Saturday, February 02, 2008

Another small step towards normality

Grace has been doing really well since coming home three weeks ago. It is now 7 weeks since she had colic surgery and just under 6 weeks since she came out of Leahurst Equine Hospital. It has been a real emotional rollercoaster since I had her back because she has been as quiet as a lamb one minute (so I have been worried she is becoming ill again) and then a passaging lunatic the next (which makes me worry about the scar and the ligament).

I have been slowly increasing the amount of time spent walking her in the arena and down the lane. She is not that interested in the grass, and the field have been either incredibly wet or frosty so I have not risked taking her in just in case. In the back of my mind though I have been very concerned about her injury to the left hind suspensory ligament because of how athletic she has been since coming home. Because of this, I could not wait much longer for fear of going crazy, so I booked her in for a scan in Halifax this week.

Grace loaded perfectly and as always she travelled wonderfully. We got there and I felt as though I had been holding my breath for the entire journey... but I would be holding it for a little while longer while they scanned it!

Peter sedated Grace, clipped the areas of her ligament and then started having a look at the left one compared to the right. I tried looking at the images, but I couldn’t really make them out enough to know what was happening in there. Suddenly, Peter said, “Right, can we have the lights back!” My heart sank... it was bad news; the ligament had not healed at all and we were back to square one!

Peter could see the look on my face I think, but never once passed over the details. He explained to me that the ligament had definitely improved and was now much more like the right one which was fantastic news! There is still some inflammation, but he said he was very happy with her progress and normally she would now start her ridden work in walk. He knows about her colic surgery, and while she was sedated he had a really good look and feel of her scar, remarking that it was lovely and neat and healing extremely well.

I asked whether I should start increasing her time of being walked in hand as I didn’t want to do the next stage of the colic surgery as it involves turnout in a paddock and would wreck all the healing her ligament has done. I have spoken to Leahurst, and they said to up her walking and to continue as I was doing, so this is what I had planned. Peter looked at the scar again and said that rather than turning her out he wanted me to do 2 more weeks of walking her in hand (taking us to the end of the first two months colic recovery period) and then get on her and walk her for 30 minutes, increasing gradually over four weeks!!! I cannot believe it... I had pencilled in our first ride on 16th April, but it has now been brought forwards to 17th February. Obviously it is just walking, whereas at the end of the colic recovery the idea is to bring them back into normal work, but the ligament now needs strengthening and Peter would rather have her ridden in a controlled form of exercise than honing around in a paddock!

Needless to say, I am incredibly excited but still know the ligament might need further treatment if the scan in 6 weeks shows no more improvement. But for now, all I wanted was an improvement, and that is exactly what I got (plus the chance to get on my gorgeous girl again!)