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Ernie Update: Awards, PRP, & a Cough

I ended up with a few smaller items to share that all relate to Ernie so why not do them together in one post.

  1. Year End Awards – On our local B circuit we ended up champion in low adult equitation over fences and third in limit adult equitation over fences. My first trophy as an adult! I didn’t go to the COVID altered awards banquet, just didn’t seem worth the drive or the risk to go. I hope to have many more years of fun with Ernie anyway, so it’s just one weird year in the scheme of things. Proud of what we accomplished in 2020 and so thankful to have a horse I enjoy both in and out of the show ring. Really having a horse that I enjoy riding is the most important part to me.

2. PRP – Short for platelet-rich plasma. When I purchased Ernie his pre-purchase exam showed that he had formerly fractured his sesamoid on his right hind ankle but it had healed well. While there wasn’t any sign of current trouble on x-ray, I was warned that at some point it would need maintenance. Over the summer I noted that often the day after a hard work I had to really think about asking that right hind to keep up and keep active, and so I started wondering about injecting.

I know many people do steroid injections and their horses are just fine, but I’ve had both good and bad results and honestly steroids freak me out. I’m always reading and it sounded like PRP was a safer injection (all injections carry risk as you are introducing outside materials to the joint) and a good way to reduce inflammation in the joint. Reducing inflammation then in turn slows the progression of arthritis.

My vets were on board so back in early December Ernie got his ankle injected. PRP is slower acting, but Ernie had an easy few months after the injection (see cough I’m discussing next) and as we’ve gotten back to jumping he’s felt great. I am thinking maybe I will consider doing PRP for his hocks in the future as a maintenance tool when needed.

3. Cough – just prior to the Mark Leone clinic Ernie developed a cough. No fever, acting normal, just a bad cough. I had him looked at by the vet and he was cleared to do the clinic. He didn’t cough at all the first day but he did during one course the second day. After that, I noted that sometimes he seemed to be breathing harder than I thought he should be during my rides despite ultimately recovering fine. The cough continued to plague us when we tried to jump, even when he had stopped coughing on the flat.

So I got him looked at again. This time they did an SAA test (Serum Amyloid A) which showed he did have an infection. Sadly the test can tell you if there is infection, but not if it’s bacterial or viral. Due to the time frame involved and his lack of other symptoms, the vet felt it was likely viral. So Ernie got some very easy work weeks and I started him on a respiratory supplement the vet recommended.

Knock on wood he is doing well now and hasn’t coughed under saddle at all in over a week. With some crazy cold temperatures on the way he will have some easy weeks coming up. I discussed with the vet and we agreed that he should not be working when it’s under 15F since he’s still recovering.

Of course I’m heading back into another tax season now. I know Ernie is on board for all the late night bareback rides that help me survive the long hours and stress of the season. <3