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Horse diaries April - Fin

Keeping you up to date, behind the scenes with Equilibrium’s horses.

We care passionately about horses because we are owners and riders ourselves. Our horses are a big part of our daily lives and we would like to share with you, some of the trials and tribulations we face on a weekly basis with our horses – the good, bad & the ugly!

Fin: Finegretto – 16.2hh, 10 year old, Danish X British Sports Horse fin keysoe

Horses are great levellers, just as everything is going well…..

After a lovely weekend competing at Keysoe,  it all went slightly wrong!

As this was a big show for us, I had help working Fin in with Kim Ratcliffe, a list 1 dressage judge and trainer. I rode a really good test and was feeling very positive and delighted to have finished in 7th place in a strong class.

At home, the week after the show, I had a lesson, only to find that he was grunting, blowing and would not go at all. I knew something wasn’t right and I called the vet out to look at Fin.  He wouldn’t even walk for the vet, let alone trot.  The verdict was not good; he was lame on 3 out of 4 legs! He was prescribed painkillers for a week and a follow up visit was booked.

I am lucky that working with me at Equilibrium is my fantastic physio, Vicky Boakes.  She came that evening and spent 1.5 hours on his front end, releasing all the muscles.  He then carted me across the car park in trot less than 1 tenth lame on just one hind leg!! However, Vicky did notice a swelling over his withers on one side.  Her thermal imaging camera picked up heat in the area and we decided to monitor it.Fin post injury

Broken withers

At the vets for the follow up lameness test, he floated everywhere and looked sound. However, I asked them to look at the swelling on his wither and he was x-rayed there and then. The x-rays showed he had broken 11 or 12 processes in his wither, an inch off every single one, so no wonder he didn’t want to work but amazing that I hacked 10 days after it must have happened!  If it had not been for the lump that Vicky had noticed,  I would have brought him home and gone to the regionals.

Once we knew what Fin had done, Vicky spoke to the vet at great length and came up with the plan of red light therapy and magno pulse therapy to help with the healing process.

He was due more x-rays 6 weeks later but suddenly a few lumps came up as if he had been stung and this “tracked” down a vein but the vet believed the vein was compressed due to his fractures.  Vicky came and put kinetic tape on to help drain the area, and the vet recommended Aspirin and Heparin ointment.  Have you ever tried buying enougFin tapeh aspirin for a horse?   I am sure my local area was watching out for a mad woman taking an overdose of aspirin as he needed 20 a day for 6 days then 10 a day for several weeks!

It was frustrating as although he had lost some muscle, Fin was looking round and shiny and perfectly sound.  Who knows what he did as there was not a single mark, mud or grass stain on him.

Unfortunately, I missed the regionals and area festivals we had qualified for but on the bright side is he is still in Prelim and an inch smaller! .

Not over yet!

Three months later Fin was ready to do some in hand work but fooling in the field with the others he got kicked on the outside of a hind leg, the wound didn’t heal very well so more x-rays which showed that he had cracked the splint bone on the inside….how??

Four months on and I started lunging Fin, only a maximum of 10 minutes a day, but it was a start before the hours of long build up work. The raised veins had nearly gone but I think I should have taken shares in Aspirin as he must have eaten several hundred of them by now!

We spent the next three months building up gradually, more physio and I was able to use my Equilibrium Therapy Massage Pad again which Fin has really missed! I have had to learn to ride a totally different horse, concentrating on stretching him to allow the muscles to build back up and get used to a horse 3 gullet sizes wider!

Present day

I have just had my first dressage clinic with list II dressage judge and trainer, Joyce Head, who has not seen Fin for a couple of years.  She thought he looked so well and shiny, (my secret to that is Simply Sunshine rather than hours of grooming). We worked on the basic transitions and Fin went like a dream. He needs to strengthen still as we have taken things slowly, but I am cautiously looking forward to competing again.