Thursday, June 28, 2018

Big Boy Saddle

I never wrote about my lesson weekend on 3/10-11, which is the precursor to this whole new saddle episode, lol.

Who's a happy rider? ME! Because I did my homework SO DILIGENTLY that Penn progressed more than GP Trainer anticipated in the 3 weeks between our February lessons and March lessons!

Overall, GP Trainer was thrilled with the progress I had made in just 3 weeks on my own at the end of winter. She rode him first like she did when I visited in Feb 2018, and commented, "This is a completely different horse!" He was holding himself up more consistently, he was lifting his shoulders, all was awesome and we had a great weekend of learning, and I started getting quiet clean changes without a lot of fuss. The ability to shake him off the bit (aka not leaning and Penn has to hold his own head up), completely disrupted his ability to bolt or leap through the change. Go figure right?

Everything was awesome until we got home that is. I noticed Penn was exceedingly touchy. He didn't want to be brushed ANYWHERE. His neck, arms, girth, back, hindquarters, gaskins. He was extremely grouchy. I was sure he was bodily sore, but I opted to call the saddle fitter that helped us in January to make sure his Stubben still fit well enough... because it looked sketchy to me.

We had decided in January that she could get his Stubben 1894 to limp along, but it wasn't an ideal fit for either of us. Luckily, the Fitter was coming the following weekend (3/17) and had time to see Penn.

She immediately confirmed what I feared- Penn had packed on a lot of muscle between January and March, mostly the lifting of the neck, shoulder, and back kind. The fit wasn't terrible when he was standing, but as soon as he lifted his back, the saddle needed to be the next tree size up and pinched him. She couldn't shuffle the flocking in the front panels either- if she removed some, the front of the saddle would sit on his whithers.

I hadn't asked the fitter to bring any saddles with her because I was hoping we could still salvage my Stubben. We talked about options and budget, and she wanted to see him go in a Concept Tree. She happened to have a 17.5" Hastilow Concept Elevation dressage saddle (with royal blue patent piping and other royal blue patent) in her car for another client to try, so we popped that on Penn just to get an idea of how he felt about it.

The darn horse LOVED it. He was freer in his shoulder, happily lifted his neck and back, and maintained his self carriage. He gave clean quiet changes left to right, and early behind changes right to left with some exuberance. He went easily forward at the canter, and came back beautifully. He had a clear 3 beat rhythm at the canter, something he struggles with.

I also loved it. We talked about how seat size doesn't necessarily go off of how big your butt is, but rather how wide set your hips are (seatbone to seatbone). Femur length plays a small role, but the blocks you need are based more on that. I didn't find the 17.5" saddle uncomfortable at all. It has a deep seat, which allowed it to also have the narrow twist I like. The way the seat is shaped also made me really sit. It didn't tip me forward or drop me back, just encouraged me to sit way up and down. It also let my thighs and legs hang down, and I easily put my entire leg on Penn, thigh to ankle. I can only describe it like sitting in a bucket that supports you in front and behind your seat, encouraging you to sit up in the shoulder and down in the seat. The leg just hangs nicely right out of the bucket, falling against the horse's side with ease.

Unfortunately I couldn't have the 17.5" (the fitter did think I'd find the 18" more comfortable, plus the 17.5 was in the car for another client to try), so I had to make another appointment with the office. There was a lot of stress with that- huge travel fees for me, dodging lessons and weather (uh, hello 8" of snow that week), but we had an appointment the following Friday (3/23).

I rode exactly once between that wonderful ride and the next saddle fitting. Penn wasn't as happy, I struggled to sit up, and we fought each other. The only good thing that came out of the ride was this pretty video clip (courtesy of my SoloShot3, which has been having issues since I updated it... sigh.)


She brought 3 saddles:
  • a Hastilow Concept Elevation Monoflap with red piping
  • a Hastilow Concept Elevation with custom ordered styling: patent touches, white piping, and Nubuck leather seat and thigh blocks, with an extra deep seat
  • a plain new Hastilow Concept Elevation (same as I tried the week before, just an 18")
I was terrified at first- what if none of these worked out?! A side note, all of these saddles have adjustable trees and are wool flocked. Best. Combo. EVER. Probably the closest I can get to custom without actually doing custom.

She took new measurements of his back before we got rolling. I compared the tracings from this visit to the visit in January. While the whithers themselves hadn't gotten wider, his back did. She takes two tracings further down his back (I'm not sure where exactly) but they were both bigger than they were in January by a half inch or so on each side.

