Earlier this month, I posted about Koda hunching in response to being asked to collect at a lope. It first occurred in January. After a spotty stretch of riding, that included some loping but without collection, it happened again.
After describing the situation, some great knowledge & suggestions were shared by readers. I was reminded how easy things are to assume. It's always good to look for additional perspectives. Your responses are helpful, and often make me think outside of the box.
As a designer by trade and a curious life learner who is always asking questions, it's a place I like to frequent. I'm the shopper who has to look at all the options, before selecting anything. The person who raises their hand in class, or shares idea's in search of a business solution. I want to explore all the options, and do what is in the better interest of my horse.
I am still considering treatments, to what I've found out so far:
We took a closer look to make sure my saddle still fits Koda, and think it does.
I tried multiple ways to get a hold of the equine massage therapist that had worked on Koda previously, a brief "I'll call you back" response wasn't followed through. With a vet visit scheduled, I held off looking for a new masseuse to work with.
In the interim, our trainer briefly checked Koda's back for soreness. She showed me what applying pressure on either side of the spine might reveal. Much to her surprise, he responded with some soreness. We lunged Koda and watched him move. He appears to also be sore in his hocks, the related sore area in his back.
After explaining the hunching situation to our vet, he checked Koda similarly yet much more in-depth. He concluded Koda is showing soreness in his right hock, and a little sore in his back. Neither were categorized as bad. Regardless you were right, he wasn't just being a snot - he is sore.
The vet said to either try bute & rest for 5 days to see if that would help alleviate the situation, or inject his hocks. I knew the latter would be his recommendation. Our vet already knows I am hesitant about hock injections, and was likely trying to give me another option with the bute route. I think the bute would likely be a temporary patch, but that could be said about any option. No one I know has a crystal ball, wouldn't that be helpful? The hock injections could be one and done, or a life long expensive route - not to mention the risks involved. I asked if chiro, acupuncture, massage or stretching/strengthening/supplements might help, all possibilities that could be tried. Altho in his experience (he has plenty, and is well respected) where hocks are concerned, his recommendation is that injections are the best treatment for sore hocks. We talked some about different outcomes and areas effected, with the various treatments mentioned.
Their main concern with this situation revolves around my safety. It's good that Koda let's me/us know when things are bothering him, to avoid further injury to himself. However Brad, our trainer and I, all know Koda's personality well. He isn't the type of horse that takes care of his rider when things bother him, which could lead to much worse for both of us. I'm not a strong enough rider to make him do whatever regardless, and I don't like that path anyways. I don't want Koda to be in pain, or be the cause of pain. This is all very unsettling.
Koda is a trail horse. I don't have to lope him collected, or lope him at all. However that doesn't seem like a good solution for a young trained horse, who turns seven in a few weeks. I've been searching for more info online, and so much of what I've found about hock pain revolves around using injections (mostly pro) as a treatment.
Decisions, decision, decisions...any additional thoughts or resources to share?
9 hours ago