Trust your gut: Indy's story

silk
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Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby silk » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:28 pm

This is the end of Indy's story. Some of you may remember her... Stunning Dutch WB x mare who I purchased as a just-turned-5yo project (hah!) at the beginning of 2010. 7 years on, we said our goodbyes. This is a long and hard story to tell, but it's her legacy, and I feel like it's important to tell it.

Indy was very immature when I bought her. She, supposedly, had only been partially broken in with sporadic work (5-6 weeks, intermittently over about 3 months). However, WTC under saddle. When she arrived, I took one look at her and thought "you aren't ready to be ridden" and turned her out for 6 months before I even put a saddle on her. I did a lot of groundwork in that first year. She went for a month of training with my instructor, who did mostly groundwork (I went up at the end of each week and had a ride). She improved so much - going from not tracking up by a good hoof-length to overtracking by half a hoof. She outgrew the saddle that fit perfectly only weeks before.

Over the next 4 1/2 years we had ups and downs - some literal. I was on a mission to fix her, to address whatever was bugging her. I could never get to the bottom of it. Not by improving her feet, the saddle fit, teeth, or multiple bodywork modalities. In 2013 I had a reading/healing programme done which seemed to provide some major breakthroughs in her mentality, and also led me to other treatments and supplements that also helped. Her movement and handle-ability improved masses, she had lovely soft moments of throughness, but, still, 'issues'. Often slightly short step in the right hind, a slight headflick that seemed to be seasonal but wasn't triggered by anything I could pinpoint, and the tendency to explode at random. Almost like she checked out. There was no self-preservation, and while it wasn't aimed at getting me off, it was dangerous. One day I nearly became the filling in a horse-fence sandwich. The final straw was at the end of 2014. She was fine, then something behind a fence scared her and I told her off for the overreaction, which made it worse - she bronced and then slipped. I fell one way and she the other, onto a concrete footpath. I decided riding her was not worth becoming an injury or death statistic for and stopped riding her. She continued to come along on the lead when I rode my other horse, so she got out and about with plenty of exercise. I kept working with her on the ground, even taking her to a clinic for groundwork only, and discussing that she was not my riding horse with my instructor and mentor.

I knew that I had tried many, many things to solve or address whatever was bugging her, and I knew not many people would keep going to find answers. There was the question of how much money I would/could sink into further investigation and/or treatment. I had the feeling that even rehoming her as a paddockmate (a 'job' she did very well) would end in her being passed on, without her history, and someone would try to ride her. I knew she was never nasty, and I felt it was pain related, which was why she was SO good on the ground but so NOT under saddle. It wasn't the saddle, the bit, the bridle (I tried her bitless, treeless, etc). I just had this feeling that someone would try and she, or they, would get hurt. So I kept her. I happened to win a service to a Holsteiner stallion in 2015 and decided to put her in foal (after I nearly turned the service down because my horses are lifetime commitments and I didn't really want a foal then... The filly is now 16 months old).
I decided that, knowing what I knew, I couldn't in good conscience rehome her. I didn't want to lose control of making sure she got regular bodywork, teeth and feet attended to, and I also didn't want anyone to get hurt. She was great, for me, but had her moments of deciding she didn't want to be caught, and was certainly not an "easy" horse. She deserved to be looked after properly. So, other than keeping her forever (she was 12, so could have lived another 15+ years). Life changes meant I needed to be realistic about the time I could spend with my horses and caring for them. The sad decision was that Indy would be put down after weaning the foal.

Separately, my trimming and anatomy/biomechanics interests led me to attending several dissection courses with my vet, and then with an Australian lady, Sharon May-Davis... In 2015 I decided I wanted Sharon to have Indy on the table to try and find out exactly WHAT was going on.

It took a lot - a LOT - of soul searching to reach that decision. I realise it comes across shallowly in words, but trust me, it was not a decision made lightly. If she was going, I wanted to try and find out what had been affecting her to the point of being unsafe, so I could hopefully avoid the same thing in the future.

However, though I'd booked a year in advance, Sharon ended up with time for only one course, so Indy was instead one of the biomechanics examples last October. Course participants got to see how she moved, what problems were present in the movement patterns, muscling, etc, and got to do a little palpation (how to locate certain bones, muscles, etc).

