I have always said that there is no point in blogging if you didn't include both the highs and lows you experience along the way and unfortunately this blog is of the lows. Firstly sorry for the lack of updates but I needed some time to regroup and regain enthusiasm so I hadn’t really felt like updating the blog until now.
Sadly Howick was abandoned due to water logged ground so we were then working towards Ascott under Wychwood a fortnight later. Layla had been feeling really well since restarting proper work to prepare for the 2017 eventing season, her flat work had been looking good and she was jumping amazingly. It just goes to show that most horses can really benefit from a little winter break or a quieter time and it isn't just good for the babies. We enjoyed a lovely cross country training session at Wayfarer Eventing with friends where we trialed a hackamore but went back to the snaffle quite quickly! We have now found that Layla prefers a tom thumb lozenge for jumping, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that it is rainbow gloss :)
With a last hack including a canter on the Tuesday ahead of Ascott we were ready, all the kit was washed and packed after going schooling. Just time to have a flat lesson, a little pop and a gentle hack in the rest of the week. On Wednesday morning when I arrived at the yard to turn Layla out I noticed her leg was a bit full but there was also a little bit of swelling in the other front leg. I trotted her up and she was sound so rather than a lesson that evening it was a session of cold hosing before a day out in the field to stretch her legs and walk it off. When I got her in that evening the swelling had gone but there was a little blood vessel up so I cold hosed again then bandaged over night thinking she must have knocked herself in the field the day before. The bandages did the trick for keeping the swelling at bay but the blood vessel was still up so again I cold hosed and prescribed a day off in the field. Again she was trotted up and was sound but as Ascott was looming I decided I didn't want to risk her on the hard ground we have had so I made the decision to withdraw. Over the Easter weekend Layla was no different, kept up the ice boots or cold hosing, bandaging at night and let her mooch about in the field. On Tuesday morning she was still the same so I phoned the vets and Ali Mead came to see us Wednesday morning. A general look over showed no heat or swelling other than the blood vessel so I trotted her up and again she was sound. Ali agreed that although she was sound we should scan as there was clearly something niggling at her and I wanted to know what it was so we knew what we were dealing with. To scan and get a good clear picture they have to clip the leg, sad news for a native pony owner!
Ali was brilliant, thoroughly scanning both legs for comparison whilst explaining each picture to me, although it wasn't the best circumstances it is really interesting so if you get a chance to learn then do. The blood vessel in her near fore was rather large in comparison to the off fore which confirmed something was there. Unfortunately Layla has been diagnosed with a lesion on her suspensory ligament. She is on box rest and later this week will be starting a strict hand walking program with a re-scan in about a month. So our days our now cold hosing or ice boots, finding ways to amuse her in the stable and then back for more cold hosing/ice boots before bed. I am also using Photizo daily to help promote healing and reduce inflammation. As for how it happened, Ali can't say for certain but thinks that it was probably to do with the ground having dried into hard lumps and ruts everywhere so could have just been whilst out in the field. Devastatingly this has ruled Layla out for this season but on the positive side she is still here and currently enjoying conning everyone at the yard for treats! This also means that it is time for Squirt to step up, read about his return to work in my next blog and in that way I am lucky as he has her quirky sense of humor at times!
But the moral of the story:- Trust your instincts, you know your horse or pony and you know if something isn't right. Some people said she probably would be ok for Ascott and to wait to withdraw but I had this feeling it wasn't a simple knock in the field when it wasn't right after a couple of days off. I am glad that I stuck to my guns and requested the scanner was bought along for the vet visit.
Thanks for reading this essay and please keep your fingers crossed for a good and quick recovery. I will leave you with a pic of the super pony herself looking amazing and happy whilst waiting for the vet.