Monday, August 27, 2012

Gut Feelings and Trusting Your Instincts

I last left you happily planning my next sorting event with Bob.  I'd been off of him for 9 weeks, given him a consistent dose of meds for arthritis and a good place to bed down.  I had seen a positive change. 

In my Post I'd written about how Bob was doing much better.  And he was!

Yet my gut feeling and instincts had kicked at me regarding one paragraph.  That paragraph had woke me up and kept me awake at night.

"What happened to turn our world around?  Physically, not much really. Lots of space with comfy places to lie down and an arthritis supplement that is added each night to Bob's grain."

The truth of the matter was the Vet had not been able to identify exactly what was wrong with Bob.  Her deduction had been that he had not been lying down enough to rest his legs.

And in the darkness of night my instincts kept kicking at me.  Was that really the issue?  Was that causing those shaking knees, stumbles and front legs to collapse?

When I'd last posted you, I'd ridden Bob lightly twice in the span three days and what a joy it had been.  And during his down time a great bond had been established between the two of us.

Life was good.

Yet, last Friday after my Post, my antennas became raised as I watched Bob grazing in the summer pasture.

He was back to tripping and stumbling.

On that day I was committed to go to the local library with our daughter, who was in search of a particular book.  While she sought out her book I wandered around and came upon the magazine rack. 

I picked up the August Equus Magazine.  Fanning through it I landed on Page 51.  And there it was in black and white, an article regarding Structural Excellence in the Forelimb. 

The more I read, the more the hair stood up on the back of my neck.  I clearly recognized Bob's issues and knees in the diagrams.  But before I could finish the article it was time to leave.

Last weekend took me across Washington State.  I had shared what I'd read with my husband.  My instinct was that I really needed to read this article and that I needed to read it soon.

Bless his heart; he voluntarily stopped in EVERY location that had magazines to see if I could find that particular magazine.  But I always returned empty handed.  The September magazines were now out, replacing the August edition.

Yet on our way home, at the nearest feed store to our house, he whipped the car into the parking lot right before closing.  "Go check it out", he urged me.  I returned with the August magazine and headed to a quiet place to finish the article once I'd unpacked.

I read about horses being Over in the Knees (Buck Kneed).  These are upper legs and knees that stand out in front of the rest of the lower leg.  They cause every symptom I've had with Bob.  They depict how a horse can only be ridden for a short period before their knees get tired and tend to tremble and wobble from fatigue (been there).  How horses are prone to tripping and balance problems (been there too).  And how the severity can cause a horse to collapse on the forehand (rather not go there again).

I stayed up late researching the subject online, returning to spend today researching further.

Below is a picture I took the day after Bob fell.  Note his upper left leg/knee and how it is further out than the lower leg, the cut on his right leg from the rocks he landed upon when his legs collapsed and he fell into the puddle.  There is swelling on his right knee from when the right leg landed on the rocks (depicting how hard he fell):


I guess I could call the Vet back and pay the $600 for x-rays to confirm this condition.  She did the pre-purchase on Bob, his teeth in December and was here in June after he fell.  Yet she never noted any issues with his knees.  Is it really worth it to have her back to tell me what I believe I already know and for her to tell me that this can't be fixed?

I could go to my Frainer (Trainer and Friend) and ask her what she thinks.  She was there to monitor and support me when I located and test rode Bob.  She's been there since, giving Bob and I lessons, wanting to refine his canter and slow down his trot. 

Yet her motto to Bob's tripping and stumbling was that Bob "needed to learn how to pick up his feet".  In retrospect, all that cantering and trotting was probably the worst thing we could have done to Bob as I believe it accelerated his condition.

So although I won't deny I'm disappointed and sad that I will no longer ride this awesome horse, I don't take lightly how much I've learned from this experience nor how grateful I am for the deep bond we've developed.

As I said in my prior Post, it's not just about the ride; it's also about the journey.  Now I can add that it's also about your gut feelings and trusting your instincts.  One never knows it all.  There's always something to learn.


  1. Poor guy. I'm so glad he's got you to take care of him. Vets and trainers sometimes miss important stuff that owners, who know the horses best of all, can see.

  2. Oh my, I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. I know exactly how it feels to know what is wrong with your horse, and to want to find some one with answers on how to help him, even though the truth is, there probably is no answer.
    So I guess your next question is this...where do you go from here? Will Bob stay and live out his days in retirement with the wonderful woman who cares so deeply for him? Will you find another horse to ride? Hard questions to answer for sure and of course not things you have to decide to day. I'm sure the right answer will present itself to you.
    I am surprised that your vet didn't catch that he was buck kneed. But then again I am often surprised by the things that Vets miss.
    Again, I feel your pain, and Bob's as well, for I'm sure he would love to be your mighty steed at the sorting events.
    Sad face.