COLE, POST-LYME SUPPORT STUDY
Week of February 4, 2019
Cole – 15.2h, unraced, blk/brwn castrated Standardbred; 1066 lbs; 21 years old (foaled 1998); pleasure horse used specifically for flatwork, trail riding, and hunter pacing. I’ve owned him since 2000. Since I am the only one who’s ridden him, he has only been used for recreation (no showing).
He lives in a large pasture with a large run in shed and three other geldings. While they are an active group, they get along very well and take turns being the “leader.” the field is well maintained, being mowed and dragged in the warmer months. The shed is cleaned weekly.
He lives in the Hudson Valley, NY.
In general, Cole is a laid back, curious horse who loves to be around. He is used to cats, dogs, four-wheelers, tractors, construction equipment, etc. He is the kind of horse you can do anything on, although I avoided jumping since he is so post-legged behind and has popping stifles.
He loves his job and has a fantastic work ethic. Headed out on the trails, he can go on for hours and will handle anything in his path. He especially loves water.
Cole has super straight stifles; there is intermittent popping becoming more frequent while standing or shifting weight. Movement definitely helps. He never was really comfortable when handling hind feet – he almost has to stretch his hind leg out before accepting the normal hoof-picking position.
Vet has commented he is awesome shape for a 21-year-old. Solid muscling and good coat.
He has hooves of iron, currently barefoot on a regular trim schedule.
While workload decreased over the winter (we’ve never been at a farm with an indoor), the winter of 2018/2019, is the most active he has really been in his life. We engage in hand-walking with weekend rides at least four times a week. Riding four to five times a week in spring/summer/fall, weather permitting.
In the summer of 2017, I noticed that his personality changing. He became more nervous, sensitive to touch, and seemed to be in general discomfort. In short, it seemed like his nervous system was “one fire.” He also was stiff behind, particularly in his hind end. Lyme testing in August 2017 showed a positive result (see below).
Cole stayed at Farm A from 2010 through 2017. He moved to Farm B in March 2017. He hadn’t been on a trailer in seven years and handled the 1 hour 20-minute ride pretty well. It was several months after this that I noticed he was exhibiting the weird behavior and general discomfort again. He tested positive for Lyme again in June 2018 (see below). He was treated, and his symptoms subsided, and his comfort level and personality came back.
After treatment, he still tested positive. Vet and I decided to NOT treat him again, since this level may be his “new normal,” and we didn’t want to hit him with another month of antibiotics. We decided to wait until the winter and test him again.
In mid-December, the nervous behavior and hind end soreness returned. Lyme testing showed levels went down. We also ran a CBC, ACTH, and Vitamin E to make sure there wasn’t anything else going on.