I've been remiss in updating because I've had some not very good news about Dante since the AECs.
After our disastrous dressage, I decided to have my vet come check him out. I thought his back might be bothering him. He had some sore back muscles during the summer, which we previously thought was due to his sore heels. Dr. A palpated his spine and Dante was definitely sensitive. So down to the imaging clinic for back x-rays we went.
The final result?
Dante has kissing spine between his 14th/15th and his 15th/16th vertebrae.
It's not the worst news. I'm glad to know that there was a physical cause of the flipped leads that plummeted our score and that he wasn't just flipping out mentally. Every time I sat deep in the canter to half halt or to encourage him to go forward or even turn, I sat right on the painful vertebrae and caused him to flip. I'm glad to know there is at least a reason.
There's two paths of treatment. The first path is injections, which is the conservative road. This is the path we'll travel first. Both the imaging vet and Dr. A thought injections would be extremely effective and both want to try the conservative approach first.
The second path is surgery. There is a newish surgery that Texas A&M has done on some horses that opens up the spaces between the vertebrae. Ironically, my friend Jessica over at Pye Equestrian has just gone through this surgery with her horse, and the imaging vet raved over her horse's x-rays without even knowing I knew her. However, the vets want to see how effective the injections will be first.
Surgery will probably be in Dante's future regardless. While the injections do seem to be working for now (Dante was injected last week), they might not work forever. Also, they seem very invasive as well as mildly painful for Dante, and have to repeated every six months. The surgery has very good results, is not too expensive, and requires only four months off. Considering I am planning on giving him an eight month hiatus anyways when I graduate while I get my life moved and settle into my career, it seems that would be a good time to do it.