Someone at that course snapped up dates in April for a dissection, and I offered them Indy for the course in March.
Fast forward to what we found...

I didn't take photos or write anything down during the days so some of the details are a bit vague or incomplete. It was a total overload in terms of how much was going on.

Ovarian cyst (ovary 50% larger and inflamed). Super strong/thick skin and canine tushes = high testosterone levels (she was a very alpha mare).
Her foal (born 10/12/16) was carried in that horn (left, I think - same side as cyst).
She shouldn't have been easy to get in foal, though the cyst could have been post pregnancy.

Malformed liver. Congenital, ie just grew that way. Of no 'obvious' consequence in terms of the fact she was a great doer, not hard to keep weight on etc. The liver had two and a half lobes instead of three; the half lobe had odd serrations.

The "best stomach [Sharon] has ever seen" ie completely healthy, no signs of ulcers or damage at all.
Minimal worm burden (low level of tapeworms, nothing else visible, no damage from encysted kind ie bots).

Very very tight muscles and fascial connections in the neck and shoulder area. Rhomboids were like tight little cigars. The bracheocephalic (?) that sits over the jugular vein was thick and slightly higher in position than "normal". One of the shoulder muscles sat much further back than "usual" - still within normal, but not as common positioning.

Scars on her muzzle from a drop nose band or other tight rope/chain - I can categorically state I never used these on her.

On the right side of neck (didn't look at it on the left) the sterno-mandibular connection had a branch to the occiput near the ear. The tension on that branch was pulling the ear into an oval shape. Possible link to ear shyness and noise sensitivity. Sharon has only seen the sterno-mandibular branch off in four horses to date (I was at the dissection where she saw it the very first time). The cartilage around the base of the ear was misshapen.

Now we start on the skeletal/bone/joint findings.

She had 17 ribs plus an extra cartilaginous set at the back. Not "floating", but definitely not correct/normal. We can feel these on her foal also. They link to the end of the costal arch, and the muscle that should go from last rib to (??? somewhere further back) instead stops at this extra set of ribs. That muscle helps with breathing under heavy exertion. So, if she had been in heavy work, she may have been somewhat less able to breathe fully, or may have been one of those horses who needed more recovery time.

There were loads of old/healed fractures. Broken first rib on right, part of sternum crooked (to one side), broken wither / dorsal process, damage to right shoulder cartilage. One of the lumbar vertebra (L5) was off to one side also, not centre.
Fused fibula on one hind leg (right - the leg she stepped short on).
Something missing on one of the processes of the pelvis (ie it was shorter than it should have been, compared to the other side). I'm not sure which part, this was day 3 and I was at the end of my brainpower.

The wither was one of the first things we observed, and Sharon asked if Indy had reared up and over (not that I know of, but doesn't mean it didn't ever happen). As we found more damage, it started looking like she had a major crash at a young age. Speculation – hit fence at high speed and somersaulted.

Blind splints (on the inside of the splint bone ie invisible).
Check ligament tear, right next to one of the blind splints.

There was oc, ocd, djd in every limb joint.
Ocd in stifle, shoulder.
Djd in fetlock, left and right carpus, hip, elbows.
Elbow and hock joint damage from riding (load not method, Sharon sees it in all ridden horses, and no horses that are unridden). However, it was far worse than it should have been given the relatively light riding Indy got (she was not ever in much work). Suspect the other compromised joints complicated the effects on the elbows.
Ocds are concerning, esp. given history (only very lightly ridden). They were huge. Major cartilage degeneration, in every single joint in limbs.
The ocds and djds were so bad there were parts about to chip. In a ridden horse that could have happened due to increased work and load = catastrophic injury / lameness. She was lucky she got to mooch around under her own speed, as the way she unevenly loaded her joints was causing enough damage.

Her feet, though some deformation due to loading unevenly (due to injury/damage elsewhere), had a great connection. I didn't have any need to look at her feet but the farrier attending was keen, so we did. The connection was so strong we pulled the corium off the bone instead of pulling it apart from the white line when we pulled the wall off. No bruising or damage to the WL or sole corium was evident, no bruising or damage to the bone from the bars. Thick and strong digital cushion. The wall was definitely over a centimetre thick, the sole nearly that thick. There was a crena in both front coffin bones (notch at the toe) however there was no evidence of this on the outside, I found that fascinating (the strong connection meant I didn't observe anything in the WL or the wall at the toe from the outside). It was great to see a good example of feet, the cadavers we normally see through trimming are usually terrible examples of hooves. I wish some of my trimmer friends could have seen her feet.
There was something with a ligament in one foot, not the impar ligament, another one, I forget the name, sits under/near the navicular bone somewhere. Possibly the distal digital annular ligament. The damage was active ie constantly being overstressed (the tendon was inflamed/reddened).

