A few weeks ago, my horse, Merlin, started limping while I was riding him, so, I checked his hoof for rocks, couldn't find any, cooled him out, and hoped that he would start feeling better. He did, but not to the point that I could ride him, so I assumed that he was just due for a trim and some new shoes. The farrier came and did his job, then I gave Merlin the week off do that he could heal. After his little break was over, I tacked him up and began to ride. Miraculously, he was sound! I rode him again the following day; still sound! Later that week, I had a riding lesson, and had planned on riding Merlin in it, that didn't happen. Merlin was limping even worse than he had before. I scheduled an appointment with the vet. The vet came and did various tests, narrowing the pain down to a specific place in his hoof, and told me he needed to come in for X-rays. Today, Merlin got all of his X-rays done, and before the vet showed them to me, he told me the two possibilities:
Navicular Disease: a type of degenerative bone disease, that often cripples horses, no cure, hard to manage.
Sidebone: like bone spurs in humans. A large growth on one or both sides of the cannon bone, no cure, but easy to manage.
The vet looked over the X-rays, and basically said, "I told you so!" Merlin was diagnosed with sidebone. We talked about treatment options, and of he needed to be operated on. I was expecting many months of riding everyone else's horses while Merlin healed, but was told that that was not needed. No surgeries, no need for a rest for more than a few days. Merlin was given a shot in his joint that reduces pain for up to three months, he will be getting remedial shoeing, and will need a little bit of bute now and then, but, my amazing boy can be ridden again starting this Saturday!! I can't wait!!