Just picked up Hard Way from the clinic in Deauville. The CAT scan showed no neurological problem, but did show substantial deterioration in his first vertebra, concentrated on the right side. I’m still waiting for a full reading and consultation by various vets, who are saying this is very rare – so rare that the clinic decided to take x-rays and do ultrasounds and not charge me for them. They were so curious they wanted more tests right away. This eliminates the need to go back to the Cirale clinic in Dozule next week, which is one of the few upsides here. So instead of taking Hard Way out to the farm in Normandy for a week until his next appointment, we brought him home. So over the next 48 hours, his scan and other tests will be pored over by various specialists to decide what happens next. If the deterioration doesn’t extend to the interior of the bone, where it would affect the spinal column, we can infiltrate to treat the inflammation and he can go ahead being a racehorse for awhile. If it IS affecting the spinal column, his days of being ridden are over, racing or otherwise, and he will retire. For the moment, the condition is not life-threatening, but it depends on how the situation evolves over the coming months and – we hope – years. It seems to be an all-or-nothing prognosis: If he’s safe to ride, he’s safe to race. I’ll post more results as I get them.