The caveat to all of this is that any one thing in isolation might not have appeared to affect her, or might not have been a problem at all. One of the things, ie the ribs, may have been the thing that caused the exploding. Or maybe things just twinged and tweaked and hurt all over the show which would fit with why I couldn't work out a consistent "thing" that caused her to react.

So. A huge journey, a massive learning process. I'm still processing the facts and findings and what they mean as I talk to various people or have reason to think of things in client horses that I am trimming, or friends' horses. People who have watched or helped parts of Indy's journey are the most interested. I must say it was reassuring to know the things I had control of were perfect (feet, teeth, saddle fit, diet/nutrition/digestion and parasites). Also that she must have been trying so much harder than we all realized to be a good girl.... a credit to the training and our bond that she was so well behaved despite all that was going on.
It was hugely helpful that she was a "history" horse for Sharon; some of the people who attended the Biomechanics last year were also at the March course so they could correlate the things they saw in the horse with the findings on the table. It gives logic/reason to the things we found - I could correlate them to things I'd experienced. I could say, yes this occurred, or no that didn't, and 'this makes sense'. No matter what came up, I kept saying "are we surprised?" - its *this* bad - "are we surprised?" Sadly, no, we weren't.

The question I kept asking is "how do I find this in the live horse, and how do I treat it?" ... I want to know how to do it differently, do it better, if I come across it again. I want to know how to better diagnose and treat these things. I want to know what limitations exist in a horse that might mean we can't achieve the ideals we would like to, but understand and know how to manage the horse and the movement to get the best out of them and keep them functional and happy and sound.

If every person who was there learned one thing from Indy and can help another horse, that is her legacy, that is what makes her story and our journey together even more valuable. I have definitely learned to trust my gut, to 'know what I know' and not let people try to sway me out of believing it. She is also now part of Sharon's on-going research, as not just a number, but "Indy from New Zealand," and her teachings will be part of something bigger, in time.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby khall » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:35 pm

silk you were very brave to go through this with Indy. I am glad you have some answers. Amazing all she had going on. I do think we often take for granted how giving our horses are. This is a good reminder as riders we should always ask "why?"

RIP Indy.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby Flight » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:25 am

Wow, that is so fascinating!! Thanks for taking the time to type this out and also that must have been tough making the decision and going ahead with the dissection etc.
I keep meaning to attend one of Sharon May Davis's clinics but it may make me not want to ride my horses! But it's amazing to see what is actually in there and causing these issues.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby kande50 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:19 am

I hope that as more owners go the extra mile to find out what their horses' problems might be (or were), more will read about their experiences and be motivated to start listening to what their own horses might be trying to tell them.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby angela9823 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:44 pm

I truly believe some of the "not quite right" horses have issues from the moment the hit the ground. Think of how many human babies are born just not quite "normal" but we expect all to be right physically with horses that come out with four good legs. Silk, having heard the story along the way, I think you did the right thing. You never know how much of this was genetic and how much may have happened even as a newborn. I've known too many foals that were stepped on by mom in the first hours or kicked by pasture mates etc. It doesn't even have to be just from riding (like the flipping over a fence idea). We try to uncover what may need more training, what may need more emotional growth, what may need to change in the environment and then work with what we have left. And working with what you have may be taking the exact approach you did. I learned that with the mare I bought as a yearling. From the beginning something was never right with the mare. When I put her down (stepped on a nail), I found there were actually quite a few things wrong.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby highoctane » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:44 pm

Such a beautiful tribute - thank you for being brave and doing this. Not only for having her dissected, but posting here for the rest of the world on what you've learned. I often wonder what I'd find if I had Hi-Oc done...gawd knows he's similar to Indy. After his recent tooth issues, we all are giving him more credit for being so stoic for putting up with what had to have been enormous amounts of pain (even if he had been a grumpy old man). Horses are so forgiving, considering.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby Srhorselady » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:19 pm

