Fix a flat

It was a long and busy weekend here, between barn stuff and house stuff and Presto’s FEH show. I have a lot to say about the show but I’m still thinking on it, so… maybe tomorrow we’ll recap that. Today though, I’m here to talk about our lord and savior – Joint Injections.

Not really scared of Tillie anymore, but Tillie is still wary of us. Henry’s reputation precedes him.

Henry is 12 now, and I feel acutely aware of each passing year. He never raced, but he was used on the training track a lot, and his conformation isn’t particularly ideal. His legs are crooked, his neck is low set, and he travels quite croup-high naturally. I feel like my life is dedicated to rocking this horse back on his haunches, something that requires a lot of strength-building and constant effort. He also doesn’t have the best hocks. He’s kind of the case of the horse who does the job despite his conformation, not because of it.


Because of that, most of his life is tailored around keeping him strong and fit. His whole body is happier that way, and his job is easier. But he also seems a lot happier with regular hock injections, too. I’m never particularly excited about sticking a needle in a joint, but if it helps him be happier in his job, I’m gonna do it. I can always feel when he needs them done long before I can see it. It’s hard to describe but it almost feels like he’s got a little bit of a flat tire in his canter. He’s not able to sit as much, or he’ll start trying to swing his haunches slightly one way or the other to take the load off the hocks (especially on the hills). The past month or so he’s been feeling like he’s got a flat tire to the left, so the during Henry’s pre-Coconino checkup, the vet flexed him and agreed that some joint juice was a good idea.


He got a couple days off, a light hacking day, and a flatwork day, and then on Saturday Hillary and I set some jumps up. Aside from the gymnastics day a couple weeks ago I haven’t jumped him since we were at Holly Hill in the middle of May. We set a smaller course, then Hillary got off and raised them a couple holes for me. Nothing too huge, but closer to what we normally jump.

We kept it really short and simple, but Henry feels really good. He’s definitely leaving the ground better and I’m not having to work quite so hard to get his front end up. It was a pretty quick difference, an immediate fix to the flat tire. Hopefully this week we can get his farrier appointment moved up a little bit, he’s grown so much foot that even at 4 weeks things are looking sketchy, and keeping his toes under control is a major part of keeping his hocks happy.

Then after that he needs his health certificate (have I said enough times how convenient it is to have your horses living at your vet’s house?) and we’ll hopefully be good to go. We’re kind of just cruising now, keeping him happy and loose and feeling good. I’m so ready to get the heck out of here, I need a vacation! Pretty sure Henry will be really happy to escape the heat and humidity too.

just me or does this seem excessive for 9pm?


12 thoughts on “Fix a flat

  1. Joint injections are seriously great for some horses. Rio also has not great hocks (especially for his age) and he gets injected as needed, usually twice a year. I can totally relate to the “flat tire” feeling, as I can always feel when it’s time too. I’m all for any treatments that help our partners do their job easier. Have you heard of doing injections with ProStride? I have heard a little bit about it here and there and have been thinking it’s something I would like to talk to my vet about.


  2. Yeahhh I know what you mean about that flat tire feeling. May is super stoic… so any kind of lameness behind shows up as just a mild case of the “mehs” that can be hard to pin down. As a horse that is REALLY NOT BUILT for the job, I have no qualms against maintaining her comfort. Better living through chemistry, when necessary.


  3. Thinking on getting Remus’s lube job done this year. He is 16 and never been done but def think he could use it. I am glad Henry (and others) have mom’s like you! It will be so nice to be somewhere coolish i get it. It is nicer today than it was this weekend and I am loving it.

    Henry looks great. How is your ankle?? Also glad you all are settling in at new place. it would be so nice to stay at my vet’s! HA


            1. My friend is a vet, I think you know her (Caren – she rides with your trainer too) and when she got kicked recently, she did x-ray it to make sure it wasn’t broken. It was not broken, but the bruise was crazy.


  4. Henry looks great! I’m all for maintenance if and when they need it. Of course now I’m a little terrified after Jampy foundered from his joint injections, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still do it when and if they need it. I just have a week of severe anxiety after.
    I’m totally a little jealous of your in-house vet.


    1. Do you even have horses if you don’t have severe anxiety at some point? I’m beginning to think the answer is no. Hahaha


  5. I totally know the flat tire feeling – when Frankie’s due, he starts losing power in his hind end off the ground. He still jumps and does the job, but things have less oomph behind them. I’m with Emily, better living through chemistry.


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