We were warmly greeted in the waiting room, and a couple of the techs showed me and Finn to his stall. What a gorgeous barn. First of all the barn was heated, stalls filled with tons of shavings, super bright, clean, and Finn had a nice big window. He settled in in about 10 minutes which is so not like him!! There were only two other horses there, including one that looked like she had just had colic surgery. The techs took me out to the front where I signed some paperwork and Dr. Secor took me back to his stall where she got some history. Dr. Davis, the head vet, came back a few minutes later and reviewed all history from past vets. Then they got him hooked up to the lunge and out to the covered round pen to check him out.
I couldn't get over how calm he was in the new environment. He quietly trotted and stretched his head down. Tech asked him for a canter and the same, head stretched down, calmly cantering around....Huh? Same in the other direction.
Took him out on the pavement and flexed I think his hind...stifles? had one of his hind legs flexed and way out to the side. He took off swishing his tail and took a couple of funny steps on his right hind. The left hind flexed similarly but not nearly as severe as his right hind. They also lunged him on pavement and noticed the 'weirdness" in his hind legs on the circle as well.
But this was NOTHING like what I'd been experiencing at home. Dr. Davis asked me if I had brought my saddle, which, thank god, I did. We got him saddled up and took him back to the round pen to lunge him under tack. And...Finn took off like a bucking, squealing, mess. Galloping around, racing, clearly in a sort of pain that he was trying to run away from. Same in the other direction. The Dr.'s didn't let him continue like that for long and we got the saddle off ASAP. The Dr.'s don't feel my saddle is improperly fit, and know he wouldn't act that extreme on the lunge if it was just due to saddle fit. Then Dr. Davis palpated his back, and he had NO reaction under the saddle area. He thought this was really strange as his reactions a few minutes ago were so extreme on the lunge. He should have palpated and dropped his back. He thinks he may be so sore at this point that he's not having any reaction to palpation. He said he is stiff and sore from his withers to his tail, which is what I knew. The words out of Dr. Davis' mouth next were exactly what I knew they were going to be...
Because he is so wonky through his back and we don't know if it is spine, SI, hocks, stifle, neck, or a combination of a few, it didn't make sense to just start x-raying, and hoping. If we're able to pinpoint the inflammation, x-ray or ultrasound the hot spots, and hopefully treat, we will have a better chance of getting him sound and keeping him there.
While it sucked watching my horse go around in such pain, I feel confident that we will finally get an answer. He gets his scan tomorrow and I should get some information on what they want to do next tomorrow afternoon. On Saturday he will get what treatment is recommended and be able to come home either Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. After leaving him in the stall I had to head back to the barn and grab all his grain and supplements up until Sunday morning. When I got back to the barn the barn manager got everything organized and I hung out in his stall for a bit. While I was in his stall he licked me for 20 minutes straight. He was being so sweet.
This is the horse that I used to have to ride with a crop, that didn't let anything faze him. Now he is a horse that bolts, rushes, paces, and is clearly miserable. I feel guilty for not trusting my instincts, and I feel guilty for not doing this six months ago and making him work through pain, nearly ruining our relationship.
I really hope I can get him back to who he used to be.