A beautiful tribute from an owner dedicated to not only her own horse's welfare, but to improving the future welfare of horses everywhere. Thank you for sharing. I can only imagine how hard this must have been for you.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby LeoApp » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:55 pm

Fascinating from a detached observer, but I am sure it was very hard for you. I just hope her foal doesn't have the same issues. It does sound like she must have flipped over at some point in her life. I am just happy that she had YOU to care for her, not push her too far, and keep her as pain free as you could. If she didn't have ulcers I am going to guess that even with all of the stuff you found, that she was not in pain.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby Srhorselady » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:13 pm

For those who are interested: Deb Bennett used to (maybe still does) a similar type anatomical autopsy horse clinic in the US.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby silk » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:43 pm

angela9823 wrote:I truly believe some of the "not quite right" horses have issues from the moment the hit the ground. Think of how many human babies are born just not quite "normal" but we expect all to be right physically with horses that come out with four good legs. Silk, having heard the story along the way, I think you did the right thing. You never know how much of this was genetic and how much may have happened even as a newborn. I've known too many foals that were stepped on by mom in the first hours or kicked by pasture mates etc. It doesn't even have to be just from riding (like the flipping over a fence idea). We try to uncover what may need more training, what may need more emotional growth, what may need to change in the environment and then work with what we have left. And working with what you have may be taking the exact approach you did. I learned that with the mare I bought as a yearling. From the beginning something was never right with the mare. When I put her down (stepped on a nail), I found there were actually quite a few things wrong.


This!!! The more I see about things such as sided-ness comes from eg. the way they come through the birth canal, etc... And that the reproductive potential is 'set' within the first six weeks of the embryo forming (ie before we even 'know' the pregnancy is confirmed)... So much is unknown but already determined before we have any knowledge about possible influences. I suppose this is where the idea of "fate" comes in?

Another person on my local forum ended up with my mare's dam and half brother - I think he was one or two years younger. I learned some about the environment Indy may have grown up in from that person. I am hazy on the details but the two horses were totally and utterly 'depressed' when they were purchased, from the same person/farm I bought Indy from. That's something I should follow up, to see where he ended up.

Flight (and others): If you can get to a course (biomechanics and dissection) with Dr Deb Bennett or Sharon May-Davis, I'd absolutely recommend doing it. It isn't easy but it is information we as riders need to learn and understand in order to help our partners reach their full potential. Why to train this way not that way, etc etc etc. Sharon has a great sense of humour, too (VERY Australian, LOL!) and a very genuine empathy and concern for the horse on her table. She calls them her teachers, and says they are the true textbook, more so than the written version. It is heartwarming hearing her talk as she works: "woah bubba", "hey darling"; she even does things like make sure flowers are placed on the horse. Incredibly respectful.

LeoApp - we can feel the extra ribs on the filly. She is being started on supplements to hopefully prevent/lessen OCDs. I can only hope she has a little more influence from her sire, that I can manage her early growing and training to minimise any future issues, and that she doesn't have any injuries to exacerbate the genetic potential of any inherent problems. If something crops up, I at least have ideas on where to start looking (ie. xray for OCD)... though (and I jest) not sure what to do about that extra rib if it causes issues... amputate? lol!

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby silk » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:50 pm

LeoApp wrote: If she didn't have ulcers I am going to guess that even with all of the stuff you found, that she was not in pain.


Interestingly, when we were prepping (right after she was put down)... the process is that the horse is lifted by hind legs and then the relevant cuts are made so that the guts are dropped out with the help of gravity. The very first look at her intestines showed tiny little "scars" all over the show; Sharon asked if she colicked regularly (no) - perhaps the scars were a sign of pain/pain response, rather than her ending up with ulcers. Her stomach really was absolutely 'clean' in the upper half, really beautiful to see in it's own way. The other thing is she'd been out of ridden work for over two years so perhaps any severe riding-related pain signs had time to heal? Then again the scarring on the muzzle was over 7 years old, so who knows what stays visible and what disappears.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby StraightForward » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:42 am

Thank you for sharing, Silk. Very interesting, but unimaginably difficult for you. Did witnessing all of those internal problems give you more peace about putting her down?

silk wrote:Another person on my local forum ended up with my mare's dam and half brother - I think he was one or two years younger. I learned some about the environment Indy may have grown up in from that person. I am hazy on the details but the two horses were totally and utterly 'depressed' when they were purchased, from the same person/farm I bought Indy from. That's something I should follow up, to see where he ended up.


