Short version: no hock injections. Mild reaction to flexions on both hocks. Nothing significant enough to warrant even x-rays at this point – likely finding would be very early stages of arthritis. Joint supplements were recommended.
When the vet started talking about how he wanted to take a look at some stuff, but he’d have to torture me a bit in the process, I inwardly winced. I figured the worst: x-rays, something along those lines, something that wouldn’t give nice straightforward answers. I was mildly astonished when he just wanted me to trot her out and back in a straight line for him. I think he was pleasantly surprised when neither the pony nor I was bothered by doing several endurance trot-outs (and she even got to walk back the last two times!) – I guess his usual clients are less cooperative about trotting in-hand.
Vet thought that most joint supplements would be legal for endurance. Alas, no. That said, I think I will be putting her on Cosequin ASU anyway, and pulling her off a week-or-so prior to our handful of 25s. I’m not looking to fix any major problems, it’s entirely possible we may never make it to a 50, and the number of rides we make it to yearly is quite limited. I do plan to let the vet know that his assumption was incorrect and that actually AERC is quite limiting, but I have no problem with him being wrong on that. He’s not the one competing, I am; it’s my responsibility to know what’s legal for my chosen discipline, not his!
Naturally, I went riding that afternoon. Nice, still vaguely foggy, not too hot. Pony and I headed out alone with a concrete goal in mind: the Pogonip/UCSC border. Serious hill workout, and what will be the hardest part of the Fireworks ride for us. I intentionally left the heart monitor off. The goal was to push where she’d let me, and I know I back off when I see her recoveries. Pony, though, won’t let me push her too far at this point, and I wanted us moving whereever possible.
We kept a good 5mph average for the initial flat section, even moving at what felt like a moderately slow trot. I was very happy with that. I was less thrilled with our immediate speed decline as soon as we started dealing with hills.
Rough numbers: 12.2miles, 3h30min. 3.45mph average. Our downhills were decent, but we did walk probably half the trottable uphill just due to how MUCH there was of it all at once.
I didn’t push as much as I could have. It’s the longest solo ride we’ve done, and she was not thrilled with me. She went when I asked, yes, but the confidence still needs some work. We should have trotted more in Pogonip, but I didn’t want her to totally hate me and hate going out alone, so we compromised. When she was willing, we went. When I had to beat it out of her, we mostly didn’t. I know she’s capable of trotting more, but I also know it’s a tough hill for her to deal with and still recover. It should be less of an issue with more horses going at any kind of speed.