My trainer, Jutta Lee, held a wonderful potluck brunch today and Penny (the manager at Tom's new barn) and I went. Jutta is wonderful. I had been taking weekly lessons from her up until the middle of August, when Tom got the stick in his foot. I haven't had a lesson since then. It occurred to me the other day that the sequence of events is interesting, and if it hadn't happened that way, I probably wouldn't know now that he has EPSM. You see, he got the stick in his foot on August 17. He was nearly 3-legged -lame for a week. We assumed it was an abscess and I put him on stall rest (he didn't want to move anyway). After a week of that and no resolution to the abscess presumption, I started turning him out, but he didn't move much because his foot hurt. Three weeks later- thank goodness I was soaking and poulticing that foot like a crazy woman- the 2" long stick worked its way out of his frog. He was sound again. However, when I tried to put him back into work he was very uncomfortable. He'd lunge OK, but when I'd get on him he'd seize up. I felt like I was pushing a wheel barrow with a flat tire. Barb, my vet, came out and watched him on the lunge. I could tell she thought I was crazy- he looked fine- but then I got on him, and there it was- flat tire syndrome. That was when Barb decided we should check him for EPSM. In hindsight, the 2-3 weeks of minimal turnout was the worst thing for his EPSM. Now I know that his poor recovery from the stick had nothing to do with the stick itself. His muscles were all messed up. So, if he hadn't gotten the stick in his foot, I might have continued along wondering why everything was so difficult with him.
So today's brunch was full of "How's Tom?" questions from other students of Jutta's, who had seen me trailering in for my lessons, or knew Jutta was driving out to teach me at home. They didn't know about the EPSM. The first reaction when I tell people is always a sad, "ohhh...", but I always say, "Well at least I know why he acts the way he does. Maybe now I can get him feeling better and get him back to his level of training (or somewhere close)."
Now that I understand it more, I wonder about so many horses. It's such a vague disease, and it seems like we're just starting to be able to diagnose it and treat it with some hope of success.
Today I added 2000 IUs of Vitamin E (daily) to his diet. He wasn't very happy about those gel caps in his beet pulp, but I think he'll eat them. I worked him in the indoor today for 55 minutes. He was tough to get going on the lunge, but progressed nicely when I got on him. By the end we were doing walk/canter/walk transitions and trot shoulder ins quite nicely. Jutta is coming to Penny's on Wednesday and I'll have a lesson. I can't believe it's been 4 months since my last one! Check back on Wednesday for a full recap!