Pat Murray’s beautiful new black horse Bailey wasn’t even approved by the vet at the first evening’s vet check. He came all this way from the Oregon/Idaho border to ride the 50 miles, and wouldn’t get to start in the morning. What a bummer, and what an expense!
I was scribing notes for the vet when he examined this horse, and it was clear that “something was off”. That old nagging feeling and the wonder about which leg is it? The vet performed a flexion test to the right hind fetlock joint. Bailey trotted off better than before the flexion. “You fixed him” I said. Then the vet did the same to the left fetlock joint. Again, the horse trotted out better than before the flexion. Hmm. I thought I saw unusual movement high in the gluteal area on one side, and the vet thought he saw the same odd gait, only on the opposite side. Hmm.
Well, the horse didn’t start the next morning, and we all had a very busy day, moving from one vet check site to the next vet check site. The sun came out, the vets were very willing to share knowledge and stories with me, and I enjoyed my first endurance experience very much. Thank you to the organizer, Karen Leiman of Beavercreek, OR for the invitation, and to all who helped make it enjoyable.
Later in the evening, after many horses had completed the 50 miles, Pat approached me and asked if I had a minute to take those images of her horse. Yes, of course. We went to his paddock, where he seemed calm and happy. A rest day with plenty of company in camp, and nice fresh hay and feed…this horse was doing well.
I began to image his body and palpate him for soreness. The images tell the story. He was ridden by another person, at Pat’s instructions, to get him fit for this 100 mile ride. She herself had a recent neck surgery, and another experienced rider was going to ride this gelding in the Sunriver Ride. In the image showing the right hind, as in the left hind, we see excessive heat in the tensor fascia latae, and quads. (These muscles originate from the point of hip, or tuber coxae) This is the large white areas on both images.
Also, in the image of the right hind, look at the tailhead area, and see the sharp lines of white there. This is the origination of the long head of the semitendononis, one of the hamstring muscles. Follow down the curve of his hamstrings, and we see another very hot, white area, just above the temperature bar on the image. This is a tendon of one the hamstring muscles as well. (Three separate muscles make up what we call the hamstrings.)
This horse was in pain, and both sides hurt.
Pat was very grateful to see the mystery, and it was one of the most satisfying cases of the weekend. She was going home with the horse, he would get two months pasture rest, while she obeyed the surgeon’s orders for her neck repair, and horse and healthy rider would start again when the time was right.
Thank you Pat, for being careful, attentive and smart with your animal.
Update from Pat about Bailey – May 2010…
…we did a 50 last month and he got High Vet Score with a 44/44 completion CRI, and just last weekend he did his first 75 and came in feeling and looking like a million bucks! I am very proud of Bailey. I will always be thankful for the time you spent with us last year…and the education I got. Again…if you are ever over this way or passing through, please let me know.