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We Are Flying Solo

August 25, 2011

In Which Dr. Bob Breaks My Heart

Someone once said to me, "Treasure every ride, every run, because you never know when it might be your last one."

And I always have, because if I have learned one thing about horses and about eventing, it is that the sucker punch is inevitable.

I took Solo in to Dr. Bob on Tuesday for his fall hock injections, but I also wanted his back investigated some more. He has been doing relatively well until about two weeks ago, when suddenly the soreness escalated to the point where on some days, he wouldn't let me pick up one of his hind legs. Concerned, I was.

Dr. Bob poked, Solo protested. Dr. Bob said, "Hmmmmm...." and stared thoughtfully. My blood pressure turns into a geyser when Dr. Bob is stumped. Dr. Bob is never stumped.

He proffered several possibilities, each of which was tough to diagnose. He talked about xrays where they hang the horse by his back feet from the ceiling after cashing your $2000 check. I heard the words "ossification," "restriction of vertebral movement," and "then he could only jump crossrails." I think my brain shut down at about that point. :Please stop telling me about impossible things," I begged. I am sure he could read the yawning chasm in my soul quite plainly on my face.

This is the best I can gather - best case scenario, since I have worked out most of the knots in the injured muscle, the whole hip area is very loose and the muscle has to rebuild itself and will do so. However, in the worst case scenario, the body will attempt to stabilize that area by laying down bone around the vertebrae, at which point mobility goes away. Which means Solo's career would be over.

All I can think is that had I simply listened to my gut reaction and scratched that Sunday morning in Virginia, none of this would be on the table. One small wrong decision can bring that house of cards crumbling down around your ears when you least expect it.

For most people in this sport, they could simply pick up a prospect and let the healing take its time. I can't seem to figure out a way to make the money magically happen though, so I am just as stuck as Solo is, everything on hold while his body decides what to do. That event in October I've been looking forward to all year? Probably not going to happen. Fall season? Not looking good. Spring season? Oh, if there are any universal powers out there, please let good things happen.


  1. I am so sorry to hear this. Sending positive thoughts that he heals with full mobility.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear your bad news. It is always tough waiting to see if they will heal, and it's always easy to go to the worst case scenario. Hang in there though, waiting until spring is better than never. We'll be sending lots of healing vibes your way.
    Adventures In Colt Starting

  3. Aww, I'm so sorry to hear that. Sending lots of healing thoughts Solo's way.

  4. So very daughter may be faced with this reality also, I fear. Taking her 15 yr old TB eventer to the vet next week. Lame since her last event - seems to be localized in the hip area.
    Sending healing thoughts to you & Solo.

  5. My heart is breaking for you! It is the unknown and then the what ifs that are emotional killers.

    You could not have known then what you know now. Do not beat yourself up over what can not be changed and was certainly not intentional.

    I will send you and Solo all the good energy I can. It might help.

    Be good to yourself, too...

  6. Ah, such a heartbreak. Sending good thoughts your way. Life is full of surprises. Darn it.

  7. Oh no. :-( Horses can lift us up so high or bring us crashing down so quickly. Fingers crossed for the best case scenario!

    Would you like to be vice president of my I Really Really <3 My Horse But Can't Ride Him At The Moment Because He Has Some Kind of Mystery Hind-end Lameness & I Am Unfortunately Not Wealthy club? We can eat Drumstick ice cream cones and talk about our opnies.

  8. Fingers crossed for best possible news.

    And for once, you and Friz have started a club that I pray to God I never, ever ever join.

    Hang in there.

  9. Aw poo :( :( Well girl, you are in good company at least! Let's form a club!
    But in all seriousness, I hope you get some good news soon. :(

  10. Good thoughts going out to you and Solo. And don't second-guess yourself. One never knows what different path life would have taken "if only." We always think it would have been better, but we can never know that. While Solo is healing (positive thoughts there that he IS going to heal), how about looking for a free lease to ride? I see them all the time on Craigslist in CO. I know it's not the same as riding Solo, but there are advantages to it. Hang in there!

  11. I've been following your blog for a while and I am sorry that you and Solo are faced with this difficult situation. "What if..." is a deep, dark, chasm that none of us need to explore. Instead, please, consider that God sometimes closes one door to open another, better one. And let's face it horses aren't just another ride, they are beloved companions. Their worth is measured in much more important ways than rankings and ribbons. Anyone reading this blog can see that Solo is very dear to you and fills a important niche in your life. Don't count him out yet! And even if eventing isn't in his future, maybe he has a greater future as a dressage star or trail buddy or the ever important mental health therapist (aka a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen for those of us with overly stressful lives). May God always shine His light on you and lead you down the right paths.

  12. Thank you so much to all of you for your kind words. They always mean more than you know. I'm determined to see Solo through to the other side, whatever the path may be!!

  13. Oh my God, I'm so sorry! Healing vibes, prayers, and whatever else I can muster for the shiny red beast (and for your sanity, too).

  14. Well this is crappy news for sure but lets keep our fingers crossed. You may get a horse that may no longer jump but will live a very comfortable life with you, regardless. We are all behind you and have big shoulders for you to lean on and an ear to lend ya when you need to vent and let it all out.

  15. Oh, no... haven't stopped by in a few days and this is what I find. You are doing ALL YOU CAN to help Solo feel better and the rest is up to You-Know-Who and Dr. Bob! *Sends more positive thoughts and healing rays*

  16. Not sure how I missed this post but just wanted to say I will pray solo heals properly. He is lucky to have you.