Posted on Monday, November 25, 2013 by Heather Dodd
I was interested to read the article on the equine nervous system in the November issue of Central Horse News and thought readers might be interested in my horse’s story.
I bought Kody as a foal. By the age of three his movement was so promising and exciting that I sent him away to be professionally broken. Within the first two weeks he had an accident, he fell over backwards and landed flat on his spine. At first he seemed fine but soon started showing progressive signs of lameness, and there were behavioural problems such as rearing and stopping. ‘Naughty horse’ was the phrase I heard a great deal at this time but I was sure that there was something more wrong with this sweet obliging horse.
A friend of mine is an equine back therapist and after examining him found that he was very wrong indeed. After a few treatments he appeared to have recovered and I decided to school him again and sent him to a local trainer to further his education. Whilst there, he had another accident, and this time the symptoms were extraordinarily distressing to witness.
Kody kept on falling over and his legs were totally uncoordinated. He was diagnosed as being a Wobbler, and I was advised to have him destroyed. I had a second opinion from another vet who did different tests and the diagnosis and prognosis were the same. I was devastated but didn’t want to give up on my horse.
In desperation, I took him to another back specialist recommended by a friend. The advice was to keep him moving, work him and not restrict him. If he showed no improvement within three weeks, he would have to be destroyed. I followed the advice to the letter, found a horse walker, and started carefully lunging and long reining every day and kept to strict routine.
I began to see improvements, and these were enough to fill me with hope. Several months later Kody was fit enough to be ridden. Gradually and tentatively I have built up his fitness levels keeping a close and fearful eye on his mobility all the time. Two and a half years on, unbelievably, and I may add with tears in my eyes, I am watching him do flying changes and passage!
It appears a bruised spine not Wobblers could have been responsible for the symptoms that he was showing. Kody is still a work in progress’ but he is a remarkable horse and deserves all the love and care I have given him. He has paid me back tenfold.
Photos by www.jo-monck-photography.co.uk