Of course I have no pictures of the saddles. Sigh. Bad blogger.

I rode in the monoflap first, and hated it the minute I got on. The thigh blocks didn't hit me right (because of the monoflap design). They pushed my thigh out, which took my knee off the saddle, and I rode around like a beginner rider with my knees straight out and heels on. She had to change the tree in the second one, so she said keep warming up and we'll switch when the tree was swapped. I just walked and trotted, but I fought the saddle. In spite of that, Penn floated along, happy as can be. The fitter said that the Fairfax Monoflap she wanted to bring rides in a very similar way, so I'm not missing anything (they didn't have an 18" seat in stock that I could try).

I rode in the custom styled regular flap one next. That went slightly better, but I hated the Nubuck leather. I already had full seat breeches on, and nubuck is very similar to suede. It was grippy in all the wrong ways. This saddle was also supposed to have a deeper seat, but it felt flatter and I felt more prone to left/right rolling. I struggled in the canter, and Penn had a very low quality to the canter and 4-beated most of the time. It didn't give me the same ability to sit that the one I tried the weekend before did. I did ask for one change, but it was difficult to set up and perform, and Penn struggled with it too even though he seemed happy with the saddle.

Finally, I tried the plain unadorned new Elevation. Ahhhhhhh. I was super worried it wouldn't work out, because then I'd be saddle-less. I sat down in it and was like, "ohhhh this is better." I had the same bucket feeling, and we went on to do a bunch of quiet changes and his first canter zig zag! Left lead half pass, change, right lead half pass. It was far from perfect, and I had trouble starting the left half pass, but in the final try, he did an ok left half pass, to an ok change, to a nice right half pass.

Hastilow Elevation

We talked prices and fit and trial period, etc. She adding flocking to it and told me in 30 hours of riding time, she'd have to come out and check the fit and probably add more flocking since all of this fresh new flocking will compress.

Since getting the saddle, I noticed Penn is easier to maneuver laterally and is more uphill. I've found it's easier to sit the medium trot when the saddle is helping me sit up and absorb it, and it reminds me to sit the heck up with my shoulder and sit my butt down and back, which helps lift Penn up. He's much happier to do his changes.

Of course all of his schooling is on hold while Penn is rehabbing, but he finally got his big boy saddle!

Now with a prolite concussion pad! And new Ideal leathers... the first new leathers I've purchased in... 8 years?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Activities for Humans in Equine Rehab: Biking

Sometime in the end-of-winter-months, Husband decided to go to the local pro bike shop and look for a new bike in anticipation of our trip to Hilton Head this fall. We both enjoyed biking the last two times we were there, but we didn't care for the bikes available to rent. He found something he liked, but left it because it was more than he wanted to spend and he needed to think about it. Fast forward to the beginning of May-ish, he decided to go back and get it.

I opted to go with him to check out the shop and parooze... I had a bike at home that had served me well from age 13ish to through college, and while it was too small for me, I was comfortable on it. I did find something I liked, and it was discounted because it was "last year's model". I test rode it, hemmed and hawed, and left it. I was warned to call right away if I decided I wanted it because they couldn't order another one without a significant jump in price. I went home and rode my old bike and quickly found my balance was quite impaired since the frame was small. I called the next morning and paid for the bike while someone else was out test riding it!

He got a more traditional hybrid that leans more towards road biking, I got a low entry hybrid that let's me sit up like I'm riding a horse!

So that's how Husband and I ended up with new bikes!

I'd been coming home from the barn and riding my bike up and down the street for most of May, but that was getting old quickly. Husband's parents had a bike rack they weren't using and gifted that to us, so once that was home and Husband made a few modifications to it so it could go on his Camaro's trailer hitch, we were free to ride wherever!

Over the weekend, we went to our local rails-to-trails that opened last year. Right now the trail is 5.9 miles long, but there's a plan in place to connect it with 8.5 miles that finishes close to where Penn used to live. There's 7.6 missing miles of trail (you could ride it but it's not groomed yet). The trail will end up being about 22 miles long, and according to the trail website: "Future expansion is in progress to connect the two sections to complete the goal of a 22 mile long trail... and extend four miles to connect to the Great Allegheny Passage."

From GAP Trail's Website
Maybe one day Husband and I will make a crazy trip of riding bikes from pretty close to our house to DC! It would require 11.6 miles of missing trail to be completed, but hey, maybe we'll be in shape to do it by the time they finish! We'll see, haha.

