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We Are Flying Solo

March 20, 2016

Stupid Stifles Suck

I appear to have an 's' theme lately.   I'm not fond of this addition.

Encore continues to enable my phenomenal overthinking powers.  It's probably easier to just turn the volume up for you (warning: brain insides not necessarily or consistently rational), internal dialogue follows -

Ok, I'm finally able to begin putting us back together.  Topline & butt need remuscle-ing.  Task doable!

Learn your stifles (pic
DEC:  Hmmm, he still feels a bit loose behind.  And is sore in left stifle after a brief but focused long line session.   I don't feel evidence of any tears, consult Dr. Bob (wow, thanks Android, for automatically filling in his name in draft, way to rub it in).

No edema or other damage found; cortisone for both stifles & a steroid to help boost us up out of the unfit-loose-sore-more-rest-unfit maddening cycle (want to avoid blister if possible).  Commence Plan Hill-acious.

JAN:  Hey, muscle definition!  We can hop some things calmly!  I'm still getting some slip behind, we just work through it, right?  Bute & baby steps?  Annual back injections (see TFS Injection 101 here), check, they take 3 weeks to settle, patience, right?


FEB:  Mmmnggghm, this is still NQR.  I KNOW him, the vibe is off & he's crabby.

Test on hills.  Not terrible.  Test in arena.  Maybe he's better.  Test on longer trail hills.  Dammit.  Not better.

Pampering is so exhausting...
MAR:  Inspect saddle.  Some small lumps, time to fluff, ok, try other saddle, will have fitter out to adjust.  Better.  Wait, what was that?

Put hands on horse.  Oh, maybe the 20 knots along left side of withers, back & butt explain something. *facepalm*  BUT.  Task doable.  Commence Plan Bodywork. 

Test bareback to remove confounding saddle variable.  Better!  And lots of nice new pops in carrot stretches as things relax.  AND I can work deep into hips & stifle tissues without pain response like he had when he DID tear something.  Yay!

Wait, maybe - nope, not better.  But muscles feel smoother, continue bodywork.  What if I - no, waffle time is over.  Let's get to the bottom of this. 

Yeah, that's the condensed version. :/   But we reconvene with Dr. Bob Tuesday.   There will be heinously thorough inspection, but research & consultation indicate: act now, get the rehab done, so maybe, hopefully, please pretty please, we can bloody well MOVE ON.

 At least that's the Plan.


  1. Yeah stupid stifles DO suck. Sunny has issues with hers, as well. I'm still on the fence about training her, but I'm going to give it a go. I'm not a heavyweight, nor do I ride a lot so hoping for the best.

    1. Solo's were loose and poppy when I bought him, but after initial strengthen, well, no more issues with THAT part. And at least Encore has clean rads. Basically, never let your horse get out of shape - stupid inconvenient job/life taking up time. I'm probably jinxing myself, but at least he chose a part where fix = ride. *knocks all reachable wood* :/

      But definitely give Sunny a go with focus on hills and long slow distance. It really does make all the difference and as I read many articles on stifles this winter, it was a good reminder of how complex a joint it is, yet almost always improved by "simply" strengthening quad muscles (as opposed to lower leg joints, which have no muscle, so make all plans more difficult!). Keep us updated!

  2. I did a stifle program with my horse, including lots of backing up, slow stepping over objects and sideways tail pulls. I found a program online that worked email me at and I can send you what I did.

    1. Those are great staples of our program all the time, definitely helpful.

  3. Aw how frustrating. Good luck !

  4. That's super frustrating! Hopefully you'll have some answers soon. Also I'm curious what bodywork you do - would love some tips on that!

  5. It's always something. :-/ fingers crossed for nothing too complicated.

  6. Thank you, all, wish I had better news. Jen, I'll check my archives when I can put myself back together & can also share lots of tips.