Thursday, 28 March 2013

Fred's Sticky Stifle - 28/03/2013

It continues to stick. It was locked this morning. Easter starts tomorrow, so I am going to excersise Fred with riding out every day - walking and trotting if she is up to it. I think that the time has come to really push her, as the Vet told me to 'Ease off the excersise to avoid stretching the ligament' a week ago and this seems to have made it worse.. It will make or break the results. Fred had plenty of excersise last Sunday though! I woke up to find that she had escaped. One of the sheep had broken into the turnout arena and then had burst through the electric fence tape. Fred had followed the sheep out onto the track and all I saw was Fred, galloping down the track followed by the sheep. Out of sight round the corner. Then the sheep galloping down the track followed by Fred. Out of sight round the corner. Then the Fred galloping down the track followed by the sheep, etc. I could hardly get dressed for laughing. As soon as they saw me, they both galloped to the gate and waited to be let in for breakfast - good girls!
Horses loves sheep!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Fred's Sticky Stifle - 25/03/2013

The weather has been so awful that it has been difficult to excersise Fred at all. I have turned all 3 mares out together, so they have had a lot of exersise themselves as they compete for 'Who is Emily's Best Friend!' Unfortunateley, Fred is no better and has started to kick out with her 'good' hind leg as well, so it is upsetting her now. I had her on the lunge last Friday and asked her to canter briefly, but she 'bunny-hopped', bouncing on both hind legs at once and couldn't do it at all. At canter, she is a cripple. The Vet comes back from Holiday next week so we are going to look at our options then. It is so sad.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Fred's Stifle Problem - Day 12

No difference I'm afraid. Still catching every stride this morning on both hind legs this time. I can't help but think that the op is a failure. If she is not improving in another week, the Vet has agreed to sever both Medial Ligaments as the research that showed increased arthritis after this op was done on HEALTHY horses without stifle issues. Latest research on horses WITH sticky stifles to start with has found NO arthritis issues. They think it is because the affected horses have different stifle conformation to healthy horses and this limits the long term damage. I am not going to give up on her without a fight!!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Sticky Stifle - Days 10 and 11

Fred is still catching her off-side stifle on every stride first thing in the morning and if she has been standing eating hay for a while during the day. I lunged her Saturday and Sunday to free it off and then rode out on Bella (TB 6 yr old)whilst Beverley (a girl of 28, who has been coming here to ride since she was 11yrs old) rode Fred. Beverley didn't like to trot Fred as she could feel that she was "Lame", as she put it, but it was just the stifle catching slightly, so I told her to ignore it and push her on. We did an hour both days, but Fred is still sticky this morning. I am so dissappointed. The vet says to keep on, but he is not hopeful. I started to mouth Emily, my 8yr old 'Feral' Standardbred yesterday as she had her teeth done last week. I stsrt mouthing using a full cheek French Link snaffle and tie the head round to a roller - a small angle to stsrt with, so they can learn that they are restricted and cannot fight the bit laterally and win. This increases in angle, on both sides (10 mins at a time each day)for 4 days, untill they are almost touching the roller. This is only done for about 5 mins though. Emily was very good. She didn't resist much and started turning in a circle, which I like to see. She tries so hard to please that it almost makes you cry. If anyone could have seen Emily 2 months ago, literaaly climbing the walls of the stable every time someone went in, they would not believe how far she has come.

Friday, 15 March 2013

How NOT to handle horses - French and Saunders


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Sticking Stifle Ligament - Day 9

The farrier came yeaterday afternoon and trimmed as much as he could from the inner walls of both hinds (high inside walls can even CAUSE sticky stifles, according to that master horseman, John O'Leary ) and squared off the toes to aid breakover.

I felt so sorry for Fred as her off hind was really bad and was completely locking both when behind AND when in front, which I have NEVER seen happen to her before!!
I had to put a rope around her fetlock and haul it up to help her quadruceps pull the ligament off the ridge and it went off like a gun, kicking herself in the belly, when it did. It was the only way as the farrier could not trim her with it locked every which way!

He suggested that I give her today off as he had to rag her around quite a bit yesterday to free it off and she will be very sore today.

