May 1, 2010

My Vet Has Mystical Powers

Not too long ago, I took Solo in to Dr. Bob to have his Coggins pulled.  Dr. Bob LOVES to talk, so inevitably we end up chatting about 14 different things at each appointment, as he throws out his rather impressive depth of knowledge on all things equine.  On this particular day, he displayed his uncanny ability to read a horse's body like a newspaper without laying a hand on it.  Just standing there, eyeing Solo as he was tied to the trailer, this is what Dr. Psychic shared with me as my mouth was hanging open in awe.  Apologies if it's a little disjointed, I came home afterward and frantically wrote down everything I could remember, he threw a LOT of information at me!!

It appears that I have been riding him much more round (here he points at a muscle at the base of the neck in front of the withers that apparently gave us away) and we have moved up a level over the winter (OMG, um, yes, yes we have).

Occasional back soreness is due to that fact that while the front end has developed muscle brilliantly, the back end needs to catch up; this is probably why back toes are dragging so much too. But he shows no sign of stifle issues (fighting farrier, refusal to pick up canter leads, extreme handedness, strong toeing out), which I had asked about just to make sure that any resistance I was feeling wasn't coming from this.  His body at this point plateaued until his hind end can catch up to the front and middle.

There may still be a little scar tissue inside the foot from the low heel problem we've spent the last many moons fixing.  The outside looks great, but the internal structures take much longer to heal.  This tissue will eventually break up and heal completely and is probably pretty close to complete already since his angles have been looking great.

We should do a blood panel this summer to check cell counts, etc. This will also show any parasite loads since stuff encysted in intestines will not show up on a fecal. Horses generally have a drop in cell levels in summer due to heat stress. For older horses a steroid shot can help boost these cell levels so they thrive under a workload better.  (me back in:  I intend to do some research on this one.  I don't want to be shooting steroids into my horse on a whim, but I want to know for the future if this could be a useful tool.)

These days, we can help our horses stay more active and be healthier longer.  Medical advances have allowed us to provide better living through chemistry.

Use different exercises to help build a more balanced body (me again:  Dr. Bob has evented his own horses, which I love as it means that he understands the needs and development of the eventing horse).  Extended gaits work the gaskin and forearm. Collected work works the butt and abs. Use lots of hillwork always.

After your last spring competition, give Solo a two-three week break in summer to just bum around. Let any internal stress injuries which have not presented settle and heal. Do occassional light walking hacks only, no effort. After such a break, it takes about 4 weeks to bring back into condition.

Whew, I think that was it!!


  1. What a vet! He seems like a great guy.

  2. Dr. Bob is a great vet and is always full of loads of information. And it seems you have picked up the ability to read Chinese?

  3. But of course, lh, can't you?? It says "Wow, Solo is the awesomest horse ever, I wish I was as cool as you and had a horse that shiny!!"