Now that the blog has more than 2 people reading it, it's time for an update. Grace is feeling MUCH better! Dr. Hill's injected her left hock on April 20th. He told me to keep her quiet for 3-5 days and then start working her again. He said trails would be fine, straight lines, no turning or tight circles. He recommended bringing her back slowly, working up to a few steps of trot at a time. Dr. Hill's said I would know in two weeks if the hock injections would work, if not we would talk more about plan B, injecting the hock with alcohol to get it to fuse faster.
On day 4 if I as much as made eye contact with Grace in the pasture she would squeal and spin. She was starting to feel better. When I pulled her out to brush her that day she was snorting and blowing like something was going to eat her. I haven't seen this side of her in years. I planned to ride her the next day. She was a cow when I tacked her up! She would hardly stand still. I was ready for the worst on our walking trail ride. As soon as I swung a leg over her she settled right down. Even on that first ride I could feel her stepping up farther underneath herself. Her foot falls sounded different, she was no longer dragging her left hind toe.
Grace is very content to be back under saddle. She doesn't care that we are not running barrels, or going to flag team practices. As soon as we head out on a ride, her ears prick forward, and she gets that spring in her step. I began trotting her 1 week after I started riding her again. I came home one afternoon and I could tell she had been running in the pasture. The neighbors had been rebuilding their fence, she must have been showing off for them. I realized that if I didn't take the next step, she would do it herself. Her trot is wonderful! She no longer stabs her hind legs into the ground. It is much better on my lower back and her hock.
Since our last vet visit I have spent way too much time on the Internet talking to anyone who will talk about hocks. I have gone the spectrum from people who think horses hocks should never be injected to those that inject every six weeks so they can keep their horses going for competition. I have talked to barrel racers that will inject on Friday and compete on Saturday.
What I know is that my horse who I love like a child was in a lot of pain. I had her hock injected with steroids under the advise of my vet who I trust. The injection alleviated the pain and inflammation and my horse feels much better. At the same time I understand that her hock still looks as bad as it did on the x-ray 3 weeks ago, which is why I will not be out running barrels this summer. I will spend the summer doing everything I can to help Grace get stronger, and to utilize her hind end more efficiently. I promise to keep you all updated on her progress.