Monday, November 28, 2011

Muddy Dawn, Sleepy Pie and Drifter Rears

I managed to ride all three horses - the wind chill didn't get much above 30F but the weather's going to be worse for the next few days.  Dawn and I had a nice ride, but first I had to deal with this:

Pie was having a nice nap in his gravel bed - I rode him later, a bit on the trail and a bit in the arena.  In the first picture, he's pretty soundly asleep; in the second, he's noticing I'm there, but still very sleepy:

Drifter's session started out pretty well - nice work at the walk.  Interesting things happened, though, when I asked for trot.  Two days ago when I rode, I had gotten some brief balking but he trotted pretty willingly. Today, first I got some balking.  I asked again and tapped him with the crop on the shoulder when he didn't immediately respond (secondary cue).  (Two days ago, when I rode him, last, this was sufficient to get us into trot.  I speculated at the time that he might be a little sore, as his trot was a bit stiff.) Then I asked again and tapped again - this time he popped up slightly in front.  I immediately asked again and more firmly tapped - this time I got a full-fledged rear, about a 45-degree angle.  I pretty well knew that something was wrong - he's never reared with me in the 6 months I've had him so I doubt it's really a training matter - but had to get him moving forward regardless at that point since rearing is never acceptable.  We trotted, but only a bit, doing a few transitions from walk to a few steps of trot, and repeating this several times.  He didn't give me any more trouble, so I was able to walk from there on out.  I apologized to him for making him move forward into trot, but felt that it was necessary and unlikely to do him any serious harm.  At the end of our ride, since he seemed uninterested in moving at any gait than walk, I decided it might be a good day to try a small excursion outside the arena - our first.  I rode him up to the gate, we pushed it open and then we rode around in the area of the barn a bit, including on the grassy field behind the barn.  He was very well behaved and seemed interested to be out there.  I also figured that let us end on a good note.

He's perfectly sound at the walk - his walk looks and feels great.  After our ride, I went over him very carefully, paying attention to his reactions to my rubbing and massaging and feeling joints.  His original problem when he was showing symptoms of EPM had been the left hind, so I paid particular attention to that and his back and stifle - nothing.  Since it was that diagonal - left hind/right front - that had been the original problem, I carefully checked out the right front - bingo!  He was ouchy in the forearm below the shoulder, and also a bit around the knee and in the sternal area between his front legs.  There's no swelling or heat, so I don't think it's too serious.  I suspect that he may have somehow tweaked something running around once he felt better, or that our work getting back into shape has gone a little too quickly.  The good news is that our vet/chiropractor is coming on Wednesday, so she can check him out.  I gave him a 500-lb. dose of Banamine to help him out - it'll have worn off before mid-day Wednesday so our vet/chiro can look at him unmedicated.  I certainly hope she can help him out - rearing isn't an equine behavior that's on my fun things to do together list.

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