Having said that, she was not stuck this morning and was trotting and even cantering around the turnout arena for 20 mins. when Emily was taken out for her morning walk.

Riding continues tommorrow.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Sticking Stifle - Day 8

Fred's off-hind stifle was locked this morning. She was dragging it behind her, worse than I have ever seen. It is very cold here though  at -5 and I have noticed that it is worse in cold weather.

I had intended riding her round the 1 hour circuit and so I saddled her up and wlked her round a bit untill it freed off enough to mount. She has only had 15 rides in her life (she is not 4yrs untill May) and has not been ridden since November 2012, but she sttod stock still whilst I mounted - she is so honest.

Gavin, my husband, led Emily round and Fred's stifle eased off and was 100% fine after about 200 yards on the ride. She didn't put a foot wrong, bless her.

However, on returning to the yard and turning her out, it was catching again. Could it be that the extra effort put on the Quadrucep muscles helped during the riding?? That was my intention - to make them work harder and strengthen them more.

The farrier comes today to trim feet (all my horses are barefoot and fine on gravel) so I am going to ask him to trim back and square off the hind toes and lower the inside wall to try to alter the balance, as advised by the Vet. We shall see what happens.

I will lunge her this afternoon in running reins. Keep you all posted.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Bitless bridle update

The bitless bridle experiment did not work. I have tried side pulls, cross-unders, hackamores and scawbrigs. No control when you really need it compared to a bit in a horse that has a good mouth and a one rein stop. Bella the TB did not like any of them either - you should have seen the 'FACE'!!

So, one scawbrig, one crossunder and one sidepull for sale - any takers?

sticky stifles - Day 7

Lunged Fred with running reins for 15 mins each side at trot. She is 1/10 lame still on the off hind anti-clockwise but sound clockwise. Interestingly, she does NOT want to go round clockwise and really objects, trying to turn round all the time and I have to be quite determined with her. This is not like Fred who always tries to be a good girl so, although seemingly sound, it must hurt more?

The stifle was not catching this morning!

I will lunge her again this afternoon.

Emily whinnied to me this morning for the first time and I took her rug off in the arena without her being held or tied up and she stood solid - RESULT!

Fred's stifle ligament splitting - Day 6

Fred was catching again this morning. The off hind almost kicking herself in the belly on every stride. She keeps kicking out on both hind legs though, so something is happening?
I couldn't work her today as I was left on my own in the office (family busines and work from home with a view of the turnout area from my desk) and had to answer phones. The ground was frozen hard all day, so that was another problem.

My Son arrived back to take over, vet came and he too was dissappointed by the sticking stifle. He says to give it another 2 weeks and said to 'up the anti', i.e. increase the excersise. He suggested on the lunge, big circles as it has now been proved here that circle work, on running reins in an outline, is good for rehab. So back to work this morning, 10 mins each side and again this afternoon, 15 mins each side.

On a good note, Emily, the 8yr. old 'Feral' Standardbred that I bought was superbly behaved for her teeth and vacs. She was untouched when I bought her in January and would literally climb the rear walls of the stable when you went in. She had been in a big field with 12 other Standardbreds all her life with virtually no human contact. She has come a long way in a short time and could end up being the quietest horse I have ever had.

Day 7 - Time is 7.15am. Must go and lunge Fred!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Fred's Stifle Ligament - Day 5

I managed to lunge Fred again yesterday afternoon for 10 mins at trot each way, during which time it caught only once.
Fred's off-hind stifle was catching badly this morning, 7am. Took her for a 1 hour walk in hand with Emily, her best friend, being led by my husband.
Her stifle was audibly 'popping' at times - so dissapointing.
However, Fred did her first ditch jump - quite a big ditch with 3ft. wide of running water in the bottom of it. She followed Emily accross it in style!
The Vet who did the operation is coming tomorrow to do Emily's teeth and vaccinations, so I will have a word with him then.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Fred's stifle ligament splitting - Day 4

Fred's off-hind stifle was catching again this morning. She has always been a lot worse on the off-hind and it was this one that was catching slightly on every stride at walk in the turnout yard.
I lunged her for 10 minutes each way with running reins on at trot. John O'Leary (Horsproblems Australia - brilliant website!) recommends the running reins for stregnthening the Quadruceps muscles which in turn, help 'unhitch' the ligaments quicker off the patella ridge.
It caught about twice and she is 1 out of 10 lame on the off-hind, but she has always been like this. She is so aware of it sticking that she has got into a habit of taking shorter strides, when she goes clockwise, with the off-hind. Anti-clockwise, she is sound and always has been.