Crazy trips aside, we set out to enjoy our bikes on a local trail. And we did! The trail was wonderfully green, quiet, and very nice riding.

The trail follows a local creek since it was a railroad.
We stopped at a little overlook.
The water was really up because it absolutely downpoured 2 or 3 times that day.
Nice bridges to ride over and look at the creek.

We didn't go very far on Saturday because we spent a lot of time looking around and stopping to look at the creek, but we ended up doing about 6 miles of trail.

Umm, ears pic?

We finished our ride Saturday by figuring out which restaurant by the trailhead belonged to the meat smoker that was cooking wonderful smelling things in the parking lot. We had some delightful cheesesteaks after about an hour and a half of riding (which included several stops to look around), before calling it a night.

Husband and I went back out for round 2 of biking on Monday this week, starting a bit further down the trail, and riding it to the end. We got sidetracked by exploring a local park with a trail that appeared to be bike friendly... it wasn't friendly enough for us, haha. We hauled butt back to the car- we wanted to order from the same grille, but get steak salads this time (which were also good). However, we had a race from where we originally parked to the grille: he had to drive the speed limit and obey all traffic laws to the letter, and I could book it as fast as I could down the 2 miles of trail. Umm, he won. But only by 1-2 min!

Map My Ride for our Monday ride! It's a nifty app, but even niftier on the computer.

I went by myself on Tuesday, being the new addict that I am, and decided to ride the entire trail, end to end (turns out to be 12 miles). The whole first half of my trip was slightly uphill (the trail rises 118ft over 6 miles). And I had a head wind. And I must have been tired from the almost 10 miles the day before. Those first 6 miles sucked, haha. I backtracked to the start of the trail (and old railroad turn around, btw), and then rode back up past my truck and onward. Once I got turned around to go the length of the trail, I realized the first half of the trip was going to suck... a lot. My thighs were burning about 2 miles in, much to my dressagey dismay. But hey, walking Penn isn't building my leg muscles, and that's all I've been doing for 3 weeks now!

1:14:12 to do 12.02 miles and burned 821 calories apparently.

I ended my trip at the same grille (of course), and got a grilled chicken salad, which was delightful again. Husband and I are planning on going riding on Saturday... if only because we're going to eat at the grille AGAIN because on Fridays and Saturdays they have baby back ribs available, and they looked incredible on the Facebook page!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Shoes

Life goes on, and part of Penn's rehab is "corrective" shoeing up front. It's not all that corrective, but it isn't as simple as plain shoes.
Please ask your farrier to adjust his front shoes as follows: set the shoe back to better support the caudal heels and shorten the toe. For the LF foot, we suggest an Onion style shoe, which has a wider branch at each heel region to provide a greater base of support. For the RF foot, we suggest a wider webbed medial branch and narrower lateral branch with a beveled edge at the lateral edge. This is to support the medial suspensory branch while it heals.
So red in the last light of day!

I opted not to reschedule his existing farrier appointment- he was due to be reset a week after our trip to VEI, so I let that roll and didn't take him for as many tack walks that first week.

This appointment took a long time- like 2.5 hours. My farrier has done onion shoes before, but not the shoe with widened medial branch. He did a lot of forge work- checking the fit of the shoes, going back to the forge and heating the shoe, hammering it, cooling it a little and then rechecking the fit. That on top of manually hammering out the wide parts of both shoes, and grinding the RF shoe down on the lateral branch, meant that this shoeing job took a while to do.

Luckily, out home vet was at the barn that night and was an invaluable resource. We were able to run the RF shoe by her before it was nailed to his hoof. She suggested a few changes to it, Farrier made them, she approved it, and on it went!

Barn cat Syndrome kept Penn company one evening.

It was neat to watch Penn's stance as the shoes were put on. I could tell he was instantly more comfortable because he stood squarer and more evenly on each foot. His right side that has been dramatically sunken (I had the saddle fitter out to refit his saddle because of it and she was astonished at the difference in shape because he's been very evenly muscled the entire time she's known him), and when the farrier was done, his right side had lifted up to be almost even.

There isn't much to say about a farrier appointment, so off to the shoes themselves!

