|Cherry blossoms in DC... Soon!|
Photo from www.mediumatlarge.net
I was back at the barn on Friday, with the plan to ride Jez first, as per usual on my Jezebel riding days.
I woke up ridiculously early, and by 9:00 am had run out of things to do around the house. I hit the shower, ate a late breakfast, then lingered around the house drinking a second cup of coffee, because despite it being a gorgeous sunny day outside, I could see the wind whipping the trees and hear it howling around the house. I was expecting it to be bitterly cold, and dressed accordingly.
However, once outside, it was actually not that bad! The wind was very cold, but the sun was warm (warm as in high 40's), and at the barn, I discovered I was quite comfortable in just my long sleeve shirt and hoodie, as long as I was in the sun. This from the girl that had to wear 4 layers (including an insulated jacket!) during 50 degree weather in Florida...
I got to the barn at 11:45 am. Only 2 cars in the parking lot, only 1 person riding in the indoor. I think we'll be doing more frequent morning rides from now on...
All of the horses were in the bottom field, and Jez was a good girl as usual and just stood there looking at me while I walked up to her (why can't my mare be like that?!) and followed me without complaint. Since the stalls were being mucked and the manure was in the aisle ways waiting to be picked up by the excavator, I put Jezebel in the wash stall to get her ready. Sally had warned me that she used to be really, really iffy in the wash stall, so I had set up everything I would need in advance.
I probably would not have even attempted the wash stall if I had read this post on Jezebel's behavior in there prior...
Her ears went up in the wash stall, and she wanted to look over the wall when she heard the rider in the indoor. I let her look around, watching her closely, but she remained calm and returned to stand in the middle of the wash stall like she is supposed to, all on her own. I held her lead rope while I groomed her and picked her feet, then had to clip the cross ties onto her halter so I could use both arms to tack her up. The cross ties are tied to rings on the walls with hay string, which I knew would give right away if she decided to lunge forward. Still watching her closely, I proceeded to saddle her, and she remained calm and relaxed, doing her usual air biting when I went to do up her girth.
Jezebel used to run forwards when bridled. Levi, an ancient Quarter Horse, has the stall right across from Jez's, and he gets alfalfa cubes for lunch. He'll dribble it all over the outside wall of his stall. Jezebel is usually cross tied in front of her stall to be tacked up, and Sally would let her lick Levi's leftovers while bridling her to keep her from wanting to escape.
So now in the wash stall, I unclipped the cross ties and turned Jez around to face the back wall of the wash stall, so she couldn't run forwards. Maybe backwards...but not forwards. I put the halter on around her neck and looped the reins over her head. She took the bit without complaint, and funnily enough, stretched her neck up towards the rim of the wall, looking for alfalfa cube leftovers! *lol* Horses can be such creatures of habit! She realized there was no alfalfa to be had, and surprised me by standing still and quiet while I buckled up her noseband and throat latch.
I took her into the indoor, which had been freshly watered and dragged. We walked around the arena for about 5 minutes to warm up, then picked up the trot to the left. Jez pinned her ears and sluggishly went into the up transition-very unlike her. As she trotted on, she just didn't feel right. I asked her to walk...she didn't feel quite 100% at the walk either, but it was subtle enough that I couldn't tell which leg, if any, was bothering her. Thinking maybe I was being paranoid and imagining things, we changed directions and I asked her to trot again. She felt really off to the right, and as we went through the harder footing by the gate, she definitely head bobbed. I halted and got off immediately. I got the lunge line and asked her to trot to the left for a few strides. I couldn't see anything wrong, but she didn't seem 100% even at the trot either. I had her trot to the right for half a circle. She seemed to head bob ever so slightly, but it was so on and off that I couldn't identify which leg it was. I asked her to canter 3 strides and come back to a trot, to see if the lameness would be more pronounced. It wasn't. I repeated this to the left. She picked up the canter, correct lead in front and cross firing in the back-this answered another question: was the incorrect lead issue under saddle me or her? It's coming from her. We will revisit that later. She cantered 2 strides and I asked her to trot again right away for a couple of strides. No worsening of the lameness. I had her stop.
(On a side note-this is the first time Jezebel has cantered on the lunge in the indoor! Sally had had issues getting her to canter on the lunge in more enclosed spaces. Now we know she can do it. :) At least for 2-3 strides in each direction...but it's a start for when she's sound again.)
I got on again-I wanted to make sure I wasn't imagining things. Thankfully, just as I asked Jez to walk off, Nancy, another of the boarders, showed up to watch. I asked her to spot Jezebel from the ground and see if she seemed off at the trot. There was no question about it this time-the head bob was definitely there going to the right, and Nancy saw it, too. So whatever was going on was worse when the mare was being ridden. I was suspecting an abscess due to the sudden onset of the problem-Jez had been absolutely 100% fine the day before. It was reminding me a lot of the presentation of Lily's recent lameness.
I got off, untacked Jezebel, and took her out into the sun to graze for a bit while I called Sally to let her know what was going on. She was leaving the house and would be there in about 30 minutes. In the meantime, I let BQ know what was going on, and that I'd be leaving the little mare in her stall while we waited for her owner to arrive. BQ came down from the house, and together we took a closer look at Jez. BQ found a strong digital pulse in the mare's right front fetlock, and a warm hoof. Her left hind also had a pulse, but that's also where her cut is, and there is still a small amount of inflammation remaining-I suspected that pulse was related to the cut. BQ pulled out her hoof testers and I held Jezebel's right front up while she applied the testers to the hoof. She seemed to be sore on the medial portion of her hoof. We gave her a good amount of hay, I put her blanket back on, and we let her hang out in her stall for the time being.
|Hoof testers are made for giant man hands...the reason why BQ had me hold up Jez's hoof while she tested it.|
Sally arrived as I was bringing Lily in from the field and she went to check on Jez.
Lily had been running around and playing with Jester, one of the other TBs, and was drenched in sweat under her light blanket and panting. I let her cool down, then tacked her up and joined Heather on Nate, and Nancy on John (John is a cute rolly poly Paint) in the outdoor. Nate was giving Heather a wonderful ride. It always makes me smile to watch them-they love each other, and it's so evident when they're together. He is the happiest horse on earth when his mom is with him. I wish Lily felt that way about me.
Regarding Lily and me, it wasn't our most productive ride. We trotted and cantered, and she was super-relaxed and happy, so I didn't ask for more. We then we just hung out, talking with Heather and Nancy on their horses, and Sally joined us on foot to take photos of Heather and Nate jumping.
It was a very laid-back afternoon, just enjoying the warm sun, the cool breeze, and our horses.
I untacked Lily and turned her back out with her buddies, naked for the first time in 2 months.
Sally had called our farrier and let her know what was going on with Jezebel. The farrier showed up just as I was getting ready to leave-I had told Charles I'd return home before he had to leave for work, and I still had to stop by the grocery store, otherwise I would have stayed to watch. Sally texted me later to let me know they'd found a bruise in Jez's right front, so thankfully it wasn't even an abscess.
Last year the little mare had an abscess in her left hind that was a pain for Sally to treat-Jezebel had to be sedated by the vet every 2 days just so her bandages could be changed! Thus the news that it was just a stone bruise was well-received! Hopefully Jez will be back to normal by next week.
|For those of you that follow the blog on FB...sorry! This one just cracks me up. lol|