Spring has come to my world. My world of landscaping work anyway. As in less time for playing hooky or lingering around in the blogosphere, hence I have let my blog posts back up. (time to call the wahhhmbulance)
There are three lovely rides to write about + new pictures and video. (!) Lots of gardening news as well. My plan was to compose a comprehensive post yesterday, but as I sat down to the computer (literally), my internet connection konked out. Technology. Can't live without it... can't live without it.
This morning's feeding contained another dose of reality. Val came across the paddock hopping lame. Head bobbing lame. A big 'ol hitch in his giddy-up.
I began by inspecting all four feet and legs very thoroughly. No heat, no swelling. I picked up and held all four feet. No reaction - he bore weight on all feet equally. After he finished his breakfast (appetite not at all affected) I dosed him with 2g of bute. A couple of hours after the foul tasting medicine, he may have looked marginally better.
I cleaned each hoof within an inch of it's life, tapped all over with the hoof pick, pressed all over each sole (hard). Pressed the heel bulbs and squeezed the coronary bands all the way around. No heat, no tenderness, no reaction. At all. So --- I'm figuring an abscess goes to the back of the line.
Next I hand walked him. I turned him in fairly tight circles both directions. He seemed to falter a bit turning to the left. Watching his head as we walked, the bobbing downward happened on the movement of the left legs... sort of between the front and hind steps.
I can't for the life of me isolate where the issue is. I don't know where to stick some ice, dammit! My farrier suggested LF or RH going by my description of the head bobbing. The only other bit of info is that he seems not to be straightening his LF all the way - he almost looks like he's a bit over at the knee, and I heard clicking as I walked him.
Val came to me with an injury to his hip that required nuclear scans, and precluded him jumping anymore. He receives Pentosan Polysulfate injections monthly, and is just about due for this month's dose. He also gets hyaluronic acid gel daily.
He had a major flip out on Thursday last week in his grazing paddock. It looked like someone had done doughnuts with the tractor when he was through. Full throttle gallop right up to the gate - slamming on the brakes in soft sand - skids worthy of a reining horse.
I did some groundwork yesterday involving yielding his hindquarters, but haven't ridden since Wednesday, though overall we've been working longer and harder recently. Nothing over the top mind you. ;D
My plan is to see how he is in the a.m. and continue buting him tomorrow. The good thing is he's cooperative about his meds, and he is taking it easy voluntarily, plus laying down several times a day as per usual.
Helpful suggestions welcome. It's funny that I have finally gotten to the point where I'm anticipating riding with a light heart... just in the last few weeks. Hope my buddy's feeling better soon.
Monday morning update:
I went out to the barn at 0'dark thirty to check on Val because I couldn't sleep, and it was fixing to pour down rain soon. Picked the paddock as well as you can when you can't see. (yes - I had to "feel" around a little bit) Evening mash bowl empty, plenty of water drunk and hay eaten, and a horse ready for breakfast.
Gave him the once over - still no heat or swelling - still bearing weight on all four feet equally. I led him back and forth in the little wedge of light from the tack room. I'd say he looks 50% better today. Better enough to take off like a bat out of hell when a poop pile I chucked over the fence broke an insulator and started the hot rope arcing. I swear to you, when I have to do fence repairs, Val stares at me (from a safe distance) with a combo of utter respect + complete bewilderment. I am magical. :D