A Small and Unexpected Miracle


Years ago, I’m not even sure when, I found a lump in Cruiser’s throatlatch area.  It didn’t seem to hurt him, so I waited until the next time the vet came out to ask her what it was.  She said it was a tumor on his thyroid, that there was nothing we could do about it and it wouldn’t do any harm.


Each year, it got a little bigger.  Eventually, it became visible.  It was heavy enough that it hung down and made his throatlatch look thick.  I grew out his bridle path to obscure it, and it helped.  It still didn’t seem to bother him, so I still didn’t worry about it.


By last winter, it got big enough that when he trotted with energy, I am sure it bounced around.  It had a definite heavy feel to it.  When he didn’t want to hold his head in the pretty head carriage he used to travel in during ring work, I attributed it to the tumor.  He also fought me about going clockwise in the arena.  I didn’t know if this was because the tumor, but it was always in the back of my head.  Consequently, it was a very unproductive winter.


This winter, I have new energy and enthusiasm for arena work, thanks to Cole.  I decided to apply it to Cruise just to see how far we could get--even with this disadvantage.  My goal is to see how close we could return to his former glory.  Surprisingly, he has gotten better with each ride.  It seemed like I could approach his previous performances.  I felt rather proud of myself.


That is, until I was petting him the other day, and I thought his throatlatch looked different.  I figured it was due to his full winter coat.  I reached up to feel how bit his tumor was, something I haven’t done in a long time, and to my surprise, I couldn’t even find it at first.  When I probed around, I discovered that it was only about the size of it was when I first discovered it, years ago.  How could this be?  I called my sister over to take a look.  She was just as amazed—and then she told me that maybe that is why he is doing so well in the arena.  It wasn’t me, after all.  It was the reduction of his thyroid tumor.


I am thrilled and perplexed.  I have no idea why his tumor is shrinking.  It must have happened in just the last few months.  I have never heard of this happening.  I just figured it would just keep growing a little bigger each year.  I don’t mind if it truly isn’t my skills bringing Cruiser along in his training—this is even better.  I will show the vet next time she comes out and get her opinion.


I think I may trim his shaggy hair by his throatlatch, and I may just trim is bridle path for the first time in years…I want him to look pretty in case we do return to our former glory…

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Comment by Corrie Dunn on December 6, 2011 at 9:42am

glad to hear everything is working out and it is good to know as this may happen to our horses and will know what to expect and as to why it happens. Thanks for your info

Comment by Marlene Thoms on December 5, 2011 at 6:03pm

Glad to hear your boy's thyroid had improved. A thyroid can enlarge in response to a shortage of iodine in the diet, which is why we use iodized salt for people and horses, especially if your area is short on it. Maybe your feed supplement met his extra need? Even magnesium levels (which are generally adequate on forage) can affect thyroid function, or lack of can interfere. The thyroid sometimes has to work harder in cold weather, or during stress, and may enlarge to meet those demands if it can't quite keep up. Keep an eye out for coat changes, or muscle glitches, or even temperament changes as these might alert you to a change in his thyroid function. I;m not sure if they give thyroid hormone to horses that are low on it, but they do for dogs ,if blood tests indicate it is necessary. At any rate the fact that he's been working better is a good sign.

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