For perspective, here was the original X-ray, taken sometime in Feb 2016:
Below is the current X-ray, taken 4/8/16 and the ensuing email conversations with Dr. C., my sports medicine vet and Dr. Garcia-Lopez, the surgeon from Tufts.
Dr. C. to Dr. Garcia (4/12/16):
"Hey man, The horse is doing very well and I was really pleased with the images. Shauna would love to hear from you about how to proceed. I told her to lunge him with the saddle a few times and then start riding, but you may have a more formal program to give her. If not, I can supply her with one. Hope all is well."
Dr. Garcia to Dr. C (4/12/16):
"Hi E---, I am really happy as well. There is mild reactivity and a very nice amount of space in between the DSPs. I would like to have 1 week of lunging with the saddle on before getting back under saddle. Since you have seen him and have a better sense of his musculature across the topline, I would be happy to go with your recommendations moving forward. I don't want to make generic recommendations at this point and taking it either too fast or slow. Any questions of course let me know. But I would expect this guy to do great!"
Dr. C to Me (4/16/16):
"Hi Shauna, I just realized that you may not have heard anything from Dr. Garcia. I was in contact with him and he is delighted with how the radiographs look. He was in agreement with our proposed approach, which was to lunge with the saddle for about a week and then slowly resume ridden work. There is no exact template for this -- basically, you should listen to him and proceed as he gets stronger. Obviously warmup is important and it may be useful to lunge him for a while before riding, until he gets fitter. You can exercise at all three gaits, if he is willing. He would probably benefit from a rest day after he is ridden for three consecutive days. Let me know if you have any questions."
So there you have it! Our path going forward. Of course, I have already been on him once, had a pro do a training ride on him, and have our first lesson post-surgery scheduled for tonight. I have a lot of thoughts swirling around my brain - a few non-cohesive, barely formed blog posts in there - but between traveling for work, getting sick, and ripping out our kitchen, life has been an exercise in controlled chaos. Plus, no media, as per usual. Mea culpa.