No sticking or catching after the lunging, so good news.

I will lunge her again this afternoon, if the weather warms up as it is 1 degree C and blowing a gale now.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Medial patella ligament splitting - Day 3

I noticed that Fred's stifle was catching mildly at the walk in the outdoor turnout this morning. Not as bad as it has been, but I was disappointed to see it at all.
Took Fred out for a walk, but she was very on her toes and wanting to go back to her companions, Bella and Emily. She strode out very well and no sticking after a few strides. In fact, she was such a handful that I decided to lunge her on some stubble to get the tickle out of her feet and regain some manners!
She decided herself that she wanted to fast trot on the lunge and even canter a few strides, though the ground was very wet and she was sinking about 6", so it was hard work for her stifles!
We were out for about an hour in total and no sticking!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Treeless Saddles Review - ONE YEAR ON

I have had 2 different treeless saddles now.
The first was a Freemax.
I didn't like it very much as it slipped quite a bit, even at trot. The girthing points were quite far back and I contacted Freemax to see if I could add a point strap to stop it slipping forwards, but they said that it would alter the balance of the saddle.

Now, I don't think that my 2 horses are deformed, but I have no idea how these saddles are supposed to fit NORMAL horses with normal girthlines?

I stopped using it after a spin caused it to slip round, under her belly and yes, I fell off again.

The second was a Dream Team. They no longer make this saddle though as of last year - SHAME.
This was much better and the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat in - yes sat IN, not on, as it is so lovely and you feel so close to the horse.
But again, the girth straps are way too far back for normal horses and pull the saddle forwards when you ride. I have added another girth strap to mine, 3 inches in front of the others and this is now OK.
Treeless saddle designers really should look at horses, fit the saddles and make sure that the girth is vertical when the saddle is girthed up, otherwise, it is pulled forwards with every stride.
The other problem is saddle slip to the side and when mounting.

I have tried all types of treeless pads and the WORST, by far, is the 'Equitex' treeless pad. Now, for a pad that was £100, you would expect that it would be designed with saddle slip in mind as it is one of the biggest problems with treeless saddles? It is impossible to mount without the saddle slipping round and it slips even when trotting corners in the school. I abandoned it.
Next was a treeless pad from Ebay, £36.00. Faux fur lining on inside, removable closed cell foam insert panels. Much better, but did not stop all slip.

The photo above shows Fred in the Dream Team Saddle
The BEST pad by far is the ESKADRON PVC saddle pad. This does not slip at all! I can mount from the ground, without the girth being so tight that the horse can't breathe (which was the case with the Equitex - I had to loosen it when I got on) and the saddle does not move. Sharp spins - the saddle does not move. They are brilliant, but you can't buy them in the UK any more!! I had to order mine from Spain Worth every penny.

Medial Patella Ligament Desmotomy (Splitting)

Yesterday, Fred had her Medial Patella Ligament Splitting operation.
She started having sticky stifles when she was 21/2 years old, just occasionally, but, apart from a brief gap, when I broke her in during March 2012, she has got steadily worse. It got to the point where she was sticking fully on rear extension and kicking herself in the belly on every stride when walking as the ligament suddenly 'un-hooked' from the trocheal ridge. She would semi-collapse on both sides at standstill as the ligament hooked and un-hooked. Riding was out of the question, even walking in hand was dangerous as she would kick out behind to unlock it.
The vet only gives her a 40% chance of success as her condition is so bad, but a chance is a chance as she is a lovely person and so quiet to ride.
Fred is a Standardbred and a Saint.
She now has to have walking in hand for 2 hours/day for 2 days then walking and trotting for 2 hours to try to inflame the ligament to cause scar tissue which should shorten the ligament and prevent it from the delayed release.
This morning I took her for a 2 mile walk and she was much better with only a couple of minor sticks and no kicking out. It is early days though.
I will update this page as she progresses.