Just before I left for Lex's appointment, I texted Sprinkler Bandit and told her I was nervous. We weren't sure what we should be crossing our fingers for, but we settled on something that wasn't outrageously expensive, easily fixed, and would solve the behavioral problems.
While knocking on wood, I think we do have that answer.
The vet could only find one thing wrong with Lex: her poll hurts. She refused to let him palpate it in the cross ties. Then when we took her up to trot her and lunge her in the ring, she was a total basket case. Rearing, refusing to move, acting like a horse who isn't my horse. Thank god M was there--she took over, and I got to watch. The vet couldn't evaluate her movement while she was rearing and racing around, so he gave her a little ace and xylazine. He said it wouldn't sedate her, but if she was anxious, she'd chill.
And all of a sudden, my happy, beautiful horse was back. She was happy to trot on the lead rope, happy to lunge, happy to be hanging out with us. I realized how long it's been since I've seen her like that. The vet--who I loved, by the way--said we have to figure out what is causing all the anxiety, and he suspects it's that painful poll. The tentative diagnosis is nuchal bursitis.
The nuchal ligament runs all the way down, and it can develop bursitis at various points along the way, including at the poll. This means a horse who is fine on a long rein might suddenly hurt quite a bit when asked to go in a frame. Bingo.
He's going to come back on Friday with a radiograph machine. The plan is to radiograph her poll to make sure there's nothing fractured or sequestering in there, and then to inject. I really hope we can manage this with injections, but the vet said sometimes there are stress fractures in that area, or she might have hit her head at some point (she hasn't since I've owned her, but old injuries can last awhile).
So the plan is not to scope her for ulcers, and he doesn't think she has any estrus-related issues. Hooray for that. If the diagnosis is accurate and simple and we inject her and then she still acts like a monster, though, I'm going to have her scoped. Ulcers scare me to death.
Anyway, my dear girl has a headache. I hope we can fix her right up. I'll be a little nervous until Friday morning, but I have a feeling it's going to be okay. And hey, I'm learning a whole lot about veterinary issues from this horse. Hooray?