Pardon the pun...
Connor, after four years off from work, actually had to work this weekend! Hopefully I can stay awake long enough to describe the story behind all of this, but Im super exhausted, so we'll see how far I get!
In a nushell, due to racing so long, Connor developed arthritis in his cervical (think neck) vertebrae that is causing compression to his spinal cord and causing him to be neurologic. We were almost 100% positive we were going to have to euthanize him in Feb or '08 and I am so insanely grateful for each and every day we have with this great horse. Connor literally worked his ass off, racing all over the country and eventually, at the ripe old age of 9 (!!!!!!!!!) went from claimer to claimer until he was sold from Pimlico to a trainer at Charles Town who knew a lady who worked with me at Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, VA (near DC). He retired fine, and was breezing through his retraining until 2008 when he became neurologic.
His neurology mainly presents in lack of coordination of his hind end, particularly his RH. Even though he was a grade 4/5 when we took him up to MDSEMC for a myelogram (which they were actually unable to do, as he wouldn't have been able to get back up it was so bad at that time), they did do radiographs and were able to DX from those. He progressed eventually to a grade 2/5, but is probably back to around a 3/5 at this point. His muscle atrophy is not as bad as it would seem like it should be to this point, I think his large size helps that a bit. We also keep all of our horses out 24/7 so he gets his exercise outside.
Anyway, I've been thinking the last month or so that perhaps working him a little either in leading him through ground work exercises, or through lungeing might be beneficial in keeping him strong. I had the farm basically to myself this Saturday so after riding Chick, I decided I'd try Connor out on the lunge. Please forgive the following: his not great grooming job, the knocked down jump in the back ground, my dog rooting around for who knows what, and my annoying clucks...it is after all my first time trying to lunge Connor, AND my first time videoing any lunging with my new phone.
By the way, we were walking on a vey small circle due to aforementioned reasons 1. Connor has never been lunged before, and 2. I was videoing while trying to do the lunging.
Ok, enough disclaimers. I wish I had gotten more of his leg action, maybe I can have my mother video for me when I go out and lunge him again so I can record his gait progress. There is definitely some incoordination, and some dragging of his LH toe. But not bad for a neuro guy his first time out!
It was SO good to have him back out there! Even if it was only 10 min walking. I LOVE this horse. He had soooo much performance potential it was HUGE to hear that I'd never get to ride him again, let alone lose him!!!!! Don't take your pony for granted! Get out there and hug and kiss their sweet little (or big!) faces!