Shortened toes. We're going to stick to no more than 4 week cycles to keep his toes short.
The heels of the shoe are a little further back than usual. I was told to go buy major bell boots so he doesn't accidentally rip them off.
The hole in the RF is where he stepped on himself many months ago (see below) and destroyed the coronary band, which resulted in a very deep hole. I was cleaning it every day to make sure nothing got packed in, which was annoying. Instead, I stuffed it 2 or 3 shoeing cycles ago with Keratex Hoof Putty. The putty is a little pricey but gets an A++ for longevity. I thought I would have to stuff it weekly, but I haven't had to restuff it once.
The original injury.
The LF: onion shoe
Onion shoes are wide at the end of the bar to provide heel support.
The RF: Wide medial branch that is thicker than the lateral branch, and beveled edge on the lateral edge of the lateral branch.
The vet wanted the medial branch thicker to prevent the tendons on that side from stretching as much as the ones on the lateral branch.

I took Penn for a spin after he got his new shoes, and he felt much much better. He has a habit of shuffling off the block, to the point where he looks lame. The time he spent doing that was significantly less, which was very exciting. He felt freer in his front end and shoulders and moved from collected walk to an extremely stretchy free walk easily and with continued reach and overstep.

New bell boots that will cover down to the ground and then some... they will drive me absolutely batty, but they should provide adequate coverage to keep his shoes on!

I took the pictures for the blog, but also to send to Dr Cricket at VEI. Since we had some confusion about how the RF should be set up, the farrier and I wanted to double check with her. Good news! Dr Cricket was extremely happy with the shoes. She said the onion shoe was well done, but she wants the medial branch of the RF to be even wider, and she wants the shoes set back even further to provide even more support for the heels. I told her we were doing a 4 week cycle to keep the toes short, and asked if she wanted him reset immediately or if the changes could wait. She said it was perfectly fine to wait until his next reset because these are more than adequate, so we now have a plan for the next visit!

His hips are almost even again. This is one week post-shoes, 6/20/2018. I wish I had taken pictures of him before!
His back is almost back to normal. The right side is no longer dramatically sunken.
I'm going to have to call the saddle fitter to come out and fix his new saddle! She was out for the 30 hour recheck at the end of May, and his right side had sunken so much that she had to add flocking to it... well now it needs reflocked... again. I tried to find his back tracings for this post, but I think I left them at the barn. :(
Also, I promise I'll write about his new saddle soon!

I am so grateful that there are no egos with any of his care: Home vet loves VEI and is happy to do whatever they want. Farrier is happy to do shoes the way VEI wants and is OK with me having VEI check them. Barn owner is happy to follow VEI's turnout plan and has been bringing Penn in as soon as his stall is done in the morning to get him out of the weather and bugs before he starts pacing in the dry lot, as well as keeping him in overnight when we get horrendous amounts of rain (like Wednesday afternoon and overnight). I was worried he'd lose weight in the dry lot since there's very little grass... I didn't have to worry! They throw hay to him every night, give him as much hay as he'll eat inside, and they've been liberally feeding him the Alfa-Lox I have sitting outside his stall. He's actually gotten a bit chunky! That's fine, the summer heat is coming and he'll be back to work soon enough!

Monday, June 18, 2018

And it was Over Before it Began

Show season is officially over. Before it even began.

Let's take a step back. I went for a lesson weekend and Penn was having a bad day during our first and only lesson, and GP Trainer was very concerned about him. I told her we thought it was a hind end weakness issue and she suggested I get a second opinion at Virginia Equine Imaging, her local lameness clinic. They have the ability to x-ray the spine and stifles and all that huge expensive stuff, and are packed full with Olympic and USEF Team vets, so I made the appointment. At worst, I would get a very expensive bill saying his back is weak and he needs to push through it.

GP Trainer also suggested I get a thinline or prolite pad to go under my saddle, just for concussion protection. She said it's no dig my weight, even she uses one or the other under every saddle since she's tall and not a stick either. Penn really likes it, so it stays! Plus I got it from the fitter's website, and they had a special discount for Loch Moy's Starter Trials going on, so I saved $10!

Penn's appointment was Monday 6/4 at 1pm, so we drove out Monday morning and arrived just in time. I ended up driving through the Upperville Colt and Horse Show, which looked amazing and I was sad I didn't get to go back to the show to watch (or shop!).

His appointment was with the USEF Dressage Team vet, and as the appointment started, I'm thinking "This has to be the cheapest horse she's worked on in a long time." Cricket was great though, GP Trainer had talked to her about Penn so she had her take on things, she listened to the history of what's been going on and how we treated him so far, felt him all over, praised him for being so well behaved, and treated him like he was a million dollar horse.

