Bob came out to look at Amber today. She was a little fussy today, which is not the norm for her as of late, but we were having wonky weather so I chalked it up to that.
When I got on she was dead. freaking. lame. At a walk. I sat down and felt like I was going to fall on my nose. She fell on her forehand so hard I though her back legs had been magically suspended in the air. The head was bobbing. She felt like I was making her walk over hot coals. I rode for maybe 30 seconds and got off.
Bob had her trot down the barn aisle. He did flexion tests. He felt and looked. After hearing a brief history of her soundness (at least, since I have had her), he recommended giving her a 1 week rest, then having us pick up and see where we are next week.
His opinion is that Katie overworked her when she came, as Amber is just coming back into work (and is still very green at that), and it might have just pushed things over the edge. Given, she was excellent the first two rides after that, it still might have started something up. It makes sense.
Bob said if she doesn't improve in 2-3 weeks, I should go ahead and take her to the vet - but he said at this point, I'd be paying a big bill for them to just tell me she needs rest. I trust his judgment - he's very experienced and this isn't the first time he's dealt with these issues.
He doesn't think it's in the hocks, he's thinking stifle. He's almost sure it's in the right hind (maybe I should call Andrea and Gogo and have a mares who are lame-in-the-right-hind party?). But we can't really pin-point it because there isn't any significant heat or swelling to be felt, but something is just off. She did get her feet done, but it's a good trim this time. Another point touched on was how screwed up her hind feet are. He suggested that since she's on rest anyway, we could just really drop her heel down big time and see what that does, even if she's a little tender, she's on rest anyway, but he was concerned about the potential of her tearing her suspensory. So for now it's wait and see really.
It's going to take a while to fix the back feet. She's got no breakover on them at all.
I asked if Bob though the hoof dragging was related to something higher up in the leg; and he says he definitely thinks so. I'm giving a big fat middle finger to everyone who kept saying "she's just lazy, blah blah blah, make her go over ground poles to teach her to pick up her feet". Yeah, the poles helped us, but as I suspected, only teaching her to lengthen her stride and balance it.
In a way, I feel relieved that finally, the slight offness, the incurable toe dragging and random fits of attitude are solved: we have a problem in the right hind. And I was right in my feelings that something was going wrong higher up to cause the toe dragging, despite everyone else's obviously incorrect opinions...
No wonder she's been in a bout of funky moods lately. I would be too if something was hurting on me. But she's so good, and wants to please so bad, that she really didn't let on any serious signs until just recently. Obviously, it's not felt great all along. Now, for that, I feel like a moron and I almost feel responsible. Have I pushed her too hard? Should I have realized something was wrong before now? I keep trying to tell myself she was perfectly sound, learning to be soft and round and step under herself just last Monday, and I had no reason to think she shouldn't be worked.
It's true. But I still feel like I should have seen it sooner. Could've, should've, would've though. Doesn't matter now. Now we just need to figure out how to fix this and move on.