Crossposting -Back injections and reassurance...Talk me in off the ledge please
So I am really fretting, and I'm a walking cliche...Can't sleep, can't focus and an emotional wreck.
My vet was out to do teeth, shots and annual checkup for my horse. We had mega back issues (soreness and spurs) just over a year ago, and I sunk a lot of money into rehabbing him. Tried time off, lunging program, mesotherapy, chiro, acupuncture and massage. Horse has come back to about 85%, but still tight and nqr. Vet recommended NOT giving time off as we are trying to build muscles and time off won't keep them strong and loose.
Fast forward to now, horse gets weekly massage, and has for the past several months, has regular chiro, gets supplements, BOT sheet and wraps, shoes all the way around and pads up front. His maintenance costs me a fortune...So much so my BO commented he is harder to maintain than her 2** event horse Vet found some remaining sore spots during her exam, and watched him go on the lunge. After a long discussion, she recommended that he have his back injected, as the program I'm on just isn't working out.
She also cautioned that he just may not be able to hold up to the workload and this may be the end of the line. I have had 3 vets look at this horse and this is the general consensus. It may work, and it may not work. Horse is 14, and hasn't really been pushed very hard in his years with me, hasn't been jumped much at all, and is now just getting into low level dressage work. If the injections don't work, I think I'll have to retire him, as I can't keep asking him for work when he's not happy in his job and fighting as he's still sore. He is a lousy horse to hack, spooky, hot and will jig endlessly if there are bugs, so I don't think that's fair either.
I'm at my wits end, I don't know what I'm doing anymore with him. I bought a gorgeous used saddle (Brown Albion - yep that's me) and I sold it today along with my new show jacket and bridle to pay for all the bills that have (and still are) coming in. I can't afford a second horse, and I won't be able to afford a lease while paying for a lawn ornament if this doesn't pan out. I can't wrap my head around the fact that this could be how it ends. All the planing, all the lessons, all the money... and this is it.
I know there is a chance the injections could work and all the worry is for nothing, but after all the stuff we've done that hasn't worked, part of me already feels like this won't work either. I am so torn, and I just don't know i I'm making the right choice, or if I'm just too emotional and stressed out to comprehend anymore.
I REALLY hope the injections work. But if they don't, would he be comfortable being a trail horse? Can he mentally handle it? Maybe you could find someone to lease him (of just given him away) for that role.
Is there somewhere else he can live? A backyard place that doesn't charge a lot? If he's not going to be ridden, he won't need all of the maintenance you're doing, so your bills will go way down. If he needs all of that maintenance just to be pasture sound, then maybe you need to be thinking in another direction. But, let's not go there until you know if the injections work or not.
xQHDQ - I have thought through most of those avenues already; he is terrible to hack, and can be quite unsafe for a nervous or novice rider, and even myself at times, so I wouldn't want to run the risk. With the market the way it is, I don't think I would chance giving him away - there is too much possibility he'd either be broken down or sold for meat. I'm sure he'd be sound enough to be a lawn ornament on some farm somewhere.
islgrl - oh no Hope your issues get resolved...At the very least sending you many hugs from a fellow ledge stander
pook - I have tried every type of pad known to man: ThinLine, sheepskin (on and off his back), thin cotton, PolyPads, EcoGold pads, gel pads, Ogilvy pads, friction free pads, leather pads and pads with wither clearance and without. None have really seemed to to the trick, although I have learned he won't tolerate much more than a thin baby pad or a sheepskin. Thick pads piss him off
I was nearly there with my mare just over a year ago. I can't tell you how many tears I shed over her! In her case, it was simply more work and more rehab time than I'd anticipated, and she came out basically sound, though I do have to be careful with her, and I nearly panic if she takes a funny step or two.
In any case... the person who says that *if* you have to retire him, your costs will go way down is right. It may not be enough to purchase another horse, but should be enough for a part-lease at least, and maybe some lessons. That is small consolation, I know, but keep it in mind.
Somewhere around ten years ago my vet found a chipped bone in my (then) horse's hock. He came back from looking at the x-rays and asked me "how do you feel about having a hack horse?" and my instant gut reaction (though I think I managed to not speak it) was "But he's a TERRIBLE hack horse!" It was rather like sitting on a ticking time bomb and being unable to see the timer. But I loved the horse and he'd done so much for me that I kept him, had the injections done and went on from there. I hacked him anyway since it was all we could do, and I knew him well enough to be comfortable that I could keep things under control most of the time. And he got to be a better hack horse. In the end he was nearly bombproof in the company of other horses - so much so that people who hadn't known him before didn't believe me when I said he was a very spooky horse. I bought him at 3, we found the chip when he was 11 and I had him euthanized at 18 when the pain got to be too much for him.
The year after we found the chipped bone he was struggling a bit. Training level dressage was proving to be too much for him (the turning) and his joint supplement was no longer working for him (changed manufacturing process). I was in much the same state you're in now. There were too many options of what to do, what was wrong, etc. I managed to get hold of myself and start with the easiest action (time off) and give each time to show any changes (two weeks) and refuse to give in to the what ifs during that period. I wanted to do everything at once, but realized I'd have no idea what had worked if he did improve. I had entered him in a show, and it was the test of the two weeks off. No one else could see it, but I could feel his struggle with that leg and made the decision that he would never enter the show ring again after that day. In some cosmic irony the judge's comment on our final centerline/halt/salute was "Nice finish."
It's tough, but make a plan. Try very hard not to assess in detail on a daily basis. Try very hard to stay in the present and worry about what to do later. If it should prove that your horse should retire I'm sure COTHers will have lots of ideas to help you find a lower cost retirement option, and ways for you to work towards your riding goals. I wish you all the best!
It was just a thought- they do make a thinnish wool felt pad.Wool absorbs concussion ,whereas sheepskin just flattens. I never use anything but wool or alpaca blankets/pads on my horses- too much sitting trot and canter for anything less than 100% natural spring cushioning.
I can speak from experience on this as it was my own back that was injected. After nearly 3 years of chronic pain, PT, exercises, massage, cold laser, physiotaping and the lot, I got my back injected with lidocaine and triamcinolone 1 week ago.
It hasn't made the pain go away completely but it has stopped the feeling of a hot knife in my back every stinking day and diminished the negative pain spasm feedback loop that nothing else could stop.
The depot steroid lasts about 2 weeks and it can only make your horse feel better.
My girlfriend had a back (spine?) injection for her 4 ft jumper after years of vets telling her there was nothing wrong with the horse. (Horse would over-jump, react to a heavier rider - she weighs about 100 lbs but trainer is heavier, etc..) She was told it was horses breeding (hot horse when horse is a saint being handled on the ground).
She finally found a vet that found the problem. Vet (Welling BNV) told her shot could work for a year of less. She needed 1 after 6 months of the initial shot, then yearly after that - worked great. You could try to PM pony-girl (this BB) and see if she can provide you with more info on it - may be same problem, may not be or post on jumper board.