It’s easy to look at May and think of all the maintenance things I don’t have to worry about. Shoes? Nope. Mane pulling? Nah. Honestly, the most she usually gets its some supplements in her handful of grain in an attempt of meeting all her nutritional needs with as few calories as possible.

However, this month ended up being a heavy maintenance month. May is 14 this year (or 15… or 9 or 19… who knows), and I want her to keep going as long as possible. This year, that started with saddle fitting. While the county I had fit her well, it was in desperate need of a full reflock and new billets ($$$). I had my Dressage saddle looked at to because its flocking was getting lumpy (turns out this is related to the kind of flocking Stubben uses). Turns out, it ALSO needed a full reflock. UGH.

Not missing that Stubben… So happy with my county

Do I regret spending this money? Not at all. My county feels incredible and May feels great in both saddles now. While she never seemed back sore, I can definitely see her comfort is improved, and to me, it’s definitely worth spending the money to maintain them, given the cost of both saddles new. (I bought both used but the total replacement value of both saddles would be about $10K new.)

Then, on Saturday, I had May’s annual vet/lameness check up. Let me just say… I hate these things. I am always convinced the night before that May will be deemed 100% lame and in need of being retired (no matter how well she flew over XC jumps this 2 days earlier).

In 2018, I got into the habit of having a vet look at May once a year to establish soundness (or not) and to do any preventative maintenance necessary. I usually do this earlier in the year to get ahead of show season but… yeah 2020 happened. You can read the past year visits here and here. The shortest recap ever: in 2018, we injected hocks and stifles. In 2019, we just injected hocks. (Side note, but these blog entries are the MOST helpful in keeping a record of maintenance.)

Last time, we had talked about doing pentosan to elongate the times between injections, but I hadn’t pulled the trigger. This time, we did a lameness eval, flexions, jogs, etc etc. And… May seemed fine. The vet pointed out that she didn’t move as fluid and free as the big fancy warmbloods and thoroughbreds… but that she didn’t expect her to. Let’s face it. May is a draft/QH cross… she moves like a draft/QH cross haha.

This is the benefit of working with a vet for 3 years. She is used to seeing May and was VERY impressed with how much more comfortable May looked compared to 2018 and even 2019. (When you work on thoroughbreds all day, you tend to remember the short, yellow mare.) May showed 0 response to flexions, jogged great, and turned on a tight circle without issues. WHEW. I think part of this is just better fitness than we usually have in February/March, when we’ve traditionally done this.

Vet asked how much work she’s been in. Full work… and I showed her a video. My vet’s response, “Wow she is so different when she is going! Just PINGS over those fences!” Cracked me up. How much work this week? Uhhhh full jump lesson on Tuesday and full XC schooling on Thursday… so a lot. My vet shrugged and said “honestly, I don’t see anything to do here. She seems really comfortable and sound in work, and I don’t like doing injections just to do them.”

And… I completely agree. Injecting joints is invasive and not without risk. I am 100% willing to do them, if necessary, but I am super hesitant to just go there for the sake of checking a box. However, it has been 15 months and we’re starting to enter shows again (HOPEFULLY)… so I brought up the pentosan that we had discussed the year before.

We discussed how the vet had other clients who did a round of it and were SUPER happy (Sporthorses and racehorses). She said she didn’t think it was clinically necessary, since May seemed comfortable, but that the increased joint fluid could help her maintain that comfort and even improve on things a bit. She is incredibly stoic and will really hide low levels of pain.

Ultimately, I weighed the cost (less than I was expecting to spend on injections), coupled with the risks (not many), against the benefits (could be significant)… and I decided to just go ahead and get it done. It’s a muscle injection, but since my vet is literally down the street every Saturday for racehorses, she offered to just swing by and do May each week for the month. Works for me!

She said the results should be apparent pretty quickly, so hoping that it helps us out this weekend at our first horse trial of 2020!

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. martidoll123

    yay on lubing May up a bit. Can’t hurt! ๐Ÿ™‚ Zoom Zoom!!

    I really need to get Remus looked at. He is FINE but at 17 I am sure he could use some maintenance!

    1. Emily - May As Well Event

      yeah I mean… it’s definitely not the cheapest thing to do… but it’s a lot less expensive than early retirement for a horse.

      1. martidoll123

        i had to laugh at you the night before sure she would be retired ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Well, you are my kind of people. Betting on worst-case scenario. I’m pretty sure I did this with my septic cleaning on Monday…

    1. Emily - May As Well Event

      Bahahaha itโ€™s so easy to fall into that negativity spiral

  3. Stacie Seidman

    Yay! Love when the vet visit goes that way!
    I used pentosan with Jamp, and it really worked wonders. Hope the same for May!

    1. Emily - May As Well Event

      Glad to hear someone who has experience with it! I have heard good things through the grape vine, but not directly.

  4. Rhiannon F

    I did a round of pentosan with my gelding in 2016 I believe it was. It definitely helped him move a bit more fluidly, but at the time we didn’t realize my saddle was causing a lot of issues, so it didn’t make as much difference as what we were hoping for at the time. My vet helped me with the first injection and since Dexter was so blase about it, I was able to do the other 3 injections myself and save myself from paying the trip fee and for her to inject him weekly.

    We did pentosan instead of adequan because it was less expensive. Also, my vet said that adequan works well for some horses, but not all. Same for the pentosan.

  5. Karen

    I’ve had really good luck with Pentosan! Made Hampton feel like he was in new fancy sneakers or something lol

    1. Emily - May As Well Event

      Glad to hear! Fingers crossed it makes her feel even better

  6. Nadia

    Nice! That’s great news!
    Have you considered shoes for her- just for some extra support since she is jumping so much? May help down the road?

    1. Emily - May As Well Event

      Yeah. She was in shoes a couple of years ago. She actually stomped so much that they caused cracks between all nails nails and she basically lost half her foot in the middle of summer. We went barefoot because there wasnt anything to nail the shoes to (and I didnt want to do glue ons)

      I will probably put shoes back on if necessary, but I’m trying to support her feet through supplements/hardeners/frequent farrier visits.

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