Friday, November 4, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic . . .

The arena's a sloppy mess, so it's just as well I'm only working with my three horses at the walk right now.  Dawn and I had more fun with lateral movements.  Today we worked on "squaring the circle" - riding a square with quarter walk pirouettes at the turn - I was working on keeping the rhythm of her strides the same and keeping the hind end engaged, but without rushing.  We also did more of our "floating" work - walking energetically ahead and then swinging around into a few steps of side pass, and also more leg yield work, and some poles.  She was great - I think she enjoys the challenge of this work.

Drifter's walk felt much better today - more regular and engaged - no "wallowing".  We worked on him really engaging behind, and also did a little pole work, and some backing.  He feels good under saddle - we have two more days of treatment to go and then I'll do another check on how his trot is looking.  When turned in tight circles in hand, he no longer drags the left hind toe at all.

Pie did do a nice canter in from the pasture - about 200 yards, mostly uphill - that I got to see.  It looked good and even, and he was even on the right lead, which meant he felt comfortable pushing with the left hind.  Picking his feet is also easier - he isn't unsteady or leaning anymore. Under saddle, though, his walk feels short-strided and "stilted" - he's not really using his hind end very well.  When backing under saddle, his hind end tends to swing to the left since he's taking shorter strides with his left hind, although today for the first time he was able to back straight if I supported him with my left leg and really asked him to use his left hind. And when turned in a tight circle in hand, he can manage to cross over with his right hind although it's clearly hard for him, but he doesn't cross over with the left hind at all - he just side steps his way around.  It's possible that he's got some neurological damage that may take some time to heal.  But his affect is very good - he's cheerful and friendly and alert, and it clearly wasn't the Banamine as it's days since he's had any.

I'm cautiously optimistic about both Drifter and Pie's progress, but I'm mainly glad that they're both happy and eating well, and moving pretty well too, all things considered.  Many horses with EPM are much worse off.

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