There’s no other way to put it: SHIT news.

I had the vet out for a routine checkup on Fritz this past Thursday. Since he has some chronic right hind suspensory issues, I wanted to get him evaluated and make sure we were staying ahead of the curveball in regards to pain, inflammation, and issues popping up in that leg. What started out as a routine checkup for the right hind turned into everything but.

The good news is that his right hind is doing well overall! (Thanks for glimmers of hope).

The bad news; after doing flex tests and nerve blocks BOTH front legs have started causing some issues. It appears the superficial tendons have started degenerating and appear bowed (we did radiographs and ultrasound after we saw the issues in the flex tests etc.)

These 2 images are the same, the right one is just outlined to show you the superficial tendon. It should show up as an oval shape but you can see that it has bowed out and ballooned into a large irregular shape. Also, keep in mind the tissue should all be the same white solid color and it is shadowed and *missing* in a good portion of the tendon.

I was given the option to treat him, make him comfortable enough to try and make it through the show season or to start regenerative treatment and rest immediately. I chose to immediately address the concerns in the way that gives Fritz his best potential for recovery. What that means for us immediately; our show season is over, Fritz is on immediate “bed rest”, my goal for showing at championships for the first time ever is over, as well as my goal for earning my silver medal this year.

But I guess looking on the bright side, we are going out with a bang; our last show score was a 65% at 4th Level which is our highest score together ever and we have participated in a LOT of really amazing experiences this year together. I have learned so much and have Fritz to thank for all of it! (Thanks to great coaching, as well).

The game plan:

He received a shot of OsPhos Thursday, he has been getting iced for 25 minutes a day up to the knee on both front legs since Thursday (and we are continuing this for one more week), he is getting surpass rubbed onto the legs daily, and was in standing wraps when not being iced until today (they have started to irritate his skin, so we are stopping the wraps for now).

Today we pulled blood and bone marrow to start growing stem cells. In about 3 weeks the vet will come back out and inject the stem cells into the superficial tendons, as well as the vessels around the superficial tendons. Tomorrow he starts on a regimen of Equiox. (For those that like this sort of thing – gross photos below YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!)

I have some stretches (no impact) to do with him to just keep his body limber and at least a little muscled up while on his bed rest. I’m also going to see if I can find an affordable cold laser so I can do daily treatment on him at home.

Then after the stem cells are injected he will be on handwalking for a few months while things repair themselves in his legs. And after a recheck and soundness evaluation (providing all goes well) we start a slow rehab program.

I truly don’t know what I would do without the expertise of the team at CSU and Drs. Erin Contino and Jodie Daglish. Their goal oriented plan and calm way of explaining things really helps you as an owner not completely freak out (notice I said “not completely”, there was still a small freak-out session! Thank goodness for good friends and wine… LOL)

I’m heart broken. Beyond heart broken. Not just because my heart horse is down and out, but because he has been working his butt off for me and may have been uncomfortable doing it without a single complaint from him (and I didn’t notice there was a problem – I’m honestly SHOCKED by the news, as is my trainer, and everyone that sees Fritz go on a regular basis).

So if you have some extra prayers, good thoughts, jingles, etc. to spare for Fritz, it would mean the world to me. I’ll keep you updated with his progress.

If you are squeamish – look away now – don’t scroll any further!