Coolie goes to university

Coolie and I were off to the vet today, and for once it was a planned visit.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to get Coolie checked out to make sure he is sound and happy. There are a few training issues we have that in my mind aren't 100% because I am doing the wrong thing and at 15, I expect Coolie to have some wear and tear.

We headed off to Murdoch Animal Hospital, a vet school where I  haven't taken Coolie before but where I went to university (although I didn't study vet science!).  Coolie immediately knew something was up, there was WAY more going on than there normally is when we go places. He was pretty convinced the horses and cows in the paddocks were just hiding something much scarier.

Mum, this is not normal!

We met the vet, and I explained why we were there and what I have been feeling under saddle. the vet (and vet student army!) started by doing a lameness work up. Coolie trotted sound in a straight line and on a circle, but to the right there was something very minor. We lunged him on an arena surface and the slight gait irregularity persisted in his right hind. I could see it sometimes, he just didn't load the leg as much as the left and the ark of movement was less. I don't think the vet students could see it either. I couldn't see anything in a straight line, and I could only see it a little bit on the bitumen surface.

Flexion tests showed nothing significant, his joints felt good and hoof testers also got no reaction.

The vet explained that Coolie had a very minor hind end lameness. She said that is it were a pre purchase exam, she would be unconcerned by it, but it was something to be aware of. She explained there were 3 options we could pursue;

1. Not do anything and just observe, reevaluating in a few month time
2. Radiograph to see if we could see anything
3. Inject his hocks, where she suspected the issue was.

The vet and I had a conversation about the different options. I was most torn between waiting and observing and injecting rather than taking radiographs. The vet further explained that she didn't recommend radiographs because we didn't know exactly where the lameness is. Plus it was the most costly option with no real result as there may be nothing to see since the lameness was so minor.

Injecting his hocks would mean that I either see an improvement or not, and if not further investigation can be done. The vet suspected hocks and said if it were her horse that would be the path she took. I decided since I have been feeling something for a while to go with the injections.

Coolie was a very good patient and impressed everyone with how chill he was. He really is a very easy horse, and the vet was pleased to have a good patient. I just said thats why we need to keep him sound. Coolie had both hocks done, and there was joint fluid in the right one that came out when it was injected, indicating some inflammation. The left was normal, with no fluid.

He just really wanted carrots

Now we wait and see! He has the weekend off, then light riding Monday - Wednesday and right back into it on Thursday. I should notice a difference in a few weeks, if not sooner. Then if it works thats great, and if not I can choose to investigate further.

Overall, this was about what I expected. At 15, he is in very good condition and is quite sound. What we found today is just something we need to be aware of but at this stage wont affect his performance any more than it already is. The vet said jumping wouldn't be a problem but dressage is where we would see issues, which is on par with what I am feeling.

I'm glad I haven't been imagining this, but I am more pleased that there is nothing to worry about. Coolie is just pleased to be home and in his paddock! I love hw easy he is, every time I have to take him somewhere like this people fall in love with him because he is friendly and laid back. It makes such a big difference. I love my sweet boy.


  1. Hopefully the injections do the trick and he feels like a million bucks!

    1. It would be nice if it magically resolves some of the issues we have been having! But I'll settle for him feeling better

  2. Murray felt great after his hock injections last year -- he was bucking and kicking up a storm! Hopefully Coolie feels just as wonderful (with less bucking if that's what you'd prefer!).

    1. I have heard so many success stories so i am feeling very positive. He can buck to his hearts content... I'll laugh at him all the same! I don't mind a buck if it's to express how great life is!


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