In which my horse is lame and I try to learn a new skill to help her

Fiddle is lame, and I am sad.

Doctor Fehr says that most horses with this kind of injury would heal up
"pretty well" if they just got thrown out to pasture for 6 months or a year.
But "pretty well" healed isn't good enough for Fiddle, so we are doing more.

Our best guess is that she did a "horse thing" in the pasture, aka "did something stupid and I can't tell you because it's a secret horse thing, nyahh."

At first I was worried that our extremely long endurance season had permanently injured my mare.

We won a lot of awards this year, but none of them would be worth anything
if the distance had harmed Fiddle

Then I remembered that we had taken a few lessons after ride season was over and before she started short-striding.  We have video from a lesson and she was definitely sound for that.

A few weeks later, the video taken during the warm-up to a lesson shows something entirely different.

(the people talking in the background are discussing another horse)

So what happened?

I guess you have to be a horse to know, and I'm not a horse.

Of course, I immediately called the in, I unsaddled the Dragon and stood beside the trailer in the parking lot to call the vet before we even drove home.

Dr. Fehr came out the next week to do some diagnostics on Fiddle (and on Flower, who is showing an unrelated lameness).

Flexion testing, starting down low and working up the leg, both sides

Flower's soreness seems to be in her hocks.  But Fiddle's was a little harder to isolate.

Dr. Fehr did flexion testing on both hind legs, starting at the pasterns and working upwards. 

Flex the left hock for 60 seconds, then watch the horse trot out

Finally, we got to the right side stifle.

Please do not try this test at home!  Dr Fehr emphasizes that it is easy to
injure a horse with this maneuver , and it should be done only by a vet.

And there it was.

We took some x-rays to rule out a bone injury and arthritic changes.

No visible bone damage or arthritis.  That's good.

Fiddle isn't pastured with any other horses, and the goats can't reach up to her stifle, so we would have been surprised to find a kick-injury on her stifle.  And we didn't.

The injury appears to be soft-tissue only, and she has a good prognosis for return to her full work.  Her stifle was injected with hyaluronic acid to ease the swelling and speed healing in the area.  We will also add Adequan to her regimen (as $oon a$ I get paid again, that $tuff is expen$ive!).

Fee had to be sedated twice for the injection--that spot is ouchy and tickle-y!

So now, we wait.


Waiting.  Patiently waiting.

Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.


Our treatment plan:

4 weeks stall/paddock rest with hand-grazing.  I've set up her corral panels in the yard so she can have a few hours each day eating grass in a confined area.  That also gives her a daily change of scenery.

We are two weeks into the stall rest now, and she's handling confinement pretty well (but I've added a dose of Quietex to her breakfast, just to make sure--we don't need her getting excited and leaping around for any reason!)

After 4 weeks of enforced rest, I can WALK her in-hand, 5 minutes per day the first week, 10 minutes the next week and so on.

After 4 weeks of hand-walking, when we are up to 20 minutes of walking per day, we will re-check with the vet, and possibly start 5 minutes of RIDING per day AT A WALK.

It's gonna be a long boring Spring, sigh.

But bringing my Dragon back to full soundness will be worth it.  

So I'm patient.  Patient.  PATIENT!!!

Okay, I'm not patient.  

But I will borrow other horses for lessons and trails, and I will follow the doc's instructions.  Dr. Fehr is a smart vet.  If she says I can be patient, maybe I can be.  




  1. Hey there, long time reader, seldom commenter.. Have you ever heard of Pentosan? More vets are liking it over Adequan & I believe it is slightly cheaper.. Just wanted to share, my friends mare is on it & has GREAT results!
    I hope she heals fast!

  2. Oh no! Hopefully rehab will go quickly and smoothly. Been there, done that... No fun! I'm not very patient either, but it is worth it. Perhaps you could take on another STB project horse during her time off to keep you busy? ;)

    I really liked the book "Back On Track" when I was rehabbing a suspensory tear, it has ideas for getting through stall rest sane, and nice success stories of horses returning to full work to inspire you. Good luck!

    1. Oops, the book is called "Back To Work" !

  3. Ugh, sending healing wishes to Fiddle!!!

  4. :( Oh. Hope Fiddle is feeling better soon.

    Why is it that it that you need to be patient even when you aren't the patient? Hmph, no sense at all this language/life.

    Best wishes!

  5. Oh no! Time for more trick training.

  6. Sorry to hear! Surprised you kept it under your hat for so long, but I'm now sending healing vibes for Fiddle and good/patient thoughts to you. Rehab is a pain!

  7. :(((( So sorry to hear about this. Sending healing vibes and good rehab thoughts to Fiddle.

  8. I missed this. UGGGGH. I'm sorry!


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