Well, okay, when I left off, Tristan was having some weird lameness stuff and muscle twitching in his left shoulder.
We went on and off for a few weeks with different theories, different levels of work, ratcheting up or down and watching carefully, and finally I threw up my hands and added him to the list for the lameness vet.
And…he trotted out sound as a bell on the longe line – this after two days of relatively full work to try to draw out any stiffness.
The vet shrugged and said, “I’m going to say the same thing I always say to you, which is that his hind fetlocks look terrible but he’s so damn sound. And also he’s 26, I mean, of course he’s going to be a bit stiff and have off days.”
Nevertheless, we did full due diligence and flexed the shit out of his hind legs, and…he still trotted off sound and even.
The vet did watch some of the vides on my phone, so he saw both the hesitation in reaching with his front end and the muscle twitches. His thought was that it might be more neck than anything else. So he did a full chiro workup, spending the longest he ever has with Tris. Usually he looks him over and either adjusts one thing or says “I’m not adjusting him, you’d be wasting your money.” But this time he spent quite a while with him, and Tris was clearly a bit resistant and then licking/chewing after neck adjustments in particular.
We went back to work for two days, then he got a day off, and then three days after his vet appointment he rolled too close to the fence in turnout and got himself cast in a metal fence panel.
Luckily, the barn staff heard him get cast and got out to him immediately, so had eyes on him the whole time, and just as they were approaching he freed himself. But he was fully hung up for a few minutes.
We went uber-conservative, full standing wraps and short, wrap-less turnout for an hour or two each day. I went every night to check on him, handwalk him, give him a full deep tissue grooming, and put his Back on Track sheet on. (That first night? Two minutes into handwalking he squealed, struck out in front, and launched himself into the air. TWENTY GODDAMN SIX.)
He cast himself on Monday, and on Friday we watched him in hand and then under saddle very lightly. He was pretty darn okay. He was a little less than thrilled about fully using his right hind, but not necessarily in an ouchy way – more of a weakness/stiffness thing. And it improved as we went on and focused on it. So he went without wraps from then on, and the little bit of fill we’d seen earlier in the week never returned.
One week after getting cast, the lameness vet was back for other horses and put hands on Tris. Same pronouncement as always – shaking head in bemusement, pronouncement of soundness. We also talked back and forth some plans for the future and I finally committed to an experiment for the future: we’ll inject his hocks later this month when he’s done his vaccinations for the spring.
Since then, I’ve been easing him back into work on a conditioning schedule. He’s holding up shockingly well, fitness-wise, for not having worked consistently for about eight weeks now. He was feeling spunky enough to try and dump me on Sunday when I did our first road hack / walk around the outdoor. Thankfully I had anticipated shenanigans and put in his kimberwicke for the occasion.
We’re easing back into lessons with half-hour sessions, and I’m trying to transfer some of the things I was working on with Crumble with some success. Fingers crossed that the hocks prove a good experiment and the rest of the spring proceeds uneventfully!