My Equisolv Journey Part 2 by Susan Gorman

Ok, so where was I..oh yes, Maise was on the Equisolv original, we were working hard to get back to competition ready and working towards doing some sane (is that a thing?!) cross-country.

Well as it happens, part of my riding routine has always been more hacking than schooling. I feel it’s better for me and it’s better for the horse, both in mind and body. So that’s what we were doing.

We schooled once a week in the arena and the rest of the time on the roads or in the woods going on different terrain, different speeds and jumping a few bits here and there as well as wading in rivers. It was during the summer that I started to notice a very small change in Maisie on the road. Every so often she would drag her off hind toe on the ground, it was so small it took Lorraine to point it out one day when we were trotting up hill. We checked her for lameness and nothing was different, she was her usual powerhouse self. However it started to niggle at me, and I know I am an overthinking worrier when it comes to horses but I just couldn’t get it out of my head.

Then came a few issues in the arena. The only habit Maisie has that anyone could class as ‘bad’ would be her tendency to move at a million miles an hour when there is jumping involved. Outside that she never bucks, rears, naps or does anything that would be dangerous. She is the safest mare I have ever ridden. I trust her so much that following my second back surgery in 2018 I had no hesitation whatsoever when I pulled her out of the field after four months and took her out hacking the roads on my own. She had a mostly grown out clip, she hadn’t had a saddle on in all that time I had just turned her away for a break, and I was absolutely not supposed to be tacking up or even getting on a horse. I never hesitated, I even had sneaky canters in a huge stubble field and she just minded me. So fast forward to August and we are schooling over a mix of show jumps and xc fences, everything is fine..until it isn’t. Maise started to plunge after fences and tried to buck, although very half heartedly. I didn’t even hesitate I immediately knew that this was her way of telling me somethings wrong. Now, before you read further – you will probably say I should have known she was off. But when I tell you that Maisie is a trooper, I mean she just doesn’t show lameness. And we had checked…a lot!

Anyway, between the toe drag and now this I was feeling surer there was something wrong and started to suspect an SI injury. So I booked an appointment to get a full work up done in Angelsey Lodge Equestrian Hospital. What has this got to do with Equisolv? Glad you asked. On the morning of the appointment I had no help on the yard as the owner was away on holidays. Maisie can be tricky to load when she has a mind and she is not the best traveller in the world. So armed with this knowledge and a tube of Equisolv calm aid paste we actually loaded nicely and the trip up was without incident. The mistake I made was not bringing the paste with me for the drive home, but who knew I’d be there for 4 hours!

After a half a day of lameness investigations, nerve blocking, scans and x-rays the vets at Angelsey diagnosed Maisie with navicular in both her front hooves and a hind suspensory ligament damage. Basically she was lame on three legs, the front hadn’t shown up when I’d trotted her at home because she was bilaterally lame but it did explain why she was now plunging after a fence. The hind suspensory fibres are stretched but there are no holes or tears, however it looks to be chronic damage. It was a devastating diagnoses for me but I am glad my niggles wouldn’t let me rest until I got to the bottom of it. So off we went home with a rehab plan and a broken heart.

The first thing I did when I got home was book the farrier for remedial shoeing and he did such a smashing job front and back that Maisie was immediately more comfortable. Luckily, for now, the navicular is not advanced enough to require injections and the shoeing should keep her comfortable and she is on a strict 6 week schedule. The suspensory is trickier, it needs support and the right surface to work on. The next thing I did was give her a full six weeks off to aid recovery. The third thing was to review her feed supplements. She was on Equisolv original but I started to think that the perhaps joint aid or Vitality+ and the digest aid from Equisolv might be more suited to her with this new development. I consulted with Jildau from Equisolv and she recommended the Vitality+ so I gradually changed her onto that. With the winter coming in I was also concerned that more nights in than out might cause her stomach issues to re-appear so I also started introducing digest aid. She gets two scoops of vitality in the morning and two of digest aid in the evening.

I am so happy with the supplements she is currently on. After her six weeks off I brought her back in and started the in hand physio as recommended by the vet. Maisie is in the best form I have ever seen her in. She has weight on which is usually so hard at this time of year as she tends to drop weight and loose condition in the colder months. Last winter it was constant battle to feed and keep enough condition on her and I barely stayed ahead of it. This year, thanks in part to the Equisolv range, she is looking like a fat, happy pony and her appetite for hay is increased ten-fold. Physically, doing physio we have been out walking the road a lot (that’s a whole other horror story) and she is moving well. I’m very happy with her progress and will be taking her for a rescan in the new year. This week we hit a milestone that I had thought would never happen again. I rode her. I went through a difficult few months after diagnosing her but I’m through the worst of it now. I might even write about it someday. In my head I had retired her to grass for the rest of her life, but that’s not Maisie, she is happiest when she has a job and a routine. All we will do is hack. It’s all I can do anyway – and that’s debatable because once again I probably shouldn’t be on a horse, and I wouldn’t ride any other horse than Maisie in my current condition. So yesterday, I rode, I tacked up and with the help of Lorraine, who was minding us, I mounted and rode around the arena for 10 minutes, just walking. Did I mention walking is all we will be doing? And in short little stints? Slow and steady wins the race!

My journey with horses this year has had its highs and lows, its ups and downs, its joys and devastation, but every step of the way, for whatever we were doing I have been supported by the team at Equisolv. I have gone through a lot of supplements over the years and struggled to find one that really suited Maisie as she can be fussy. Starting on the Equisolv Original was the best decision I ever made, it feels a little like serendipity. The original led to vitality and digest aid and in the end so much more.

My horse is happy, and healthy. I am an ambassador for a product I really believe in. And while the future in sight is not the one I had hoped or planned for, I will get to spend it with my best girl doing what we love the most, just hacking the paths of Ireland ��


My Equisolv Journey Part 2 by Susan Gorman

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