Remember when about 3 weeks ago I got that new, pretty bay horse, that was making me a badass barrel horse? The one I trained for a girl about three years ago? Well, he hasn’t ridden right since I got him back; he had kicked the barn and cut his leg about a year and a half ago and had cut the backside of his fetlock on his right hind and hadn’t been able to be sound for a year and a half. I only got him because he was now *sound*.
I knew he hadn’t felt right, but I wasn’t sure what was wrong. I really thought based on how he was riding around that he had EPM. So I called my favorite vet in the whole wide world, Doc Howell, and yesterday he went over him with a fine-toothed comb. And what we found was that he was a 3+ on his right hind. Doc wasn’t sure based on how he moved if it was the hock or the stifle but really felt like it was more the stifle than the hock. We took a picture of the hock, and then the stifle (they had to shoot about 15 pics of the stifle). He looks at the hock and mutters “Beautiful”. But the second stifle pic they took, doc is doing the, tilt-the-head, “what is bothering this poor horse so bad” mumbling that he does. And then we saw it. What appears to be a penny sized bone chip in that right stifle. Of course the same stifle that Shuttle had problems with. So that brought on another set of several more x-rays so they could see exactly where it is. Doc asks, “is this horse worth joint surgery?” and of course I’m freaking out, thinking, “well yes, I’m sure he is, but I’m still paying on the last one!” Before we saw the bone chip- I was further freaking out thinking, “Don’t inject him. Don’t inject him, don’t inject him! Remember what happened last time you injected a stifle? Don’t!”
He is referring me to the same doctor that did Shuttle’s surgery two years ago, and they’re thinking it will cost somewhere between $1700 and 2k on the surgery. Two years ago his previous owner was offered $15k for the horse when I had him in training and didn’t want to sell him so if this can be removed and he can return to the willing, well-traveling horse that I remember I think it’s probably worth it.
In the meantime, I found out yesterday from his horseshoer’s wife (my friend Jennifer) that he not only kicked the barn and cut the backside of his right back fetlock, but that when he did it, he buried himself up to his stifle and had to be extricated from the tin. So we’re thinking that he probably torqued the stifle when he had his barn accident and that it wasn’t the cut on his leg that was keeping him unsound, that it was the bone-chip in his stifle that was doing it- and the vet was probably negligent in not looking elsewhere for the lameness. Lameness of the stifle manifests itself differently than that of the lower leg- which is why doc was pretty sure it was his stifle. This is why if it’s a lameness issue, you should use a vet that’s spent time on the track. That is just my own opinion.
For the sake of my pocketbook, I am going to call up to the vet in Sturgis, SD that we use for some things to see if has the facilities and the wherewithal to remove it and then have a copy of his x-rays sent up to see if he can remove it based on where it is. I know the clinic at Weatherford (Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery) has a state of the art facility and if it can come out, they can do it there. This is the facility where Shuttle was housed for a month 2 summers ago.
Needless to say, I’m really really bummed.