We were golden with the progression of his recovery for a whole three days... then was hobbling about doing the toe walk thing again. So I'm not sure what's going on. I'm not totally confident in the vet's diagnosis, because when he's off it's like there is something catching in his fetlock that prevents him from flexing fully and causes him to step down on that toe but then it will suddenly jerk back to the flexed position. Maybe that's just where I see it, and there is a tendon or ligament catching farther up in his leg but I only see the effect at the bottom? I was determined to wait it out at least a week before calling another vet out for a second opinion, but despite the fact that its like one day he's toe-walking every couple steps, and the next day he's fine, he does seem to slowly be making progress. I'm going to get a second opinion from the two trainers at class this week for starters.
For now, lots of walking! I'm be in great shape by the time this is all over! Especially as we get into the trot conditioning part and I'm jogging next to him for 5-15 minutes! ;) Friday he was limping about again, and I highly questioned forcing him to walk when his fetlock looks like it catching and I imagine the pain he's in and long term damage it could be doing if the vet is wrong in her diagnosis and treatment plan. But when it comes down to it, it seems like he is only off when he's been running around like a looney! So its his own damn fault, and the walking is supposed to help. So Saturday I gave him some bute, mainly to help witht he getting in and out of the trailer and we drove out to a really easy trail that's flat, wide, and relatively enclosed. It was his first time out on a real trail so my sister came along to ride the old mare and I followed behind leading Bear... good for me to get some exercise, but I'd sure rather be on him! He was a star, and we even walked over a bridge! Yeah for continueing training while rehabbing.
Sunday I think I must have just ponied him around the pasture again, and the rest of the week I rotated between ponying him down the back roads and up a big hill, and hand walking him (which was great to take him off the property alone and leave the old mare screaming bloody murder in the pasture! He was fine about leaving, a little more nervous without her but not naughty at all.) I even got all his tack on and used the long lines to drive him around the pasture once this week, and round penned him (at the walk...) once because I didn't have barn shoes with me and couldn't walk around much. So far I'm doing a great job keeping us from getting bored by switching it up each day. Then this Saturday I took the two horses out to the trail again, but solo this time. I successfully ponied him around for a full hour and they both did great! He LOVED being out there, and was clearly glad to have a change of scenery. We even trotted a bit since thats supposed to be the next step in the reconditioning process. Overall he seemed fine all day, but every so often he'd take two or three toe-walking steps, then be fine again... but I still think we're making progress.
Its slow going, but he's looking a lot more sound when he does get running around and being stupid in the pasture. He can still canter both leads (HUGE sigh of relief!) and do flying lead changes. I'll still be doing the class even if Bear isn't really keeping up with the other horses. It sounds like we'll be starting off at a more basic level than I ended on last class. With Training I we got the first couple rides on him, and a walk-trot-canter twice. For the most part we worked at a walk. With this class were going to be doing a lot of flexing, bending and yeilding, all of which will start from the ground. So even he if he takes another three full weeks before I even get on him and walk I think we'll still get a lot out of the class.
Its a work in progress, but its been less than a month. The simple fact that he's not on any pain killers and he's looking happy and more or less sound the majority of the time is a step forward. I just need to make sure I'm wearing my patience pants for a while.