She got a baseline of his confirmation and movement first- one of the interns (who is a full fledged vet in her own right, but is basically doing a residency with VEI), jogged him on a smooth surface and lunged him on a hard surface. The vet noted he's close in front- he prefers to walk like a cat with his front legs and put one directly in front of the other. She also noted he's straight in the hock, which wasn't new to me because well, he wasn't a 50k or even 20k horse when I bought him.

They lunged him with 60lbs of dead weight attached to a surcingle to evaluate back pain- horses generally buck or hump their backs if they have any pain at this point. She was pleased that he didn't get worse, and in fact, seemed to get better with the added weight.

Then they flexed him 8 times- lower and upper limbs. I got a bit nervous as she'd flex, an intern would jog him off, they'd discuss a lameness level (mild/moderate), she'd type it into the system, then they'd flex again. Basically every flexion came up lame.

It's easier to screenshot the notes than to retype it all out!

Part of the reason I ponied up for a very expensive vet visit is because these people only look for lameness. I could see the unevenness when he lunged on the hard surface on the circle, but couldn't pinpoint what leg. I saw almost nothing on the straight line. I could tell something wasn't right, but I couldn't have told you where. To have him rated between 1-2/5 lame in basically every test was horrifying, because I felt horrible for missing it all, let alone misidentifying it as hind end.

At this point, Cricket knew I wanted to attempt to keep to a budget, so she said she wanted to focus on the front right, even though his right hind felt funny to me. She was more concerned about what's going on in that leg, since he had some bulging over the inner sesamoid bone. She wanted to get him sound up front, and then see what effect that had on his hind end.

Nerve Blocks
Photo Credit: Merck Vet Manual Online
Also, that link has great descriptions of the blocks if you want to learn more!

Off we went to nerve blocks! The first thing she did was nerve block the heel of the right front (distal digital nerve block). This didn't make a huge difference, so she blocked the left front heel (distal digital NB) and what I think is the pastern (proximal digital NB). His left front unsoundness resolved itself, but the right front wasn't completely better.

The next nerve block was a bit more intensive- it required more prep, so he went into one of the treatment rooms to have his leg scrubbed up and receive a low four point NB in the right front. As we left the room to wait for the block to take effect, I mentioned that it looked like Penn was standing squarer, and his right side wasn't so sunken, and asked if it could be because of the nerve blocks? Cricket said that's an excellent observation and yes, as the pain is blocked off, the horse stops compensating and sometimes irregularities work themselves out. Funny how much some horses compensate?

I jogged him off on the straight line and lunged him for the hard circle tests, and Cricket declared him sound. I finally saw the sound horse too. With all the wiggles and compensation out of his motion, I can see what he actually looks like sound and it's lovely. That's a horrible statement, but he's never been easy to find unsoundness because his legs have wobbled and flung so much. His front legs had reach again, the toes pointed nicely, and he happily trotted around.

Cricket again talked to me about the best use of the money available- she wanted to move on to x-ray and ultrasound the right front fetlock to find out exactly what's going on in there before we did anything to the hind end, especially since the hind end looked ok now that the front end wasn't in pain.

We pulled him into a different treatment room, and she said we probably don't have to sedate him for xrays since he's been so good about everything else. (Side note to everyone: the staff enjoyed working on Penn because he stood and took everything they dished out with minimal resistance. He gave them great side eye when they were flexing the front legs and they laughed and noted he's really not sure about what they're doing but was like, "Okaaaaaay..." They complemented his manners and said they don't always have that luxury.) I held him, the intern held the board, vet held the machine (everyone got awesome lead vests), and she snapped 4 shots of the pastern, fetlock area, and lower cannon bone.

Can you spot the issues?

Arrows pointing to some irregular surfaces on the sesamoids (I think, I was having trouble telling the difference between healthy hooks in the sesamoid vs unhealthy because I only have these x-rays to go of off... but it's my understanding that the normal hooks are rougher than they should be).
Circles are arthritis.
The side profile of the sesamoid isn't as smooth as it could be (it won't match the arc of the line though).
The circle show low density spots.
The green semi circle is the good shape of the capsule itself.
Red arrows point to irregular vascular lines- they should be the same width and they're not. Sesamoid is not as dense as it should be.
The lower white shadow that's out of place is the ergot.
Arrows point to irregular vascular lines, the thick horizontal arrow points to rough surface on the sesamoid. Sesamoid is not as dense as it should be.

