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Not how we wanted to start the year!

On the 7th January I took Woody to his first competition of the year. The day before the show he was particularly difficult to ride, felt very stiff and had begun headshaking again which was out of character. When we got to the show he warmed up absolutely beautifully and they asked if we wanted to go in early… so I did. The minute I went down the centreline I knew I was in trouble. All attention had been lost and he felt extremely wild. We broke both of our extended trots, our changes were ‘expressive’ and even resulted in a handstand, nearly dismounting me. Even with all of this we still managed 63.72% 2nd, bearing in mind this was only our 5th Advanced Medium it wasn’t too bad. I put the extremely out of character behaviour (Woody is normally ‘Mr Consistent’) down to his time off over Christmas and him finding the first show all too exciting! I gave him one day off and got back on him to find him being difficult to bend and over all a challenge to ride, it was then I knew something was wrong. The small behavioural differences in him suggested there was something wrong in the mouth so I called the vets and got someone out as soon as I could.

When the vets came, I thought it may just be sharp teeth… how wrong was I! Woody had been suffering with a fractured tooth and had still tried to keep going for me. This meant that everything had to be put on hold. Woody went into the Hampshire Equine Vets on Monday 23rd January with the hope of picking him up on the Thursday, just a routine tooth removal, right? Wrong! They couldn’t get the tooth out as it had decayed so bad that it was disintegrating as they tried to pull it out. After 3 hours under sedation they were forced to stop. An emergency call out Tuesday meant Woody was put back to Wednesday. Finally, on Wednesday the vets phoned me to ask permission to drill a hole through Woody’s skull to tap the tooth out as there was no other way. So finally, by Wednesday evening my poor boy had got the tooth out! After a week from hell, on the Saturday, I was allowed to pick him up and bring him home. Immediately he was so much happier in himself. The tooth that was removed was directly on the sinus which meant that if the silicone plug fell out he was at a high risk of a sinus infection. This wasn’t the only risk, where they drilled through his face, he had nerve blocks just beneath his eye which is only 2cm from the brain, so again a high risk of infection to the brain if he did not receive the important antibiotics. We were not out of the woods just yet….

In the meantime, I had spent 3 weeks out of the saddle and was desperate to ride. My friend is based at Mayhill Stud with Mark Hallion who had recently lost his rider. So, I went to try out a horse at Mark’s yard, Greenlanes Enigma (Iggy for short) & hit it off straight away. Iggy is a medium level horse that is extremely tricky to ride. I have been riding him ever since and loving all that he is teaching me.

On the 2nd of February (a week earlier than anticipated) Woody had his last plug change and I was given the all clear to ride! Excited was an understatement. Once the swelling had gone down we began training again and he feels better than ever! The last plug will be removed within the next week and the ordeal will finally be over. It is safe to say that this was not how I wanted to start the year, but I am so happy that my boy is pain free & ready to get back on the road to Prix St George!

I cant wait for the new Imperial COLT Spring/Summer 2017 new  clothing items to be added to their collection. Ive seen a sneak preview and they are amazing! Keep a look out for them! 




  • Amy

    That’s okay. Well I am based near Southampton so I use Hampshire Equine Clinic, based in Alton. Where abouts are you based? My vets were extremely helpful & great throughout what was actually quite a traumatic process. (Don’t worry it is normally way more straight forward than our horror story). So I had him booked in to have the tooth removed, simple procedure.. sedation and quite literally pull the tooth out. I took Woody in to the vets for this to be done & as this particular tooth was situated on the sinus he would have to stay put at the vets for 3 days once the tooth was out as he had a high chance of infection. This meant the vets could check the plug stayed in and change the plug before I brought him home. Unfortunately, the tooth was completely rotten so after 3 hours under sedation on the Monday they had to give up. The tooth was just crumbling and there was too much root. They had to wait until the Wednesday before they could try again due to an emergency call out. On the Wednesday they asked my permission to drill a hole through Woody’s skull & tap the tooth out that way. So my poor pony now has a whole in his skull. I got to bring him home on the Saturday.. 2 weeks off of work, but could hack 1 week after the procedure. The only reason I couldn’t ride sooner was due to the swelling on his face from the drilling. Now he is better than ever! So honestly, I wouldn’t worry… we were just very unlucky. The vet bill wasn’t too grand either haha but that is what insurance is for. Hope that helps :)

  • Hollie

    Thanks so much for coming back to me – keen to know really where you got him treated, and what the treatment entailed. As I have been quoted certain things, but good to speak to people who have been through a similar thing with their own horse. X

  • Amy

    Hi Hollie,

    What has happened with your horse. Fire away with any questions, just let me know how I can help :)

    Amy xx

  • Hollie

    Oh my goodness! My horse is suffering from the exact same! I would be so interested to talk to you about your experience. I am currently holding fire on operating! Xx

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