Wednesday, October 18, 2017

When it rains, it pours: back in front shoes

So Tristan had chiropractic work on Friday, after much angsting on my part and carving room in the budget for it. He felt much more free through his neck on Sunday, so I was glad I did it.

Then on Monday afternoon, the barn manager called. The farrier was there, and wanted to talk through Tristan's right front foot.

Yes, that right front. The problem child. It's been over five years since it first started causing problems. If you're new to that saga, start reading the abscess tag. Here's the foot progression collage. Short version: he had a stress fracture of the coffin bone that separated, got infected, abscessed, and had surgery, and that foot has never been quite right since.

It's always grown slightly wonky, thanks to the scar tissue from the original injury and the abscess insult to the coronet band. Well, the farrier was telling me over the phone that over the last few months it's been resulting in a mechanical instability at the toe - not due to bad balance, but rather to the way the foot itself was growing. That had now resulted in some separation at the white line, a bacterial infection, and a growing crack.

I knew the crack was there, and had already planned on talking it through with him, but I also thought it could be dug out with a normal trim. Joke's on me, nothing about that foot is normal.

Verdict: he needed to get it totally dug out back to healthy foot, stuffed with artimud, and then...back in front shoes for stability and protection.

Whooosh goes the money out the window. See, my budget is pretty tight, and it's built around him being barefoot, which, 95% of the time, has been a realistic projection!

Alas, not for the next few months.

So here's the foot all dug out.

It's tough to really tell, but that's a decently deep hole. The good news there is that the farrier really thought it was better than his worst fears.

Tris also got hot shod for the first time, this farrier's preference. New farrier from the last farrier who did shoes on him - anyone remember when Tristan had to get sedated for shoeing? Yeah. Good times. Thankfully, I distracted him with peppermints and he did not put a foot wrong the entire time. GOOD PONY.

Next step, artimud and dental putty.

Farrier said "if you want bragging rights, your horse's foot is so round that I have to use the draft horse pad."

Then, the shoe. Sigh.

GOOD PONY. So well-behaved.

I was grumpy but resigned (also freezing cold, it was 40 degrees and I am not yet acclimated to winter) but then I got on...and we had our best ride in WEEKS. He was forward, he was cooperative, he was loose.

Fine, pony. Fine. Have all the money.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Weekly Blog Roundup

I've been slammed with work this week so this is somewhat abbreviated but some good stuff in there, including new-to-me blogs. Thanks, 2pointober!

Dream Horse from Eventing Saddlebred Style
I find these posts just fascinating. They're really a window into all the different things people want out of horses.

Full Story: Charlie's Surgery + Treatment
Surgical Wound Care + Bandages from 'Fraidy Cat Eventing
You all know I'm endlessly fascinated by wound care posts, especially ones with such good detail.

More on Baybuilt from Guinness on Tap

Let's talk about butts from Go Big or Go Home
I love this post, on many levels. It's useful and well-illustrated and funny.

Eventing has gotten harder - now you have to jump upright wine bottles from Riding to B
Karen O'Connor is one of my equestrian heroes, and this was a great recap of a clinic with her.

Comparing lunging and riding with Equisense from Cob Jockey
I want one of those riding trackers sooooooo bad and this post just made it worse.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Chiropractor Results


Thanks to everyone who weighed in yesterday, it was all very useful.

The bottom line: Tristan's fine.

His back was pretty darn loose, only minorly locked up.

His biggest points of tension were in his neck, mostly on the left side.

He tolerated the adjustments exceptionally well.

Overall, the vet (who had seen him once, ten years ago, at a different barn, but understandably did not remember either of us) said "you have the healthiest senior mustang around."

That's good news!

I do feel somewhat conflicted, though.

Now the answer is, as always, "ride better."

It would have at least satisfied something if I'd spent a pretty good chunk of money (more than my monthly grocery budget; money I had set aside to buy new tall boots) and found and fixed a problem.

mostly he wanted a nap

I don't blame the vet for that, though. Getting the news that your horse is in terrific shape considering his age and his general health setbacks is reassuring, and for that if nothing else, I'm glad we did it.

But yeah.

Ride better.

Gotta work on that.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

What to expect from a chiropractic appointment?

In the last few weeks, I've noticed two things about Tristan.

First, he's tracking up evenly behind for the first time in a very long time. Years, perhaps. I actually trotted him out for the vet this spring to see if she had anything to say about it. She thought it was perhaps some arthritis but mostly weakness and over-protecting. So I focused hard on getting both hind legs to step under in all of our work, and I stepped up our time on hills. It seems like that's been successful!

Second, less positive, I'm hearing a popping sound from behind the saddle. Now: Tristan's front legs have snap-crackle-popped for years when I lift them to pick up his feet. His joints just seem prone to air bubbles (apparently what that noise is) and it's never directly correlated to weakness or pain. Multiple vets and the internet have told me it's not a symptom in and of itself. I think it's lower back, but it could be stifle.

However, he's also been more sour in his warmup lately. Even as he's tracking up better, reaching better, using his back better, he's also stiffer through his warmup. More flailing. More reluctance to trot initially, and that's a rock and a hard place for me: if I don't push him to be forward right from the first step, I never get it. So when I push him to be forward, he's unhappy but it results in a better ride after the warmup; when I let him shuffle along slowly until he's more responsive, it's a shit ride from start to end but at least he's a bit happier at the beginning.

the goober in question after a recent dressage ride

Anyway, this is a long way of saying that I have finally pulled the trigger on something I've thought about for a while now: scheduling a chiropractic assessment and adjustment. Vet is coming out tomorrow.

I've never had it done before. I haven't had time to properly research it. I just know that a) it's helped me a lot in the past b) a lot of people in blogland swear by it and c) the ways in which he is exhibiting sourness make me think it's not a muscle soreness but a stiffness.

So, I crowdsource this: what should I expect? He's generally stoic about pain; will he be too sore to ride after the appointment? Have you seen a huge difference in your horses, or no difference? Anyone with senior horses who uses chiro? Anything I should make sure to ask or discuss with the vet?

Obviously this will all be a conversation with the vet tomorrow too, but I'm fiddling my thumbs anxiously and hoping I've done the right thing so would like some opinions before we talk!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Weekly Blog Roundup

Kinda short and sweet this week.

What is hot? from The Repurposed Horse
An endlessly fascinating debate for me; I have for most of my life preferred kick rides, but I'm starting to want something with more natural GO.

Frugal October from A Gift Horse
I know these feels all to well.

10 Great Things About Boarding from Oh Gingersnap
YES to all of these. I love my barn.

Gone to Ground: Hunt Recap from PONY'TUDE
siiiiiigh. Living the dream!

Buyer Beware from The $900 Facebook Pony
The equestrian version of the Craigslist rental scam...

Grooming essentials from Beyond the Shedrow
I often think I fall onto the minimalist end of this spectrum, so it's always interesting to me to read what other people use.