So there are many reasons why I absolutely detest this time of year, its cold and wet and it gets dark early and all motivation to ride has a habit of leaving me when its miserable.
However, it’s also because my beautiful Lux has arthritis in both hocks, and likely in his neck. Which means that as soon as the temperatures drop like they have he gets stiff behind and never quite looks 100’% unless he's been walking for about 15/20 minutes. I always worry if he is comfortable or should he be on some devils claw etc to help with the inflammation and pain I know he must be in
I first got lux 4.5 years ago, and he wasn’t right when I got him, but neither was he in the best condition so we fed him up and started bringing him back into work, and he just wasn’t right, so out the physio came, found him tight in his SI joint and lame in L hind. So 6 weeks of walking in straight lines and in hand pole work and there was a 98~% improvement, so we began a bit of trot and increasing work load. And within days, he wasn’t right again.
Vet was the next step and x-rays showed arthritis so advanced both his hocks were fused but the disease progress was worse in his left. We medicated both hocks and SI with some improvement, so following the physios guidance we started working with what we had, and he stayed sound and generally was going really well.
We then moved to Norfolk to a yard with a heavy focus on jumping, and started to slowly reintroduce little jumps and poles into his life. I always kept the jumps low and never really went higher than a meter with him, and usually stuck to 70/80cm, as while he is 17hh, I am aware that increasing stress on his joints just wasn’t worth the hassle. However we soon had problems with intermittent lameness and not being right on and off despite joint supplements and anti-inflammatories.
Thankfully we found an absolutely fantastic equine sports massage and rehabilitation specialist, and with her continued support and treatments he became sound, but we quickly realised that Lux was not destined to be airborne at this stage, and the decision was made to stop jumping him. Very quickly the improvement was noticeable, and he stayed sound.
Because lux was now staying sound I found that his flat work started coming on leaps and bounds, and with increased core strength and correct work I found that I had a cracking looking show hunter on my hands, and so that is why we now do what we do. He is a fine example of his type and even at the royal Norfolk HOYS level judges really liked him.
Sadly in winter I effectively turn him away, and do the odd little hack or 10 mins in the school just top occupy his mind, but that’s as much as I can ever really do with him until February time when I have to slowly start re introducing work with walking hacks and light schooling or in-hand poles.
Now I know that I will not push this horse because physically he can’t handle it, but we will keep going out and showing off his beautiful face and if we remain unaffiliated then that is what we will do because there is no frilly or trophy in the world that will make me sacrifice his health and mental well being.