Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My little pony

Jordan, my little -- make that big -- beautiful pony, turned 15 this year.

Not so much in celebration of his birthday, but happend to be that week, we had the vet out to XRay his hock since its been 5 years since the last time. When I adopted him we knew he had hock issues that made him lame. That's why he was donated to the rescue, because he wasn't able to do the dressage showing that his previous owner wanted to do.

Little horse anatomy lesson:

The hock is the back-wards pointing joint in the back legs. This joint is analogous to our ankles. (horses' feet are actually their one remaining toe on each foot). Obviously, horses hocks have evolved to not need all the degrees of movement that our ankles do. Ours rotate in nearly every direction, where as a hock flexes only in one dimension. So there are at least 2 joints in the hock which are vestigial and have no movement. It's a common problem for horses to develop arthritis in these joints.

As soon as I'd adopted him, I had the vet do an xray, and it was clear that one of those two joints in his left hock was on its way to fusing. As a maintenance and support process, we began injections of HA - fluid which augments normal joint fluid to releive the pain. We'd been decreasing the frequency of these injections over the years, but this year there was evidence that we should reevaluate our plan: thus the new xrays.

Good news is that his arthritic joint is pretty much fused. Once fused it should be pain free! Bad news is that it didn't fuse perfectly so it is still causing him some pain. (Click on the images to see higher res versions)

So this led us to change his therapy to a sestemic treatment for a few months and see how that goes. These are once a week IM injections in his neck that should benefit all of his joints instead of just the one.

I decided I could no longer shirk my responsiblities letting Ginger do all the horse injections and resolved to Jordan's. It's been great - because he is THE PERFECT PATIENT. Even with all my timidness and not wanting to stick this needle into him, he has yet to even flinch. It's amazing to me. Then, this past weekend when we were worming all the horses - he for about the first time EVER just took the medicine like a champ. (course, he still pulled his shenanigans of not swallowing the medicine for about 10 minutes, but hey, I gotta cut him some slack considering). We loves the pony.

Finally, Jordan has a new leaser - an adorable 9(?) year old boy who's a beginner rider whose been taking lessons with Ginger. His mom is very competent, so we agreed to let them lease Jordan to come out and ride inbetween lessons. It will be fun watching him improve his riding skills with Jordan, and Jordan seems to have taken well to them both.