To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Better living through modern pharmacology

Lance has been on twice-daily oral prednisolone for a couple months now. It has not been a magic cure; his breathing still isn't 100%, he still lacks energy, and he's still losing muscle mass, albeit more slowly.

Case in point: The day we got back from Omaha was beautiful, so I turned out Lance and Oliver in the arena to burn off steam. Lance hadn't been out in a week and a half, but what you see in the photos above are the sum total of his energy expenditure. He dropped and rolled, got up and hopped once followed by a bit of canter. After that he shuffled around at a walk or jog while Oliver continued to race around.
I continue to ride him often but briefly. Asking him to do very much makes me feel like I'm 'beating a dead horse,' but not exercising him at all would be even worse for him. So we keep it short and effective; touching on the knowledge that is there, refining it a wee bit each ride. I'm glad to have the exercises learned at the Expo in our toolbox!

His ears aren't really THAT big. ;-)
Finally, this week Rick did a lung lavage in order to check cytology. Poor Lance; even though he was sedated, the sensation of the silicone tube going down his bronchial tube and into his lung made him cough so violently his eyes watered! Fortunately, it didn't last long. Like most of the other tests Rick's done on Lance, the results came back pretty normal, other than some plant material present (probably hay dust). We've added once-daily Ventipulmin syrup (clenbuterol) to his regimen; that helps him clear his airways better and seems to have perked him up a bit. Once the bottle is used up, we'll have to look at something more suitable for long-term use; clenbuterol can affect his heart.

So that is what has – and has not – changed in my Camelot. The Holy Grail of perfect health is elusive, and its quest has been an overarching burden on my mind these many weeks. But I still have my Lancelot, and he has me. That is enough.

1 comment:

Theresa said...


Would it be worthwhile to see if there is something in the soil or other environmental causes? It would be interesting to see if he improves at another location. Can the sheep be a source of respiratory distress for him, an allergy caused by? particular to them? Just thinking out loud. Poor guy. I wish you all had an easy fix for him.