Sunday, November 29, 2015

Detective work

About two weeks ago I noticed that over several days, Clair was acting crabby when I saddled her. I palpated all over her back, and she seemed fine. Then one day when I was riding, she suddenly stopped dead for no apparent reason. I asked her to go forward, and she backed up, over and over. My first thought was that it was a disobedience, but she had never done anything like it before, and we hadn't been working on a stressful movement or anything like that. I remembered her crabbiness in saddling and wondered if it was physical discomfort. So, instead of getting after her, I just sat quietly at the halt until she relaxed and walked forward on her own. We did a few trot circles and ended on a good note. I noticed when I tacked her off that she was completely dry-mouthed, which isn't like her. A few days later I came out to ride, but when I went into the pasture to get her, she was not herself at all. Usually she's happy to see me, but that day she just stood still with her head down. I listened to her gut and heard good sounds, so I decided to lunge her lightly. Again, she was crabby tacking up, and then on the lunge she was lethargic and didn't want to canter. And she was still dry-mouthed.

I was starting to think ulcers. At our previous barn, she had been on forage only (free choice round bale plus a flake of alfalfa morning and night). At the new place, we had started her on 3/4 scoop of Complete twice a day, plus grass hay and alfalfa. I wondered if she would do better on less grain. I asked to reduce her Complete servings to 1/4 scoop twice a day and double her grass hay. I also started her on Cool Calories. And I gave her a week off. I figured if she was still feeling poorly after a week, I'd give her a round of ulcer meds.

Happily, after the week off, she was back to her usual, cheerful, busy self: greeting me in the pasture, caring not at all about the girth, and foamy-mouthed. Relief! In the future, I need to notice sooner if Clair loses the happy; grumpiness probably means something's wrong.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Remember the little blond horse?

Dakota is doing just fabulous! Here's some video from tonight. He's so bendy! He's cantering full circles under saddle now, too. I missed getting canter video tonight; was in the barn tacking up Clair.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Monsters in the indoor

It has taken Clair a few weeks to get used to the indoor arena. I don't know why it worried her so much -- it's really not a spooky arena at all. She keeps giving the hairy eyeball to the north door and a couple different sets of jumps along the sides. I've handwalked her around the perimeter I don't know how many times. She's much better at this point, but I still have to remember to sit back in canter lest she suddenly puts on the brakes. Silly mare.