Today I received a call from my mom. “Happy Birthday!!!” she yelled into the phone, bringing a smile to my face. After some chitchat regarding how my day went and how lucky I was to have such good friends to make it special, she began to tell me how the horses were doing. I honestly did not believe my ears when she announced that “Rolex jumped great,” and “Bravo is clear to ride.”
Now, Rolex is my hunter. He was gifted to me at the beginning of my Junior year of High School, and I was able to move up through the levels on him over the course of my many years riding, and in doing so I gained a huge appreciation for the finesse and beauty of the Hunter division. Unfortunately, after a long show in Kentucky this summer, he came down lame with a concussion injury and was out for a few weeks. This wouldn’t have been a problem if it was not for the fungus that set in while he had time off, and it became extremely aggressive and attacked his legs horrendously. On top of that, when the fungus was almost healed, a strain became resistant and spread into his bloodstream to his back legs, causing one to swell and loose all of its sleek, shiny hair. So my poor beautiful horse, who was supposed to be sound in weeks, has been out of practice for months now with a horrifically swollen, grotesque leg. But thanks to a miracle vet just north of College Station, we were able to treat Rolex appropriately and he is now fit and healthy and ready to show.
A story that is even more hopeful is Bravo’s. This Holsteiner was my mom’s Jumper in 2010 and 2011 until he went mysteriously lame after another long show. After waiting and resting him, we realized his lameness was growing worse, not better, so my mom took him to get an MRI. The results showed a nasty bone spur taking over his ankle bone, and causing him a lot of pain. There was talk of turning him out to pasture or even putting him down to relieve him of his misery, but there were few options and we were struggling with how to handle this catastrophe. My mom had it the worst, since it never got easier on her after years of trying to find methods and tests and procedures that would at least make him comfortable, but nothing seemed to work. Until, that is, we signed Bravo up for a revolutionary stem cell treatment that consisted of multiple treatments spread out across a few months that was intended to stimulate correct regrowth of the bones in his ankle and hopefully dissolve the painful spur. So those few simple words, “Bravo is clear to ride,” meant so much more to me than their face value. They meant so much more to me than I could ever describe.
If you are around horses long enough, you will most certainly end up having to cope with a lameness problem. Horses are incredibly fragile creatures, and when they are in a work program, they can become injured just like any other professional athlete. It is a long and arduous process dealing with a lame friend, and as an impatient person myself I will admit there were times when riding and jumping and showing did not seem worth the heartache of caring for a sick friend, but when the stars align and God smiles upon you and heals your partner in crime, you know in your heart that you had some weak moments, but it was certainly all worth it, a million times over. So if you’re dealing with a lameness issue, find an extremely reputable and talented vet, and also look for other opinions. When you find a treatment that works, stick with it, and don’t deviate from the doctor’s orders. And also be sure to give your patient lots and lots of tender loving care, for if you believe he or she can get better, that’s half the battle.