Monday, May 20, 2013

The Downward Spiral

I realize its been a wee bit since my last post... sorry about that, but as per usual, when something big is going on, the frequency of my posts suffer.  Maybe someday I'll learn to use my blog properly!

For the last three weeks or so, Alex and I have been having a lot of trouble with the canter.  He'd either buck or depart rocking and throwing his head up.  At first I thought it was behavioral/strength related, maybe he was just weak in the back end, having trouble balancing.  I spent several very frustrating nights wondering what I was doing wrong. 

Finally I decided it had to be pain related and called the vet.  After examining Alex and watching him jog, he pronounced him in need of hock injections, which we did the same day. 

Alex returned to light work after a day off, and a day of lunging. Both trot and canter felt great although there was a little anticipation, and I thought our troubles were over.  

A week ago today, I went out to ride after giving Alex the weekend off and it was bad... he would canter and then buck and run sideways almost into the fence.  The vet came back out the next day, pronounced him back sore, gave me some muscle relaxers to see if we could get him to relax and therefore alleviate some of his soreness.  I was told to ride him lightly on the flat and ask him to stretch. 

Wednesday we had an absolutely terrible ride even though I lunged Alex beforehand, as soon as I asked him to canter, he began alternating bucks and rears and felt like he was going to fall over with me.  This was not a behavioral thing... this was extreme pain.  After talking to the vet again (I'm sure he's probably tired of me by this point) we agreed to continue the muscle relaxers for a week, working him only from the ground and see if things improved. 

I saw slight improvements with the meds, but Alex was still tender to even medium pressure on his back, definitely didn't want to be ridden and just generally appeared to be uncomfortable.  Apparently he'd been compensating for pain in his hocks (which are just perfect now) and really done a number on his back.

Since the pain he's in is not likely to subside entirely with rest and Alex seems to be in so much pain, I've decided, with the vet's guidance, that he's going to have his back injected.

This whole thing has been so depressing and frustrating, which is why I just haven't had the heart to blog.  All I can hope for now is that this finally gets him some relief.


  1. Oh no...hope Alex gets to feeling better in short order! :(

  2. I've been there. And pretty much went the exact route for treatment. Hocks injected. I did not do the back injections. After not seeing a big improvement after the hocks I came to same conclusion that it was in his back. I went the route of chiropractic and acupuncture and learning how to ride with my butt out of the saddle. That has worked for us and now he is a totally different horse. But anytime he is out of work for an extended time we do have to work back into it again. I have found the transition is the hardest part and keeping it is easier but again I have to stay up while he is building strength.

    1. Thanks so much for relaying your experience! Hopefully this is going to get him some relief. He's so uncomfortable and his attitude is starting to suffer. Alex is very dramatic and he remembers. I don't want any more bad experiences. I know it will be a long road working him back up. I also know chiro, acupuncture or Magnawave are probably in his future long term.

  3. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. Back pain is really frustrating :(

  4. Thanks for your kind words. Hopefully this is going to help. I have great confidence in my vets so just have to ride the rollercoaster a bit longer! I just feel so bad for not catching it sooner, but hindsight is 20/20.