This was said to me by a friend this week. I love how wise she is.
I've started and stopped this post a few times. So here we go.
This post is not about Steele- it's about Irish. There's background on him on this post: http://journeywithadancinghorse.blogspot.ca/2012/08/in-which-you-meet-irish.html
A few weeks ago my farrier was here and he noticed that Irish had a sore on the front of each fetlock. I've noticed those off and on and they were driving me crazy because I couldn't figure out how he was hurting himself. The farrier- who's a horseman I highly respect said "the only time I've seen these is when a horse has a hind end problem. Instead of using their hind legs to get up from a roll or laying down they use their front and get up like a cow does. This causes the sores.
As soon as he said that the penny dropped. For the past year our training has stalled. He's not been off or lame but getting him to use his hind end was getting harder and harder. And he wasn't developing muscle over his back or hindend. I'm a dedicated rider- I ride often and work towards goals. When I receive instruction I try to follow it to the best of my ability. I couldn't figure out why weren't gaining ground. Then other things came to creep in- leg yields were suddenly hard, his walk, which always had a lateral tenency was lateral almost all the time- especially going downhill whether I was riding or he was in his field. It was becoming harder to get him off his forehand. Of course, hind sight being 20/20 all of this makes sense but it crept up so slowly and gradually that I just got used to it as it progressed. There were other symptoms that I won't bore you with. Once Paul made his statement it all came together.
So I called my vet and described my symptoms. He came out and did an exam. He was thinking it was hocks- that Irish was developing arthritis.
However, it's not his hocks. It's neurological in origin. Irish is having trouble coordinating his hind end. If you pull on his tail you could- if you kept going- pull him over. The cause is still unkown- it could be an injury, arthritis or a tumour. It can't be EPM- we don't have possums here. Right now he's being treated with anti inflammatory drugs- Prevocox (sp?)
The good news is that I continue to ride him- he's not dangerous (although I'll be careful). Thank heavens I have my own place- that means I can keep him with me and comfortable. He's not sore and he's not unhappy. I doubt that he'll miss showing. :)
Horses- they break your heart and heal it all in one go.