Yeah, my gelding Obie is a walking disaster, and after I bought him, I found out that he was nearly starved, previous owner was in bankruptcy, so who know what sort of housing, hoof care and feed situation he was raised with. Coupled with growing to 17H, not a good situation. I was just trimming his feet today and shaking my head at how weird they are and still doing funky things. I have to wonder what one might find if he was opened up.
The UDBB member known as AQHA Hunter

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby silk » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:57 am

StraightForward wrote:Thank you for sharing, Silk. Very interesting, but unimaginably difficult for you. Did witnessing all of those internal problems give you more peace about putting her down?


Yes and no. Certain things were incredibly validating - knowing the lifestyle and diet must be right, the dentist I use must do a good job, I have done well with her feet, etc - and to know that I was correct to think things were not quite right.... but as my mum so succinctly said, "you can't put Humpty back together again"... That's the hard part, knowing what was wrong and not being able to have a do-over. However, she was going regardless of the course or not, so in that respect, I am very grateful to have answers. I am also glad she had the best possible 'retirement' I could give her, albeit not a long one.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby calvin » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:20 pm

Silk,

Thank you SO much for your courage in dealing with love and maturity with Indy, and thank you, separately, for sharing the dissection findings with us. It IS extremely helpful. I am thinking of another horse who had the kind of frustrating, hard-to-pinpoint-why it just did NOT work out for her: a lovely girl, with lots of heart and I DO wish, reading about the dissection, that this had occurred. We need to learn, we need to understand, and for you, what a lovely affirmation that everything within your control was, in fact, done properly for Indy. A very heartfelt thanks from this corner of the world.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby kande50 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:02 pm

Just curious, but how long did the dissection take?

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby silk » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:07 am

Kande, the course was 3 days (it can be 2, if you don't want to look at the internals ie gastro intestinal tract, liver, kidneys, repro, heart, lungs - though to be honest we didn't spend that long on all of that, perhaps four hours tops), plus about 4 hours of prep (which was Sharon and two helpers, the course organiser, and myself). There was also an hour or two extra prep/work done before and after each of the course days. For comparison, an vet autopsy would be between 1 and 3 hours.

Calvin - you're welcome (as is everyone else who is thankful for the info). I know it is not easy to read and I know it is not everyone's cup of tea, to be honest I'd rather have Humpty back together (!), but I certainly was surprised at the sheer quantity of things going on and I am sure other people have wished for this type of opportunity or knowledge. It's my journey "for the good of the horse"... I had many people tell me to "send her to (BNT), they'll fix her", "she's just green" / "needs more experience", the insinuation 'I can't ride', and the best/worst one, "you trim her feet too short" (as she was not happy on sand arenas) - when in reality there were body things going on that caused her to act and react the way she did. I have a video clip of me riding in the arena, being told that I trim her feet too short. I reply "it's not in her feet [pointing], it's in her shoulder [pointing to right shoulder - the damaged one]" - that was 2012 and I kept riding her for two more years. It is incredibly disheartening to be told over and over that someone else can do something that you haven't managed to achieve, by people who don't know the full story.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby kande50 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:34 pm

silk wrote:It is incredibly disheartening to be told over and over that someone else can do something that you haven't managed to achieve, by people who don't know the full story.


I just answer with, "And at what cost to my horse?"

Most of them think I'm nuts, but it does make it clear that I'm not interested in sending my horse off to someone who can push him harder and just hope that they don't break him in the process. And for what, so that I can brag that some trainer got my horse got to x level before he broke?

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby silk » Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:00 am

I got to the point of replying "are you going to pay for it?"... *rolleyes*

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby piedmontfields » Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:40 pm

Thank you, Silk. Very educational and very smart and brave by you. You did well by your mare.

Whenever people scoff at something physical being behind really persistent problems, I wish they could read some autopsies of troubled horses. A good friend who had a mare who was never consistently comfortable despite a lot of special care and various investigations finally had a bone scan performed. The horse had bone spurs all over her body. No wonder. She let her go.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby Chisamba » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:44 pm

I wonder what in the long list of things was most applicable to her behaviour, i am curious to wonder if any horses that behave very "normally" would also show a multitude of not quite right things in a dissection. ( my scientific mind travels in this way, I do not expect to know, but it does make me wonder. I have attended a exploratory necropsy on a horse that had died but had not put one to sleep with the goal of dissecting it. Was it hard to do, emotionally?

