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Friday, 6 February 2015

The story so far

This is Jackobee aka Jack, he is an 8 year old Connemara x TB.

I first started riding Jack in 2010 when he was a 3 year old in a riding school, I had started having some lessons as my previous horse had been diagnosed with Navicular and was retired.  I missed riding but couldn't afford to buy another horse straight away so luckily found a brilliant riding school very close by with a BE accredited coach as the instructor and owner.  Later that year I had him on part loan, he was still used in the riding school too but I was able to ride him 3/4 times a week and compete him.  We successfully competed at Dressage (Novice champions 2010 & 2011) SJ (several unaffiliated wins and placings) WH (champions 2011) and won mini 1 day event.
In 2011 the riding school was closed (the instructor wanted to retire and just have a livery yard) so she sold off all the riding school horses and I was offered first refusal on Jack.  It was a no brainer so in July 2011 Jack became mine.

At the time I didn't have any transport of my own and I had to move livery yards as I couldn't afford to stay where he was so didn't have the luxury of jumping on the yard lorry when there was space so for the rest of 2011 we only competed at a local riding club within hacking distance.

In April 2012 I brought a little trailer and we started to go to xc clinics and did some arena eventing.  We completed our first ODE in May 12 finishing out of the placings but happy with a 33 dressage 4 faults SJ and a refusal and handful of time penalties XC.

Shortly after I discovered I was pregnant and stopped jumping.

After having my baby in Jan 13 Jack was brought back into full work but never felt the same, I had everything checked back, teeth, saddle, feet and everybody told me he was fine so we ploughed on.

He varied between a bit off and awful but never got back to the level he had been before.  I have a different physio check him but again was told he was fine.

In Aug 13 I entered a hunter trial as a pair with a friend and her lovely pony I felt he needed a bit of fun, they gave us a fantastic lead round and we came home clear in 3rd place and qualifying for the national championships in Oct 13.

Things seemed to improve from there much to my relief and he was a much happier horse.

The finals in Oct 13 didn't go as well - my friend forgot to jump the B element at the 2nd water and we were eliminated but was still thrilled with how Jack had gone.

After this things went down hill again and during the winter with more time spent in the school the issues returned, Jack was crooked and reluctant to work so I had an equine body worker have a look at him - she found that his pelvis was out and corrected this for him.  He improved following this for a while but about 6 weeks later he was back as bad again.  I booked her again but this time there was no improvement and I started to loose faith in all the experts that were telling me he was fine.

I decided to give him some time off and then see how he was after a break.

It didn't make a lot of difference so I persevered some good days some bad and some awful!

In April 14 we did a combined training competition and came 2nd with a good solid dressage test and a clear round SJ but I still felt he wasn't happy.

In June 14 I found him down in the field he let me walk right up and put his headcollar on and I knew something was wrong - he NEVER did that!  He struggled to his feet and could barely walk so I got the vet out immediately.  While I waited for them to arrive I managed to get him into his stable.  The vet was confused.  He was standing pointing his left fore and resting his right hind but didn't respond to hoof tests etc she decided in the end to treat him as if he had laminitis due to his strange stance.  I felt this was wrong but put him on box rest, bute etc anyway as she suggested.  2 weeks later there was no improvement so I had a different vet out and he straight away identified the issue was with his back and refered us to Oakham vet hospital for further tests.

He was given a full workup at Oakham and Xrays confirmed kissing spines.  The vet decided to treat him with steroid injections into the affected area and see him again after 2 weeks.

There was a significant improvement and when we returned 2 weeks later the vet was very happy with his improvement but felt there was another issue with his hocks so these were also xrayed and confirmed some arthritic changes so these were also treated with steroid injections.

Things went well over the next few months and I started to look at entering some combined training competitions when it all started to fall apart again and in Jan 15 he was becoming dangerous to ride rearing at being asked to perform a simple walk to trot transition.

We were refered back to Oakham and more xrays were taken confirming his kissing spines had worsened - no wonder the poor guy had been so reluctant to work :(

I was given 3 options - surgery, more steroid injections or permanent bute.

The vet was very honest with me and went though each option in detail but I already knew that surgery would be the best option for me and Jack and luckily I do have insurance to cover the surgery and so he was booked in for the surgery on 2/2/15          

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