I had the opportunity to have Roz worked up for a "lameness course" for 4th year veterinary students. He went in on Tuesday morning and I brought him home today. That left Emi home alone for two days. She was awesome! Whinnied a little bit more than "normal" when I went out to feed but she was otherwise chill. Such a good girl!
I got called Wednesday afternoon with their findings. They said he's grade 4/5 lame on his right front. When I questioned them about him being 4/5 lame (I was surprised) they said it's because they could see a slight lameness at the walk. They took radiographs of both fronts. His navicular changes have mildly progressed in the right front, and he now has navicular changes in the left front. The goal of the course is to work up the "primary" lameness and that's his. We discussed trying coffin joint injections and I gave them the go ahead to do that.
They also noted that he's slightly lame on his left hind. They asked if I'd like them to work that up too if they had time. Of course I said yes. They blocked from his fetlock down and did not see any improvement. Unfortunately they did not have the time to pursue it beyond that.
When I picked him up the student told me he was one of the nicest horses they worked on and she enjoyed working with him. I had put a chain on his halter for them since he can be a bit pushy. She told me that they took it off when they first started working with him, thinking he didn't need it, but they soon realized there was a reason why I had it on him. Only Rozzy Ridge!
So...the next big question is where do we go from here. I really wanted to get a black and white answer, and of course I didn't. I'm not making his navicular worse by riding him, but is it fair to continue to ride him? How much do the benefits outweigh the costs (to him)? I feel bad because I wouldn't have told you he was that lame. I've always thought I had a pretty good feel for lameness when riding and he doesn't feel like a train wreck to me. I also don't notice a considerable difference from right to left, his canter leads, or anything else.
If I had another horse to ride I feel like it would be pretty easy to put him out to pasture, but I don't. I've thought of trying pursue some sort of riding arrangements but where do you start? Tarra thinks I need a project pony. Or maybe now that Roz got injections I will ride him through the summer and then officially retire him come fall...I'm just not sure.
Emi was delighted to have him home and Roz was thrilled to go outside! I sure do love my ponies and I'm so glad to have Roz home.