Cricket was more concerned about the low density of the sesamoids rather than the arthritis that's starting. I seem to remember some funkiness in that fetlock on Penn's prepurchase, but his x-rays from that visit are so terrible that I can't tell if it's worse or not. (also I found his PPE x-rays after this visit, it didn't occur to me that they might want to see the shitty x-rays)

I can see some funkiness on the side in the absolutely awful PPE x-rays... but there's no way to compare how bad it was in 2015 vs 2018, the x-ray just isn't clear enough.

The next thing she did was an ultrasound to check out the state of the suspensory tendon branches, and I'll admit... this is where she completely lost me. I haven't looked at enough ultrasounds to get my head oriented correctly in it, and I don't know the medical terms. I did a lot of research and I'm hoping I got this right. I'm quite sure she knows what she's doing, and if I have pointed something out incorrectly on the x-rays or ultrasound images, that's my own fault because I didn't have enough knowledge when I spoke with her.

Medial Proximal Sesamoid (inside sesamoid) vs Lateral Proximal Sesamoid (outside sesamoid)
The white line is the attachment of the suspensory tendon branch. The branch attached to the medial is weaker than the one attached to the lateral, and the white line isn't as sharp and clear, meaning its adherence to the bone is weaker.
Ligament attachment below the sesamoids. The black in the medial image is the nerve block. It looks like these are in better shape than the suspensory branches, but the medial is still weaker with not as smooth bone attachment.

Found on Google.

So the final verdict:

So what are we doing about it?

Cricket wanted to get the right front under control before we do anything to the hind end.
  • Shockwave therapy of the RF medial suspensory branch insertion was performed. 1000 pulses were applied with the R20 trode at E6.
  • Two additional shockwave treatments should be done by your home vet: one in three weeks, and one three weeks after that.
  • OsPhos administration. 15ml was given IM, divided in four locations (left and right cervical, left and right pectoral).
  • Class 4 Laser Treatment, 3x per week, if one can be rented (lower class laser is acceptable, but not ideal). More details to come on that if I can find one to rent. I'd have to ask exactly where it should go, but the goal I believe would be to break up any scarring of the tendon. I might be wrong though. I'm on the clinic's waitlist to rent a laser.

I'll be taking him back to VEI in the middle of August (4 weeks after his 3rd shockwave treatment), which I happened to have already requested time off during the appropriate week for lessons and a horse show... so instead I'll take him to the vet. Cricket will do a recheck, and a new lameness exam. We'll discuss injecting the right front fetlock at that time. She didn't want to inject it this time because the steroid will inhibit the healing of the tendon. Another thing we'll discuss at that time is injecting the hocks or stifles.

So what's happening now?
  • Please restrict Penn to QUIET small paddock turnout while he is resting for the RF injury. You may need to use acepromazine or reserpine to keep him under control. Please let us know if you need these medications or advise using them.
Penn's turnout for the next 10 weeks. We might set up some kind of temp fencing in his regular field when the grass is truly gone from the dry lot. For now, they're haying him out there.
Cassi is a huge slut, and Penn is over there sniffing poop.
  • Please limit Penn's exercise to tack walk five times per week for up to 25 minutes. Initially we recommend avoiding excessive graded terrain, deep footing, and lateral work. Lateral work is OK in walk after the second shockwave treatment. (aka, 10 weeks of tack walking- nothing more until his recheck in August)
  • Please ask your farrier to adjust his front shoes as follows: set the shoe back to better support the caudal heels and shorten the toe. For the LF foot, we suggest an Onion style shoe, which has a wider branch at each heel region to provide a greater base of support. For the RF foot, we suggest a wider webbed medial branch and narrower lateral branch with a beveled edge at the lateral edge. This is to support the medial suspensory branch while it heals.
VEI had this handy dandy chart on the wall!

I guess I've had a NQR horse for so long that I'm not even really upset about missing the season. I'm happy to have an answer, I have a great team who agrees on the plan (oh thank goodness there are no egos), and I've got some other life things I can focus on instead, like losing weight and riding my new bike. I never got around to looking in earnest for a new job. With Penn's NQR, I was afraid to look and spread myself too thin, and even now I'm afraid to leave my job because I need the vacation time to get Penn fixed up.

I don't think we got as far as a prognosis, except I do know he has arthritis in that fetlock so that will eventually end his dressage career. Hopefully we can delay that for a few years, he's only 9. I think I'll get more of a prognosis next time we're there- this was really only half of the work that needs to be done.

I'll be hurting for content for the next 10 weeks, so you'll be seeing recycled pics, if I have anything new to say anyway!