First, I have some photos to share! Above are some recent pictures of my sweet horse, and of me with Buckshot.
Now, onto my update…..
On Thursday afternoon I rode Buckshot and he was better. I think I know why.
I took off Thursday and Friday from work so I could have extra time with Buckshot and attend a few days of the Equine Extravaganza. Thursday I went to the barn to see Buckshot. I have been reading about equine arthritis and the many conditions of stiffness that horses, particularly older horses, can get. One thing was repeated many places: warm the horse up by walking for a good long time, at least 15 to 20 minutes at the walk, to help reduce stiffness and discomfort. So on Thursday, I walked Buckshot for 20 minutes before trying the trot. And he was much better! The BO watched us ride since I had asked her to observe him, and she said he looked fine, in his front legs as well as his hind legs, at the walk and the trot. He had more energy at the trot than he has had lately, and gave a very nice extended walk when asked. We didn’t canter because 1) the day was warm, about 80 degrees, and 2) the arena had a lot of water in it from recent rains. I was thrilled and greatly relieved that he was better! And I am committed to warming him up at the walk for 20 minutes before asking for anything faster, from now on.
Thank you for the kind comments you gave on the last post! Juliette, I agree with you - especially after my experience on Thursday – that walking is extremely important – thank you for your comments. Story, you asked about supplements. At the moment, I give him MSM for joints, and Fastrack for gut and digestion/poop purposes. I’ll explore others as needed. But for the time being, I want to see if a proper, extended warm up helps him. Carol, thank you for your comments as well – what happened in late September in a reining clinic was that Buckshot fell as I asked for a stop from the canter. He apparently tripped on uneven ground, and his front feet went down, straight down, and then his back legs went straight down. He bounced back up immediately. Luckily, I stayed centered on his back just fine as he went down and came back up. I then walked him over to the side, and didn’t feel any offness or limping. I rode him a bit more later in the clinic and again, he didn’t seem off or limping. There weren’t any scratches on his legs. Then he had five days off during the week.
I’ve been riding him since then and he has seemed sort of fine at times and sort of less energetic, wanting to stop at other times. But not quite himself. So I am watching him carefully for stiffness , although I don’t know if it is caused by his age or the fall. I am encouraged by Thursday’s ride and my walking him conscientiously for 20 minutes first, because, in all honesty, I haven’t been doing that with him. In all honesty, I had kind of gotten out of the habit of doing a decent warm up. (I have always been taught the importance of warming a horse up at the walk, but slowly I shortened it, in my enthusiasm to get on with the fun stuff of trotting). So my own actions may have been pushing him into trotting before he was warmed up enough and comfortable enough to do so. I am now very committed to being conscientious about a proper warm up.
On another topic, I spent two days at the Equine Extravaganza! I got Buckshot a new halter (in black- I think he’ll look very handsome!) and a new bridle! It is a brown leather bridle with noseband and braided reins. The nose band and brow band are both padded, on the underside, where they touch the horse. I really like that feature and hope it is very comfortable for Buckshot. Finally, his first new bridle. I hope he likes it.
I saw some good clinicians and learned several interesting things. The most interesting exercise I saw was one by Colleen Kelly, an Irish speaker/ dressage judge/ horsewoman with a great sense of humor and terrific presentation skills. She had three riders in the arena with her and was trying to help them with the sitting trot. She had them walk in a circle around her, and told the riders to look at her boots as they rode. The horses all came in and made the circle smaller. It was a natural shoulder-in. Then Colleen had the riders look at signs around the walls of the building, so that the riders were looking outside of the circle. The horses all automatically moved out and made the circle larger. A natural shoulder-out. She pointed out that shoulder-in and –out work helps with both the sitting trot and the canter. I want to try that with Buckshot.
But now, I’m pooped out. I’ll enjoy some chili I made this afternoon and in the morning, go out to see Buckshot. After our 20 minute warm up, I hope he’ll be feeling great (with our now cooler temperatures) and that we’ll have a great ride!