The optimistic side of me was thinking maybe Lucy could go back to walking under saddle for a month or two, and then maybe do some trotting down the road.
The pessimistic side of me was sure this horse was never going back to work and would be an expensive and beautiful lawn ornament forever.
The vet hadn't met Lucy before, so she did a whole exam, including palpating her suspensory ligaments on all four legs, palpating her neck, back, and hind end. She flexed her and had her assistant trot her out, which was good because I am in no shape to run! She flexed mildly positive in her front left and hind right, but those legs have a tiny bit of arthritis in them and those findings haven't changed since I got her, so we aren't worried about that. The vet did tell me she takes flexions into account but she never looks at them as deciding factors. Lucy looked fabulous on the lunge line, even stretching down at the trot to the right and left. The vet said if she had any pain in her back she would no be stretching so well! Lucy was feisty at the canter but since I have been so sick, I haven't done anything with her, so she's probably feeling fresh. Typical Lulu.
After she got a little workout on the lunge line, we brought Lucy back up to the barn and the vet palpated her neck, spine, and SI again. I stuffed cookies into her mouth to keep her mind off of it. She is a very touchy horse so it's hard to get a good reading when the vets are poking and prodding her. She just HATES to be poked and prodded! She will pin her ears, swish her tail, and act like a jerk and the whole time we're standing there wondering, is that pain? or is that the classic mare face? The first time the vet palpated Lucy, Lu was a total witch. The second time, after lunging, I had those cookies and she was like, OMG COOKIES and did not even pay one lick of attention to the vet. The vet was really happy with those findings - she was poking her pretty hard so if there was any pain, Lucy would have let us know, and she didn't react at all!
After that, the vet did the hoof testers on Lucy's feet and surprisingly, she was not foot sore at all. The vet said, ok, you have free rein to put this horse back to work! And I said, ok, should I just walk her? And she said, nope, there's no reason she can't trot and canter too. WOW!! Not what I was expecting at all. Of course I am going to take things a lot slower than that. I think it would be irresponsible to rush through putting her back into work when she hasn't had any weight on her back in six months, and she has had such a low activity level. I think walking on a loose rein and encouraging long and low relaxation for a little while is a good place to start. I would love if she could handle going out on trail rides, because she really loves it out there and she is better behaved than in the ring. Then once she is going well at the walk, if she wants to trot (and if she behaves herself!!) she can have a little trot. We'll see how it goes!
So that was absolutely WONDERFUL news and I came home thinking, "that was the best vet appointment EVER!". She didn't even want to ultrasound her, so Lucy didn't have to get clipped! I got out of the appointment spending less than $200, which never happens! I was on cloud 9.
THEN, the day got even better. You see, I have been holding onto a pretty big secret:
I am expecting a baby, of the human variety :D
I am just shy of three months pregnant, and I had a doctor's appointment today. We heard the baby's heartbeat and were given the green light to tell everyone! We had already told our immediate families and some close friends, but I am so glad I don't have to keep the secret anymore because it was stressing me out!!
I have been feeling extremely sick with the pregnancy and then I got pneumonia on top of all that, so the last two weeks were challenging to say the least. I have lost ten pounds, "look like crap" according to my barn owner (lol) and overall I feel like garbage! I can't wait until I am through the first trimester and onto the craving lots of delicious stuff stage!
What does this mean for Lucy? Not a whole hell of a lot, except I won't be the one riding her :( She is just too hot and unpredictable to risk it. I am sad that I won't be able to enjoy any blizzard rides this year because they are truly one of the best parts of living in New England in the winter (actually, one of the ONLY good parts), but I hope someone else can. Maddy and my husband are going to help put her back in work, and if she is well-behaved, I will look for an excellent leaser down the road. I invested in a fresh tube of Ace, though we will try her without it to start.
I debated not doing anything with her until the Spring but the vet said "absolutely not" because she would be starting almost from scratch fitness-wise. Right now she looks really good, even still has a topline and a nice butt. After another six months off, though, she may lose more fitness and then we'd be risking more injury as she started going under saddle again. The vet also told me that with back injuries, keeping them going actually helps the muscles to lengthen out and build up, instead of atrophy. The vet was very happy and impressed that Lucy's muscle tone seems so great even after all this time off. That's a Thoroughbred, for you!
I will say that knowing I'm pregnant at the same time my broken horse is finally coming to the point where she can be ridden again has been really tough emotionally. I am of course thrilled that I am going to be a mommy, but at the same time I love my horse and have made so many sacrifices for her and it just sucks that it's going to be another 7 months-ish before I can ride! I have never gone so long in my life without riding. I hope my patience pays off and that she handles the winter well, with no further injuries. I would LOVE to be able to take her to just one little event late next summer.
So that is the story!