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Vento

For those of you who have been following my riding career, here’s an update on Vento.  Unfortunately, it isn’t very good.  I had sent him out to CA because my coach hates the cold, and January, February and March are the most miserable months in N.M.  I drove out at the same time, and got to spend 10 days riding my boy, and enjoying a brief bit of sunshine and a lot of rain.  Then I had to return home to attend Boskone and go to NYC to see my agent.  My plan was to return to CA shortly after my return to N.M.

Unfortunately my friend became very ill, and circumstances wouldn’t allow me to go back west.  I knew Vento was in training with Lauren, and she was being coached by a pair of Olympic riders.  He had also been entered in the big Del Mar horse show, and was going to debut at third level.  What could go wrong?

The first day of the show he was out of control — bucking, rearing, refusing to go forward from the leg.  Lauren knew this wasn’t my horse.  She got off and scratched him.  Second day — no improvement.  She called in her vet who is an F.E.I vet and has worked on Olympic horses.  He was hauled to the clinic on Monday.  An ultrasound of his back was performed, and I think some X-rays as well.  They found inflammation in his S.I. (sacroiliac) joints, and they injected the joints and his right stifle.  They found nothing wrong with his legs, and I thought we had found the problem.

On Tuesday the N.M. horses were loaded on a van and returned home.  Lauren got on Vento on Friday (I was still dealing with the health crises in Albuquerque), and tried to ride him.  She called me Saturday morning, early, to tell me he was horrible, no better at all.  It was devastating news.

We tried again on Monday with the same result.  The last time this problem arose we had good luck with acupuncture so we tried that on Tuesday.  Lauren rode the horse for my vet (she didn’t think he was safe for me to ride).  Wednesday he was slightly better.  Thursday — terrible again.  I was in tears once more.  That night the barn’s vet chiropractor came out and did an adjustment on Vento.  She found his neck was badly out of alignment, and that injury manifested in the hips.  I went home feeling like we had found the problem.

He had Friday off to let the back rest, and I went out on Saturday to ride, expecting him to be profoundly better.  He wasn’t.  He was, frankly, scary.  All I did was walk, but getting him to move forward had him rearing and hopping.  I had the feeling if I asked for a trot he was going to blow sky high.  Since I haven’t ridden in six weeks I was not strong enough to feel safe.  

Now I’m going to take him to CSU in Fort Collins Colorado, and hope they can actually diagnose what is wrong with him.  My fear is that this is a career ending problem.  If that’s the case he will have to be retired to a pasture somewhere, or I try to find someone who will take him as a breeding stallion if this turns out to be an injury rather than a congenital problem.

I’ve spent my life waiting for a horse like this.  With such talent, beauty, heart and personality.  Now I’m probably going to lose him.  I’m so tormented by might have beens.  If I hadn’t sent him to C.A. he might have kept going a bit longer.  If I had gone out to C.A. I would have been able to ride him a few more times before it all went to hell. Now I’ll never ride him again unless they can diagnose the problem, and it proves to be treatable.

I know he’s “just a horse”, but the bond between horse and rider is unlike any other relationship.  Together we became a centaur.  Now I’m bereft and alone.  The culminating loss after almost four years of losses.

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