This past week has been fairly exciting here. The week started off with us moving to a new barn, and on our way there, we went to the vet’s clinic to get Hope’s sacroiliac joint injected.
The new barn we moved to is about 20 minutes closer to us than the boarding barn we were at, and Hope now has a huge paddock to herself that she has access to 24/7, and also field turnout with other horses (something that Hope hasn’t had in a couple of years).
I decided to get her SI injected because although I noticed a difference with the acupuncture, the effects didn’t last more than a couple of weeks, and the vet had said if that happened then we might want to consider doing an SI injection.
After Hope’s injection on Monday, we carried on to the new barn. In typical Hope fashion she settled in right away and started exploring her new ‘house’ and meeting her neighbours over the fence. As per the vet’s instructions, I gave her three days off and planned to ride her for the first time on Thursday.
When I got to the barn on Thursday, Hope had graciously removed one of her shoes for the farrier, even though she wasn’t scheduled to come out for another week.
My farrier was fortunately able to come out on Thursday, but it wouldn’t be until fairly late, making me unable to ride that day. I figured it wasn’t the end of the world as the extra day off would give the injection more time to take effect.
On Friday, with Hope’s complete set of new shoes and four days post SI injection, I was able to ride her. I was hoping that I would be able to notice some difference with the injection, but I figured that there wouldn’t be any earth shattering change as Hope normally takes about a week for any treatments to take full effect.
Our ride was, to my horror, utterly terrible. Hope was tense and looking at everything, and even though I had hand walked her in the arena on previous days, she still found plenty of things to stare at. To add on to this, she felt really stiff and was not at all willing to relax or take the contact, and a couple of times she even stumbled behind. I figured that her stiffness was just because she had a few days off, and the tripping was a result of the injection and she was still figuring out how to use her newly lubricated backend. However, I did feel that we weren’t giving a very favorable first impression to the other people at the barn.
I wasn’t noticing any positive difference in her, until we started to canter. The canter has always been the hardest gait for Hope, with the left lead being particularly difficult. But her canter felt amazing, the best it’s ever felt, even though she was stiff. I was excited to finally see some positive difference, and figured that I would continue to notice an increasing difference as the days went on.
Saturday’s ride was only marginally better than the previous day. Hope was slightly less tense, but still stiff. Her canter still felt wonderful though.
This morning I decided to lunge her before I rode her so that she could move around freely and hopefully loosen up a little more. She looked really good, and her left lead canter looked the same as her right lead. Normally her left lead canter is a little more off balanced and flailing than her right, so for it to look normal is a huge difference.
In our actual ride she was fantastic. I had never felt her so willing, so supple, and so able to carry herself and go to work. Everything didn’t just feel good, it felt easy.
I’m looking forward to seeing how she is tomorrow, and I have my fingers crossed that today wasn’t just a fluky good day. I really hope that this works for her and that we have finally found the answer to her chronic always-slight-stiffness. For now, I’m crossing all my crossables and waiting for tomorrow.