I feel like I am turning into one of those owners that I can’t stand (and more importantly, drives my mostly retired vet, who lives in Minnesota yet continues to hear from me, crazy).
The owners I speak of automatically assume that there is something physically wrong with their horse whenever a training problem arises. It’s never their training methods or how they ride or the fact that the horse is trying to tell you that if he has to do another solid 30 minutes of 20 meter circles he may kill you. There must be something wrong. He’s not quite right. It’s the saddle, he needs a supplement, he needs drugs.
I am usually on the other end of the spectrum. It’s almost always a training issue. Cho isn’t moving off of my legs? Training issue. Cho objects to moving sideways? Training issue.
…But I’ve noticed that in spite of my attempts to change things up, to help alleviate boredom, to work on those training issues, something is not quite right.
Honestly? She could just be in heat. I get it, Choface. Sometimes I want to punch my uterus, too.
But then I started thinking ulcers. She’s been a little girthy, and tried to bite me on Sunday. I WAS in a rush and I DID girth her up quicker than usual, but actually attempting to nip my arm? Not very Cho-like.
And even though I go into every ride with optimism and the attitude of doing things differently, every ride I find myself fighting over forward.
Yes, I have a lazy horse, but this is not normal. If she’s not forward right off the bat, it usually takes a few corrections at most and she’s over it.
It’s been taking over 20 minutes to get to the point where she is really pinging off of my legs. It is work. I am working and it’s not getting better and when I ask for more? She sucks back. It’s a lot worse and carries on a lot longer going to the left.
So I have to stop. Ask for a turn on the forehand. Usually this “checking” exercise takes a few steps in either direction before she is doing it immediately. On Sunday I asked her 8 (?!) times to the left, followed by my whip for reinforcement, before she would just do it when I moved my leg back.
Of course, she does eventually work out of all of this and we have a nice ending that involves walk, trot, and canter. Yesterday afternoon, I was looking at these possibilities:
And as my vet pointed out, it could also be
-hind leg issue (likely right)
To eliminate as many things as possible in one evening, last night I gave her treats and made her reach back to the middle of her ribcage to get them. Normal in both directions = neck not sore.
Then I put her saddle on and girthed her up and she just stood there. Ok, then.
Then we longed.
Walk = fine. Overtracking as usual.
Trot = A little stiff. She was forward, but taking smaller, shorter steps. After a few minutes she worked out of this and took normal trot steps, began to stretch down, etc.
Canter = Fine.
In conclusion, after spending the past couple of days analyzing the shit out of our last couple of rides etc, stressing out, being obnoxious about the whole ordeal, being that person, AS IT TURNS OUT SHE IS BASICALLY JUST FINE.
I am going to do a 30 day aloe vera juice treatment because the possibility of ulcers is still there: she’s new to being a stall horse, she just had a 1000+ mile trip 2 months ago to get here, the weather is different, and she isn’t eating as frequently as she was in Minnesota.
And then, at my vet’s suggestion, I’m going to bute her for 2 days and see if the stiffness improves. He pointed out this may be a hock issue, and after watching the videos of her trot warm up again that’s probably accurate.
She is 12, so it’s probably time to start looking into adequan. Oh, Choface. Please stop aging right now.