Sigh. Horses are heartbreakers, aren't they?
Today the vet came out to do both Ringo's one year ultrasound, and hopefully his clearance to jump, and to recheck Dually's foot after his weekend of hoof packing and epsom soaking. Alas, as the title of this post might suggest, neither visit went exactly according to plan.
Ringo's leg looks fine. It hasn't changed much since last time, which is good because his workload has increased significantly. This means that, hopefully, it's pretty stable for flatwork and the vet gave the go ahead that we can keep working up to whatever level of flatwork our heart desires and ability allows.
(I'm 'glowing' rather unpleasantly in this picture, but I had to include it because check out his awesome DQ browband in action! He's so handsome)
But, it only just looks fine. It doesn't look normal, and there are still some little striations and irregularities in the tendon composition that are a little worrisome. Because it has now remained pretty much unchanged for that past six months, despite all the work increase, it's likely that the irregularities are scar tissue that isn't going anywhere fast. This means that the leg is always going to be in a somewhat compromised state. For flatwork, or even low coursework, on a nice level surface in an arena, it should never be an issue. But for upper level eventing, with drops, tight turns, uneven and constantly changing footing surfaces, and slowing down and speeding up? Not so much. It's just never going to be strong enough again to not be constantly flirting with another serious blow out.
So, we made the decision right there: Ringo is not going to event again. I've been prepared for this fact from the beginning, but it's still obviously very disappointing. He's been feeling so good recently that I've been letting myself daydream more and more frequently about getting to head out of the start box with him again. He has the most amazing gallop and riding him cross country is like piloting a cruise missile... in the best possible way. It's very, very bittersweet to realize that I'm never going to feel that again.
(No one does it like you)
On the upside, his flatwork is going well and there's never been a horse out there that I've had more fun riding on the flat. I had my first lesson on him in 13 months today with the dressage instructor my dad has been using, and it was fabulous. Ringo was great and Kim (the instructor) though that my long term goals of getting my bronze and silver USDF medals on him were definitely within my longterm grasp. Plus, it's not that we don't get to jump at all; we just have to keep it low, controlled, and always on good level footing. We can start doing trotting poles next week! Not all is lost =)
(Hey! I don't look totally rusty! It's a miracle! Also check out that hind leg step - Ringo is so fancy schmancy)
(working on adding some jump to that canter)
Dually, unfortunately, did not have the positive recheck we were hoping for. In fact, he seemed a little worse than last time. Boo. A bruise still seems the most likely candidate; it's just a significantly worse bruise than we'd hoped. He'll now have at least another 10 days off, which means that the Training Three Day is out for this year. What a bummer! The great news, of course, is that he should be totally fine and should even be able to finish the season out well... he just won't be fit enough in time for the Three Day in August. Oh well... =(
(Big D in invalid mode)