Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dawn is Neurological (Again) and Pie Does Well in the Morning

Yesterday I noticed that Dawn was showing some signs of neurological impairment.  She's typically a very square horse - she normally stands with all four legs at the corners.  Yesterday she was standing on the cross ties with her front legs slightly splayed and with the hinds every which way.  I also noticed when I was bringing her in from the pasture that she was forging on almost every step - catching her hind toes on her front heels - this also isn't normal for her.  Then, when I picked her feet, when picking up one hind she rotated on the other hind to stay balanced.  This is all similar to the symptoms she had last year with EPM.  We did ride, but only at walk and trot, and she was somewhat shuffly in front and almost tripping.  We didn't ride too long.  When I got off, I did some quick neuro tests and she didn't care at all where I put her front feet - also abnormal for her.  She's being blood tested on Thursday for EPM (again) - I suspect a new infection as she only had one phenotype last year and there's another she might have caught.  Another horse at our barn recently tested positive, and Pie's titers are slightly elevated (8-8-8, when his normal has been 2-2-2), although he's not showing symptoms the way Dawn is - we think he's reacting to reexposure to the organisms but doesn't have an active infection (he previously had infections with both phenotypes).  Just for good measure, Red's being blood tested too - he has been dragging his left hind toe to the extent that he's getting abnormal wear on the toe, and he's reluctant to stay in canter - this could well be due to his hocks - but otherwise feels normal.  I rode Dawn today, but only briefly and only did a little trot - she's very shuffly - even more than yesterday and riding her didn't feel that safe.  When I turned her out, she was tightrope-walking - swinging her front legs to the center line with each step - this is abnormal for her as well.

The good news is that, if it is EPM again, which I suspect in Dawn's case, it's now pretty easy to treat.  Keeping fingers crossed . . .

Pie and I had a morning ride today - I'm short of time this afternoon and want to get in as many rides as possible to practice before my ride tomorrow with Mark.  I don't think I've ever ridden him in the morning in the indoor arena - he went on the trail in the mornings a couple of times last year. Pie came in willingly from the pasture - no stopping and starting - I think all the core-to-core work we're doing is building a real connection between us and everything seems to be easier.  He was grazing near Red, and I held my hand up to Red and told him to "stay", and not follow us up to the barn - and, for the first time ever, he stayed put and didn't shadow us.  He did call to Pie a couple of times, but Pie didn't reply.

It was busy at the barn - the guys were cleaning water buckets and also taking the big tractor up and down the aisles to dump shavings on tarps to be dragged into the stalls - all of this was visible to us as the arena doors to the aisles were open.  Pie was looking at everything, and a little bit nervous about it all, but settled to work very well.  His trot work was outstanding - his forward, engagement, softness, straightness and bending couldn't have been better.  The core-to-core riding I'm doing now has made a dramatic difference in his way of going, and being, and the way we are together.  Just plain delightful!

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