Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Hits Just Keep On Coming

All last week, I logged my small farm. It was long, grueling, dangerous work and while I was busy wrestling with trees, Brego was safe in his sacrifice paddock. He was taking a break, a well deserved break.

I began to notice at the beginning of last week that he was foot sore in his front right. Since I was too swamped to consider riding, I packed his feet in Magic Cushion, booted him, and let him rest. By the end of the week, the pasture was logged and cleaned up, the fencing rebuilt and he was turned back out to walk around. He appeared better.

Last night, I attempted to take a lesson in the neighbor's outdoor jump field. Brego was not right. He was certainly not head-bobbing lame, but I could feel some harshness in his gait. He felt flat, resistant, ears back, stabbing with each stride. He was still sore. I checked him out thoroughly: no heat, no elevated digital pulse, no obvious injury, perhaps some softness on a spot on his sole. So I suspect he has a stone bruise or is brewing an abscess.

He was so subtly off that it took some serious convincing of my trainer that there was even a problem. Of course, she listened to me, but she questioned if he was just resistant getting back into work after a week off. But I could feel it, something not right, not his usual self. And it's important to listen to those little feelings, because pushing a horse who hurts will ruin his body and his brain. Mentally, he will grow to resent work which is supposed to be fun. Physically, he will start compensating with other parts of his body, maybe getting stiff and out of balance. Just a bad deal, all around.

Whether a stone bruise or an abcess is not catastrophic, especially in a year already so full of other responsibilities that I can barely find the time to ride. So I scratched Groton House at the end of the month. I scratched a small Jumper show this weekend. Brego will get more time and turnout to see how he feels, with maybe light trail work in boots to keep him moving.

Meanwhile, I have lots of distractions in my Other Life to occupy me: the farm, the job, the garden, the pasture, tractor maintenance, trailer maintenance, the list goes on and on. Brego is the horse I will be riding in 20 years, raising hell and having fun. He has the time now to heal and get back to 100%.


Anonymous said...

You are smart to notice and heed what your horse was trying to tell you - too bad that your trainer wasn't astute enough to notice the subtle lameness - but then many people, including trainers, can't. A horse that is normally comfortable working and willing won't suddenly not want to work without a reason - your trainer is wrong, in my opinion, to say that horses try to get out of work - they try to tell you they can't work for a mental or physical reason. Sometimes you can continue working and resolve these issues - but not one due to physical pain that isn't improved by warming up. Again - credit to you - a lot of people would have just done what their trainer said and damaged their relationship with their horse.

manymisadventures said...

I can understand how your trainer might think he was resistant getting back into work, especially since you said he was pretty subtle about it. Sometimes resistances do come out of "this is hard and I'd rather not do it."

But, it's a lot easier to FEEL when something's not quite right than it is to see, especially when it's you - horse's owner who works with him constantly - versus trainer, who is knowledgeable but hasn't logged thousands of hours with the horse.

I'm glad you listened to him, hopefully it's something minor that resolves quickly!

jmk said...

Good for you for putting your horse's needs first. Few people take the time to truly analyze the subtle "offness". You know your horse better than anyone.
I feel the same way about my young horse. There is no hurry for him to be at a certain place in his training as far as I'm concerned. I want him to be sound and healthy for a long time. I totally agree with you on that!
Found your blog thru Kate. Love your header picture. What a wonderful jumper!

Andrea said...

Aw man, the hard knocks. You did the totally honerable and right thing though in knowing your horse and putting his needs before your ambitions. I know how hard it is when this happens before a show - hell, I'd probably freak if something came up right now and I had to scratch from Groton House! - but like you said, this is the horse you'll still be partying on in 20 years (or more!), so what's the hurry?
There aren't many many true, honest horsepeople left in this world that would do the thing you did, Daun. Be happy and proud that you're the best thing that could have ever happened to the big guy ever.
Provided this all blows over just fine, what are the plans beyond this month for you two?

Susan and Becca (the Percheron) said...

You're doing the absolute right thing by letting Brego have some time to heal. And I agree with the other comments about how you as his rider can be the first to detect subtle changes.
I'm a firm believer in trusting your gut!
Take some time, and if things worsen, certainly have a vet take a look at him.
In the meantime, give your boy a little extra TLC (and yourself too while you're at it!)
Hope Brego gets well soon!

Anonymous said...

So nicely put!

Just a girl.. who loves her horse...and will love him for a lifetime.