My most viewed blog post on here is my “Retiring your horse of a lifetime”. In that post I explain the decision process we went through having to retire Tobias from competition, explaining how he hacked.
As of June 28th, Tobias was officially retired to the field. He can no longer be stabled.
This post is short and sweet because there isn’t much to say other than he’s happier than I’ve seen him in a while.
Tobias, now 11, has suffered numerous injuries throughout his life – he wasn’t clinically sound even when I bought him, only mechanically.
As a 3/4 year old (I can’t quite remember) he was crosstied and backed into a wall resulting in hitting his back right hock. He then dished and swung his leg out, and hence was not technically clinically sound.
As a 6 year old, he got kicked in the field and his other hock was badly damaged. After lots of treatment – Tildren, Cortisone, and strict rehab schedules and hydrotherapy, he came back for about a year and a half before going downhill again. We were told he had developed slight arthritis in his hock. It was then he was semi-retired to hacking with my mum.
Earlier this year (around February/March, this year has been one big blur for me to be honest), he then chipped his withers and was badly lame and the entire area was sensitive and swollen. Instead of being a barrel shape (which he always has been) he resembled a high withered thoroughbred (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration because he was still obese). We took him to the vets and got X-rays, I sadly didn’t get a picture but basically if the image below was a proper bone X-ray, his had splintered and was pressuring the other bone. I think it’s important to mention we had his entire spine X-rayed and there is no sign of kissing spine. Tobias showed signs of detoriation of his bone further up his neck where it was almost “crumbling” to quote my vet. He said this is not uncommon in heavily ridden horses in intensive work, but not to this extent nor for a pleasure horse who was ridden “intensively” for about a year of his life – and even then, how intensely can a 12 year old possibly ride a horse when she can barely jump 80cm?
We were told to give him originally 2 weeks box rest on bute and then phone and update our vet. It hadn’t worked at all so he said to throw him out for a few months and bring him back for review.
So we are now back at present day – you are all caught up. The 28th of June. We trekked up to the field and dragged both the boys – Tobias and Harvey – in and up to the vets we went. It’s important to note that Tobias was lame even walking down the lane. We weren’t expecting much. When we arrived and the vet seen him come off the box we knew immediately by his face it wasn’t going to be good – he didn’t even have to X-ray him because just by his legs, he needed retired. The pressure of chipping his withers and therefore the pain in his front end had made him shift the pressure to the back, bringing on his arthritis which had been very well controlled until this point. His back wasn’t healing because when his back end got too sore, he went back to the front, and well you get the picture. (Update: I am happy to report that his withers have made great progress since it is now nearly August. He doesn’t flinch and I haven’t seen them swollen in weeks).
Our vet carried out flexon tests which he, of course, failed. He then looked at us sympathetically and said “I’m afraid it’s time to put him in the field and let him be, he won’t cope being ridden”.
And so, that’s where he is. In a field – and he’s never been happier. Honestly, he is out with two Clydesdale mares and I have never seen him more settled in his life. He is so content and happy and I just grin every time I see him, which is at least 4 times a week.
Tobias will always be my number 1 boy…and just because he isn’t ridden anymore, that will never change.
Until next time…
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