The brave little pony

Fritzy had a rather disappointing six-month check in early March.

He scored a 3/5 lame before flexions, his hocks have continued to straighten, his fetlocks have begun to drop, he has further muscle atrophy in his hindquarters and his left hind is overcompensating for the right with exaggerated movement.

My wonderful vet wanted to check him again at six and twelve months post DSLD diagnosis. I had believed that she hoped that he would stabilize enough so that after one year of recovery, we would be able to talk about the possibility of light trail riding.

It turns out that she had expected to see improvement rather than decline by this six month check, rather than the twelve month visit. I’ve always valued her straightforwardness, it is always delivered with the utmost professionalism and her personal emotions are usually withheld to not cloud the owner’s. Her obvious disappointment was crushing. Thank God I hadn’t been expecting positive news.

Thankfully, in the barn he is bright and happy… and sometimes rather boisterous. But contradictory to his shenanigans, if you’re observant you can see his pain. He digs a little hole to rest his foot in turnout, he piles shavings under his leg in his stall, he sits on his bucket. I have the most brave little pony. He must be hurting but he still wants to play and, I think, to have a job.

He’s been officially off since September so that’s eight months of boredom for this busy-body six year old. I can’t tell you how badly I wish I could longe him. You can see the energy just bubbling out of his coat.

He’s been a bit difficult to hand walk recently. In truth, he was never awesome in the back part of the property. Add eight months of “rest” plus a young colt egging him on – and you have a fuzzy kite on your hands. But I picked up a few tricks from a barnmate and have started working in his paddock where he’s (sliiiightly) more focused. I think we’ll be more manageable after a few weeks of consistency.

I have to confess that I’ve been rather neglectful. I visit him of course, but I have a hard time making the time to “play.” It’s crazy, I know. What’s the difference in scheduling riding time or walking/grooming time? For whatever reason, I just have this mental block. Maybe it’s depression, maybe it’s guilt about leaving work and life to just hang out at the barn, maybe I’m anxious to walk the dragon, maybe I want to picture him as I saw him two years ago, I’m not really sure. But I’ve vowed to make a change.

I’ve decided to schedule myself for five slots a week for pony education time. And I maaaay or may not have added Quiessence to his supplements to get us through the first few months of our new/old schedule. 🙂 I hope I can make him feel more loved and important than I have been.

I’ve been watching fun groundwork videos and look forward to working on handling. He’s never been quiet in the cross ties and it might be time we learned! Just because he’s a delicate flower doesn’t mean he doesn’t need to play by the rules, right? 

Have any favorite training resources or tips? Share below and I’ll post my faves soon!  

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