's a lot of concussion/stress on his joints. It might not even be fair to ask one season from him.
I don't really enjoy my job but the one thing that cheers me up during is to look at the horse trial schedule and write my show dates in my daytimer. For years I have dreamed about eventing with Apollo. There has always been an excuse (some valid and some not). Money has been a huge limiting factor but more than that I haven't felt that I was good enough. I would look at the results from the horse trials and dressage shows and think "I wish I could do that." Now I realize that I am totally capable of that (with some hard work and discipline). I have to be honest and confess that this whole lameness thing is especially heartbreaking for me right now as he has become such a kind and willing companion. After all the years of him being hard to catch and naughty, I feel in my heart that he is trying his best for me but his body just won't perform for him like it used it.
So my head is finally in the right place but my horse might not be up for the task. Sigh.
A fellow boarder could see I was kind of upset about the injections (not crying but just kind of in shock). She gave me a wise piece of advice: "Our horses don't have voices. It's our job as owners to do the best we can to listen to what they are trying to tell us and to be their voice. All you can do is your best."
I thought those were some pretty powerful words and I am not officially deciding on what the future holds for Apollo and me. I will do my best to listen to him and let him tell me what his limitations are.
I hope to have some good news to report soon! I'm very excited to catch up on reading everyone else's blogs. I feel like I haven't had a moment lately to sit and read, things have been too crazy!
Here's some pictures of me the big guy from the last few weeks (I have way too much fun playing with the color editing feature on my new iPhone):
A ride a few weeks ago when he was feeling good!:
Post injection on Friday: