Nineteen | Ax Update

It felt appropriate to use Ax’s 19th birthday as an excuse to give an update on the birthday buffalo himself. But first, how the crap is my horse in his last teenage year? As much as I hate to admit it, it’s crazy to think that he is kinda-sorta officially an “old man” now. Thankfully, he still acts like his younger self most of the time, and I’ll take it.

As of today, Ax has officially been back under saddle since The Mystery Lameness of 2017 for 365 days. A year ago I hopped on, bareback and in a halter, after he had been three-legged two months before and it has only up from there—rocky at times, of course, but still up.

It’s been a good eight months since there has been an Ax-only post. In the last update, Ax and I were stuck in a bit of a rehab rut with no hint of light at the end of the tunnel. From what you can probably tell from more recent posts, we eventually found our way out of the rut thanks to a vet visit, more than a few chiropractic appointments, and a prescription for Equioxx.

I’ll be honest, the idea of my horse needing a daily medication to be comfortable didn’t sit right with me at first. But it’s no secret that he has done his fair share of jumping over the years, and it was no surprise when the arthritis we knew he had from years of being a show horse reared its ugly head. So the decision was made to put him on the anti-inflammatory with annual check ups on his gut health and liver and kidney function (it is an NSAID after all).

Since starting on Equioxx, Ax has been feeling pretty amazing—heck, he feels better than he did before. With my busy summer season over so I can finally get to the barn consistently and without being utterly exhausted, his fitness is slowly getting closer and closer to what it used to be. We don’t have clearance to jump courses quite yet, nor are we even ready for that again yet, but we’ve trotted a cross rail or two (or three, four, and five) with success. We definitely still have work to do—his topline still needs improvement, we’re back to struggling with consistency in the contact, and jumps at anything but the canter are a whole other story—but it feels like we are on our way there.

Because it has been a year, I’m not sure I can say we are still rehabbing (are we post-habbing? Or still-habbing?). But it also doesn’t feel like we are 100% done with the process; I’m not sure it ever will, but the thought of that doesn’t discourage me anymore. Maybe we are just happily 19 and forever-habbing. Cheers to that!

-TC

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