Ali'i's out of Goat Hell.....(and thank God because he has a forelock like Moe from the Three Stooges and...omg ~ the tail ~ it's trashed). He's free to roam the 25 acres at his heart's content. Rolling, playing, running, jumping, bucking, rearing.
They are happy he's out.
The bad news is he's not doing Tevis next year, or ever. He probably won't even do any 50 milers again. At least that's what I'm told. "Ali'i is a poor candidate for continued use as a long-distance endurance horse". That's what I heard. It really hurt.
I took him to UC Davis today to the Large Animal Clinic. UC Davis is a phenomenal teaching hospital just one hour from my house. It's where I took Kaia to find out she had the FCE. It's where Khaliq's dad Khemistreetu was over a month ago for a very severe colic that almost took his life. He was an hour away from death when Janine got him there and they were able to save him, after taking out some 23' of his intestine. Thank God she didn't lose him yet. He's still too young and has a lot of girlfriends to entertain. Maybe Aura again......I'm not sure the vet down the street could have saved him. It was ugly from what I heard.
I was prodded by Janine to have Ali'i's leg ultrasounded. What bothered me is with rest, he started to look better with the head bob, almost, virtually non-existent, but the last 2 weeks, he's looked horribly stiff in the rear. It caused me to wonder if his diagnosis was even accurate. Maybe he was fine and just needed to get some exercise. He was geared up to do the race of a lifetime, then thrown in a cell. (Or did I say hell?) That was the care for a torn suspensory. No exercise for a very long time.
Then he was moved up and back at a walk, then a trot by a tech.
This testing went on for quite a while. Another vet was called in to help diagnose, as Ali'i was not head-bobbing lame. In fact most of the time he was moved it was so hard to tell he was off and also WHERE he was off?
He was given a blocker in his right front fetlock. The idea is to start somewhere by numbing that part of the body to see if they move sound to determine if that is the spot. Ali'i did not like the needles in his legs and there's no sense in sedating him because after a margarita he wouldn't move out very accurate. So that wasn't done anymore, but it did give the vets some more information.
While we were waiting for the blocker to work, I saw a horse being moved with some big equipment.
Ok, it's not HUGE equipment, but the thing is, the horse is totally out. It's stuff like this that to reminds me that Davis is the place to take your horse (or dog, etc.) for top notch care. They have state of the art equipment and any type of veterinary specialist, including the numerous students to help. I remember it was a student who talked me into not putting Kaia down, that she was sure it was an FCE and she would take great care of her while Kaia was at the hospital. I'm glad I listened to her because I got 2 more years with Punky.
After several hours there, Ali'i was moved again, this time the hind legs were flexed. We all kept looking in his front end to find what his issue was, though the first vet kept thinking she saw his hind legs dragging. I'm pretty good at telling gait, especially if an animal is even slightly off, but I had trouble seeing it. That bugged me.
And that is where the trouble lay. In his right hind hock. Basically he has advanced arthritis in that hock, and the other hock is showing similar (though not as severe) signs. All this would make sense that I saw him off in the left front at the beginning of the year, but his "offness" would go away after he warmed up. What this vet told me is if he's favoring a right hind, you'd very likely see it in the opposite side or left front. Because he's been compensating for this hock, he's had suspensory ligament tenderness, but it wasn't torn. That's why he looked better so fast and started showing issues in the rear with lack of movement.
So, I cry when the vets tell me this and try to look brave. They must see this EVERY day. My horse doesn't have a death sentence and I have to say he's one happy little horsey being back in the pasture. I can still ride him, and maybe even ride him more than I think, but I don't think my little boy is going to take me to Tevis, ever. And, that is what makes me cry right now. But, if the vet told me that I could never ride him again because I'd hurt him, I'd never get on his back. I'd play with him, brush him, let him play in the pasture with his buddies and I'll love him for the rest of his life and mine, and remember every day what a gift he is.
Janine told me I needed to have a good drink tonight and let the info settle before I worry about who I'm going to train for endurance & Tevis. I didn't drink. I have a headache from crying so I'm blogging instead. I think I trust this horse more than any I've ever been around. He's the horse I wasn't afraid to ride in those canyons because of who he is. So, I cry some more. But, like not starting this year, I believe in a divine plan and trust that this is where I should be and where Ali'i should be. It will work out. T told me that tonight. He was so sweet.
My little baby boy. Man I love this horse.
P.S. to this story. I am a research hound and don't give up very easy, so I'll be doing my homework on this issue. Too easy to get information now.
(AND A sideline to this, for my barefoot friends. His feet were x-rayed and he has gorgeous, ground-parallel coffin bones and plenty of sole on the bottoms of his feet. That was great to see and to know I'm doing a proper trim on my horses.)