Monday, April 5, 2010

Cautiously Optimistic

The last time I went out to see Sofie (Saturday) she had improved quite a bit. She actually came around to the back of the barn and was waiting to be caught when I went out there with her halter, which she hasn't done lately. When I free schooled her in the arena she moved better at the trot - her movement had a little suspension and she was more willing to move out. She wasn't swishing her tail as she trotted around, and while she was still counter-cantering on the forehand in both directions, I did eventually get her to take the correct lead tracking right, and her canter was decent (and I didn't get a huge tail swish/kicking out/ear pinning reaction).

I opted not to ride her as she was still "off", though improved. If she keeps improving, I will hopefully ride her again later this week. At this point I'm just glad to see her feeling better. I was very concerned by the level of discomfort she was experiencing just walking around.

We did some grooming and massage on her, and then I took her out in the yard and did some hill work and backing in-hand.

She is on a new joint supplement (Acti-Flex 4000) with higher levels of glucosamine (and a type of glucosamine that is supposed to be better absorbed) as well as other good stuff for joints including hylaronic acid. She wasn't eating it very well at first (I don't know why; normally she is a food vacuum. Pellets, liquid, powder, anything. And I tasted the stuff and it tastes good) but apparently she got enough to make a difference, and hopefully she will get used to the taste soon and not be such a fussy girl. The vet is coming out fairly soon to do vaccinations (ugh) and he's going to x-ray her hocks so we can see what is actually going on in there. And Chiro Lady is coming out to do her thing, but unfortunately not until the 21st. I should have gotten her an appointment sooner; I'm sure she needs an adjustment after that fall, and that may account for some of her stiffness.

So hopefully we can fix/manage whatever problem she has, and she can be ridden again. I really think I am the right person for her, since I have no interest in jumping/showing/ten mile trail rides/doing lots of cantering/riding for two hours/moving up to Grand Prix. I don't mind if we stick to light work, as long as we can have fun and she can be comfortable doing it.

Here are some pictures from early March, when we started having behavioral/soundness issues. As you can see, she was nice and relaxed on the driveway...




...But "difficult" out in the snow. This picture is veeeeeery telling. You can see how hard she's having to work to get through the snow, and how intent she is on getting back to the barn and better footing. Although she has an awful lot of hock action for a horse with bad hocks...hmm. Maybe she's just inverted because I'm clinging to the reins. You can see how crunched forward and apprehensive I am because my horse is not steering and is now trotting away with me.


BUT look what nice shape she was in! See how much that belly came up? And I love this stretch down. I'm hoping for more rides like this in the future.


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