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We Are Flying Solo

June 7, 2011

Dr. Bob's Magic Fingers

They always find something.

Going in, I knew Solo was struggling with some jumps and in a test ride last night, refusing to lift his back up and engage. In the past, back soreness has pointed to hind leg joint issues. I was expecting stifles, hocks, and needles to be involved in our visit.

To my vast and utter surprise, Solo flexed 100% clean and sound on both hind legs. I have always maintained that this horse would probably never pass a flex test, although I have never done one on him. Given that I know he has some mild hock arthritis and I know he's lopsided, I figured there'd always be a little something there. So my jaw pretty much dropped when he jogged off perfectly every time behind lifeshighway, who was working Amazing Friend duty, jogging my horse in 90 degree heat since I was lame.

Dr. Bob poked and prodded and then sent Solo and I into the round pen to demonstrate our free lunging skills. Which was fine till he wanted to see the canter. I eventually had to give up and redneck it bareback and barefoot with the halter to get the shiny beast to canter those tiny circles.

Good news: joints are fine. Clean, even, and moving well in all gaits. Dr. Bob was wowed by Solo's muscle condition and suspension when he moved. I basked a little.

Less than good, but not as bad as expected news: the problem appears to be deep muscle pulls in the large muscles of his back and hips. Likely cause, the too-short stadium warmup in VA. Muscle cells damaged in a pull turn into scar tissue, which must gradually be broken down and worked out.  If I want, we can go down to the vet school and play with MRI's, thermography, and all their goodies.  I snorted -- as if I have any money left at this point! -- and said, would it change our course of action?  Response:  probably not.  Ok then.

Rx: Start slow, with lots of stretching, bute, and light, stretchy works under saddle. After every ride, deep massage sore muscles with liniment or witch hazel/vinegar/water combo. Slowly incorporate long, stretchy trot, ground poles, then tiny cross rails and build back up from there.

I can't jump right now anyway till the knee is fixed, so we can take our time. Which is why I took him in when I did anyway -- all competition pressure is removed and all I HAVE to do at this point is keep him in condition.

So with some time and a lot of help from dear friends who I couldn't live without, the prognosis is good for a healed Solo!


  1. Glad it's not something joint/tendon related. Deep muscle takes a while to heal, but it usually does so completely.

  2. Good news! Bummer that anything is wrong at all, but at least it's totally fixable and will not cost you a gazillion dollars. I would use some Sore No More liniment or something else that has arnica in it -- that stuff is great!

  3. Glad to hear it's not anything with the tendons or joints.

  4. In all pretty darn good news. I hope the recovery is quick and complete!

  5. Thanks -- Frizz, I do have SoreNoMore, which I am going to try. Dr. Bob wasn't sure that would go deep enough, maybe I'll see if I can compare it and the witch hazel stuff.

  6. Yay! That's great news... something easily fixable.

    I second the suggestion for something with arnica. I've used it plenty of times on myself, and it seems to work wonders.

  7. Aww isn't that cute you two gimps get to heal together. I think you were born for each other :) Glad to hear he is going to be just fine.

  8. I came back to ask if you can please start a Share Dr. Bob program. Then I realized that the post title is a bit dirty, which made me chuckle. I would still like to commence the program, though; I'll send the Fed Ex Next Day Air box up pronto. Just make sure ya give him a water dish.

  9. jenj, yes I have arnica love too!

    Amy, who are you calling a gimp? Ok, well, yes we are.

    Frizz, I am not sure if USPS still condones shipping of Live Veterinarians. They would probably think the water dish is hiding a bomb or something. I guess if I poked air holes in the box, they can see in and check everything?

  10. Dr. Bob does indeed sound like a gem, so I'm glad I like my vet here in MO because I know you need him. Glad it's something that can be fixed with tincture of time (and I have heard good things about SNM, but I'm curious about the homemade potion). Also glad that Solo had the sense to unload you in stadium so the damage wasn't worse. Clever boy! XD

  11. ROFL, RW, he's going to have to work on his technique though -- I'd rather not end up on crutches every time!