This morning, Dawn was acting a bit odd. She came in willingly from the pasture and we did our regular grooming. But then she did something odd when I was picking her feet - when I picked up the right hind, she snatched it way up high and then slewed around on her left hind. Hmm . . . When I was leading her to the mounting block, she bit at me, not connecting but just "telling" - this is Dawn's way of saying something's not OK - she's very specific in her messages. And then when we rode, we trotted around just fine when tracking left (so I was posting on the right front/left hind pair of legs), but as soon as I started tracking right, she wanted to halt. She wasn't refusing to trot or balking, she was just telling me that there was something wrong with trotting on that diagonal (where I was posting on the left front/right hind pair of legs). So I stopped riding and got off and turned her back out - I'm learning to listen to my horses.
It took me until this evening to figure out what was wrong. She had a kick wound, and quite a bit of swelling, high up on the inside of her right thigh - I didn't see it when grooming this morning or picking her feet this evening (bad horse mom!) and only noticed the dark marks of the cuts at the last minute just before I left the barn as I was topping up her water buckets. I pulled her out of the stall and cold hosed it for a few minutes, then used some wound cleaning spray. Tomorrow if the wounds are dry, I'll put on some antibiotic cream and put some arnica on the swollen areas. Poor girl . . .
I had absolutely marvelous rides on both boys today. They're both still stuck in pens, rather than out with the herd, since Pie can't go out on the grass yet and Red's stuck with him for now - I'm out of town from Sunday through Tuesday and will start putting Red out for some time with the herd in the afternoon when I get back. I'm planning on holding Pie out from grazing until July, and then introduce him slowly and see how his feet do. The nice thing is that with rationed hay, and Pie's new Busy Horse hay bags, both boys are close to an ideal weight - Pie could still do with losing a few pounds, but he's looking better. There are a large number of fat, even obese horses, at our barn, and I'm not interested in having any of my horses join that company - it's hard on horses both metabolically and for joint soundness to be overweight. One of my vets commented recently that most of the horses she sees now are overweight and many are obese.
What was marvelous about my rides on the boys? They were just about perfect - both were instantly and consistently forward, both were soft, soft, soft - there was just a whisper of pressure on the reins and they were round and lifting themselves from behind and using their cores - both boys were just dancing at the trot and canter. They turned and did figures on just a thought. Just plain wonderful!