Monday, June 30, 2014

taking it easy

As we all know, horses are weird. If they can be different than the norm, they will. Major has done no competitions and very little training this year. He lives in a beautiful grassy pasture 24/7, ample hay and grass, almost no grain (beet pulp as a supplement carrier). But his NQR-ness (not quite right-ness) had me perplexed.

So he rested. And I pondered and thought and calendered when this first started and began hypothesizing. It seemed to start when he got an abscess at the end of April. He was rested, soaked, more time off. But he still wasn’t quite right after that. Researched, talked with trusted vet, determined symptoms and issues, made some decisions:

Ulcers. Probably from treating him with bute during the abscess. My overly-sensitive-to-medicine horse. Who lives the most stress-free life. Special boy!

I did not scope. It was pricy, everything I read recommended a week’s treatment with Gastrogard to see if it made any difference. Yes, I treated my horse without a specific vet treatment protocol. I know some people would never do that. But I felt comfortable with my decision to try this, did tons of research, read scientific papers, etc.

I started treatment. After three days I saw a spark back in his eye. After two weeks he sure seemed like himself. After now after three weeks treatment my jerk of a horse is back in fine form.

I did meet with my vet last week. And vet confirmed that ulcers sure worked in the situation. I also decided to be safe to run a blood test. While you can’t blood test for ulcers, I wanted to test him for any tick fevers (which can go dormant) and for any liver concerns. Blood came back 100% healthy. Vet said weight is perfect, though I need to work on keeping his toe trimmed back (ongoing issue I’d ignored while Major was lame/sick, now I have to keep addressing that). While Major could still take a turn for the worse, or something else could crop up, I feel relieved knowing that he seems to feel much better!

Vet didn’t think I had to stop riding, though Major had already had some weeks off. I don’t want to do much though, but just a small change of scenery. I think Major would go more crazy without the riding, I swear he was bored just walking up and down the road to find grassy treats. So I’ve done a casual forest bareback ride and the short lake loop. Both our minds were settled by getting out. He really wanted to play more in the lake. I’ll have to treat him to that soon (today it is going to be 110, too hot even to ride the few miles to the lake!)

We’re still taking it easy, probably for at least another month.Yes treatment is expensive, but this hobby doesn’t come cheap. A happy horse is pretty priceless. Probably no competitions this year. I would rather be on a quiet forest trail with my horse sometime in the future, or laughing while he snorkels in the lake. So I wait, a bit more hopefully, until things seem 100%. But it feels like we’re on the trail there.

Major, are you eating weed?

mmmm, this weed is great. Purely medicinal Mom...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

four rides

Four rides with my heart in my throat. Was that a bad step? Will adding distance make him lame? What about speed?

So in the last two weeks we’ve completed a cautious four rides. Three shorter rides, though I did add speed to the last one. And one longer 15 mile ride. And Major seems OK.

Folsom or Belize? The white sand is amazing..and hot!
gazing off at the dam
But the time off and worrying has made me doubtful. I have no problem skipping the upcoming Wild West endurance ride, though it’s so lovely. Not enough training (having missed almost all of May), I don’t feel that my horse is perfectly 100%.

To do this this I need 100% And not just 100% on the day, but on many, many days leading up to an event. How many? I don’t know. Call it a gut feeling. I have one partner. He trusts me to do the right thing. When Major was first off (from an abscess) and I thought about missing upcoming rides, was disappointed, etc. Now I know I’d be more disappointed to not have my horse, even if it meant he was “just” a trail horse. (I know there is no “just” in trail horses, one of the hardest things around to do well). 

So we’re kicking back. It’s been 100+ degrees, and I take him out of his pasture to snack grass in the shade, swish off flies, and watch him play with the traveling panels someone leaned near my trailer (he also pulled off many of the velcro pieces, why we could never have a pen!)

pulling off velcro
let's move these panels!

I know the bug to get out and move for many, many miles will catch me sooner or later. But only if the whole team is good to go. Leave no one behind, or hurt, or unhappy. That is my goal before adventures, or miles, or completions.

why we can't have nice things