I lunged her for the chiro, and hilariously, she behaved better on the lunge there than at home. Usually if I haven't been lunging her at least once every week or every other week, she likes to be silly, but she was very good.
Dr. Wheeler was doing some paperwork, and she didn't get to see much of the lunging, but she said from the bit she saw Amber looked improved. The chiro did some adjusting.
As we suspected, the majority of her problems are in her hind, worse in the left hind. She said due to her conformation, her pelvis is susceptible to coming out again, but we will take it a day at a time. Ideally, she needs to be adjusted every week for a while and then taper off to every other week and then once a month until we find a maintenance point, but obviously this is not feasible for me. Not only could I not afford it, but it's impossible to get a chiropractor out to the barn (as I found out last fall). I'm hoping the kinesiologist can help fill that gap with his monthly visits. Dr. Baker, the chiro, did recommend that I have him adjust her as well.
The stifles were injected.
The dex I'd been giving her, 10ccs, Dr. Wheeler seemed concerned at the high dose, and she recommended we not give her any after the injections (too many steroids in her system), and take it down to 5ccs after that. She was on stall rest yesterday and today, and she will be able to go out tonight. On Friday she will go back into light work, and Saturday she will be able to return to normal work. Obviously I'm going to hold off on jumping. I want her to build some muscle again. We will be doing hill work. I'm going to start that probably next week and do it once a week. I don't want to throw her under the bus with that on the first ride!
So basically, the plan is, just limber her up with some leg yields, bending, and walk/trot/canter, big circles and light lunging for the first week. Then start doing a few minutes of trotting up the hills once a week after that. Next month, if she's doing well, I'll consult Dr. Wheeler again and if she's all clear we will start small X-rails again. Honestly I probably won't be doing 18" and 2' again for several months. And it's really a waiting game as it is.
We still don't know how well or how bad she will respond to all this. Dr. Wheeler said it's very reasonable to think she could be sound for lower level and light dressage work if jumping becomes out of the question.
On a side note, check out this new halter!
I also found a fly spray that doesn't seem to be bothering her. Bug Block. We are sort of starting to think that it's something in the hay. Amber isn't the only one who has hives now. *** claims nothing new has been done to the hay, but I'm just skeptical. There's no way I can take her OFF her hay permanently, and really no way I can do it temporarily. Her turnout has roundbales right now because they are locked off the grass so it can grow (which it has - I don't see why they haven't been allowed out again).
At least it isn't the huge welts that it was. I'm thinking that maybe the hay gave her an allergic reaction, and then the Pyhrana irritated the hives (the oil-based mixture is pretty strong), making the welts.
I really wish I knew what the problem was, though.
But yeah. I'm so thrilled. I feel like this is pretty much the final length. We have found the problem, the main problem is a chronic problem, and it's going to be a matter of seeing just how chronic is is, and how it's going to limit her. Finally, finally, I know what's been going on. And we have "fixed" it. But it's not over yet. We have to continue to improve her hind end strength to try to prevent it, or at least prevent it from happening very often. It could still come out that she is limited to flatwork or trail rides.
I just want to take a moment to say to many individuals - I WAS RIGHT. It was everything I thought from almost the beginning. Her pelvis. She was NOT lazy, never was. I have to start trusting my gut more. I was right on the money about what was making her lame before any professional would entertain the idea. I was also right, recently, about her feet - the old farrier WAS the cause of her WLS (which is gone now, thanks to Cat's AWESOME trim). Now her feet and body are finally on the right track. I am SO grateful to Dr. Wheeler, Dr. Heather, Cat, and Dr. Baker. You saved my girl and I will never, ever forget it.