Its been a while since I have posted a full article about what Blinky has been up to. It was one of those situations where things were going so well I was afraid to say too much just in case it jinxed everything!

For those of you that follow Blinky Bill Blog on Facebook or Instagram you will have seen over the last 6-8 weeks Blinky returning to his best after over a year of treatment for uveitis in his right eye. Back in January this year Blinky had his double operation which consisted of a keratectomy to correct some damage caused by a cornea reaction to steroid based eye drops and as this required a general anaesthetic “Team Blinky” decided it was the best time to put in a cyclosporine implant so that Blinky wouldn’t have to undergo a second GA.

So here is a run down of progress over more recent weeks…

8-9 weeks post operation…

There was a week of very strong winds in the South East that definitely disturbed Blinky’s eye and it appeared to be tearing and slightly red. This windy week was back in March and when the winds finally subsided after 7 long days Blinky’s eye bounced back fairly quickly and we were back on track.

10 weeks post operation…

Blinky is looking and feeling great so with our new “make the most of the good times” attitude we got our entry in for a hunter trial at Munstead and cracked on with a bit of cross-country schooling. Blinky was very happy to be back having a gallop over a few roll tops and certainly didn’t seem to have any trouble with seeing what he was doing, it was the most fun we had both had in ages.

11 weeks post operation…

Hunter trial time!! We had a fab day at Munstead having a great run over the BE80 track. By this point Blinky’s eye was looking so healthy and quiet, the best it had been since before his injection in November 2018. I was over the moon that I was back out on the cross-country course with Blinky and even more so that he felt like a more confident horse despite such a traumatic winter with his eye, however, I did however have that “what if” feeling. The “what if this is just a one-off time when his eye is healthy enough to do this but it might be our only chance” kind of feeling. Regardless, I chose to enjoy the moment and treasure it – in other words use it as a great excuse to spend loads of money on photos!

After we had such a great time at Munstead and Blinky’s eye was still look fabulous I decided to seize the moment and entered Tweseldown UA 80. We had a couple of weeks to get our act together! I took all my anxiety and nerves about Blinky’s eye and channelled them into training for Tweseldown, my theory was if this is the only shot we get at an ODE then we need to go big or go home! If you can picture Rocky Balboa’s come back in the 2006 Rocky film – there were similar scenes in our sand school at home preparing for Tweseldown!

13 weeks post operation…

The big day had arrived – and what a day it was! Blinky’s eye was still looking better than ever and the weather wasn’t too bad which made me feel better as Blinky would have to have his mask removed when in the arena as Tweseldown were running under BE rules. We did a lovely dressage test for a score of 34.7, which wasn’t too shabby after all Blinky had been through over the last 12 months. We then had to face our biggest fear of all – the show jumping phase! I like to refer to show jumping as “The Ring of Death”, for some strange reason I much prefer jumping a solid cross-country fence compared to an oxer in the show jumping arena. My nerves did cost us a couple of stops but we survived The Ring of Death so that’s got to be a good result! We accumulated 2 stops cross country as well but other than that Blinky was fantastic. I think he will always be a cautious horse and he needs his rider to give him confidence – but you can’t fault him for trying and who knows, maybe his eye issues make his job a little confusing at times.

So just over 13 weeks post operation and we already had a hunter trial over a BE80 course and an UA 80 at Tweseldown under our belts. It has taken over 4 years to get to this point with Me and Blinky. Our first 3 years together were a long 3 years of me regaining my confidence through which Blinky was a saint and then last year was sabotaged by uveitis and we probably had our worse year in terms of riding due to Blinky being in and out of work with no consistency. But after completing Tweseldown it felt like we were on the up and finally doing what I have always dreamed of doing with Blinky.

14 weeks post operation…

In the days following our one day event at Tweseldown we kept a close check on Blinky’s eye as he had to compete without a mask. If there was going to be an issue I thought it would be the day after Tweseldown but Blinky came out his stable bright eyed and bushy tailed. This felt like a significant day for all of Team Blinky, the whole Yardie family thought we were finally on track after 13 months of battling and the implant could control the uveitis enough to allow Me and Blinky to achieve the goals I had always wanted to on my own horse. Unfortunately, mother nature did not have this happy ending in mind for us, 3 days later his eye was at the start of a full uveitis flare. It was absolutely heart breaking to see Blinky back in pain again and that the implant hadn’t worked as well as we had hoped.

So that brings us to week 16 post operation, we have an appointment booked with the specialist this week to find out how well the eye is doing after this flare and to make a plan for Blinky moving forward.

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