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby kande50 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:03 pm

Chisamba wrote:I wonder what in the long list of things was most applicable to her behaviour, i am curious to wonder if any horses that behave very "normally" would also show a multitude of not quite right things in a dissection. ( my scientific mind travels in this way, I do not expect to know, but it does make me wonder. I have attended a exploratory necropsy on a horse that had died but had not put one to sleep with the goal of dissecting it. Was it hard to do, emotionally?


I think that's a big problem with both necropsy, and diagnostics: that we can't always know if what was found was the cause of any problems, or just coincidence. So the results of explorations are more often about whether the evidence for a link is weak or strong, rather than about "for sure" answers.

I have at least one horse that I'd like to do an extensive necropsy on when I put him down, but hopefully, that's a ways off and I'll still have the interest and opportunity when it's time.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby silk » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:37 pm

Chisamba, that's what I wonder. Hence my comment above that only one of these things may have been the cause of the behaviour - or perhaps the effect was cumulative. It is also why Sharon is steering away from using unknown horses on the dissection table - "history horses" are much more valuable for learning because the owner can relate their experiences during the horse's life and any investigation they have had done already. Participants (and Sharon) also know the level of care and rehabilitation that had already been explored. I didn't put Indy down specifically 'for' the course (it took me two years from making the decision that she would not be staying, to actually doing it), however as I was somewhat "desperate" for answers to this unsolvable puzzle, that it was an opportunity I made happen. I have been to several before (three with my vet and one with Sharon) so I was not going in blind in terms of the process. I think I would not have done it if I had not had the experience with a subject I had no emotional attachment to. There were certainly moments, specifically opening up some of the really badly affected joints, and hearing Sharon talk "to" Indy, where I was welling up with tears, and times I had to walk away for a bit of space.

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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby NancyP » Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:25 pm

Wow.
Just wow.

Thanks for sharing.

silk
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Location: Hamilton, New Zealand

Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby silk » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:20 am

Indy's journey helped my client make a similar decision for her horse (along with some other decisions in her life), so we farewelled him and explored internally on Sharon's table this year.
The pair of them now rest side by side in my paddock.

This horse had a major crash at a young age which contributed to his physical pain and inability to stay sound in any level of work. Once again we got to see the result of GOOD horsemanship and care. His condition was a real credit to his owner, who physically couldn't have done more for him than she did.

However! It turned out (unlike Indy) that he had the C6 vertebrae malformation. This malformation and its associated problems likely caused his injury circumstances to begin with. That provided many answers about his movement, pain, inability to stay sound, etc etc. In some ways it was less hard than seeing Indy, who's problems were directly physical (injury). I still wonder if anyone actually knew of her injury... ignoring rather than addressing it.

Seeing this level of detail raises serious and difficult rehabilitation questions for me. Predominantly "what purpose does this serve"... Heartbreaking in a way. I would like to do more, and to do it right.

khall
Bringing Life to the DDBB
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Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby khall » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:12 am

silk can you elaborate on what kind of issues this horse had and do they believe it was from the malformation? TB I assume?''

My condolences to your friend. I am sure it helps to know his issues fully to be at peace with letting him go.

silk
Herd Member
Posts: 455
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:17 am
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand

Re: Trust your gut: Indy's story

Postby silk » Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:55 pm

He was QHxTB. His full sister also had problems, but without knowing the breeding (we don't know the TB line), we can't suggest whether it was through their dam or sire, but the malformation does exist in QHs due to the TB blood.

If you check Jane Clothier's blog, she has some great articles on the C6/C7 malformation, and the problems it causes. Sharon's work is starting to be published, too, but not in such layman's terms, generally far more technical.

What it boiled down to was... he had a huge crash at 18mos, and it was thought that his issues (pain, crookedness, damage, etc) all stemmed from that crash and the resulting injuries. However, it is more likely that the C6 malformation and its associated problems actually contributed to the crash occurring. He was probably crooked skeletally prior to the crash.

Same "end result" (non-sound horse through injury), but different cause. Changes the picture hugely.


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