Thursday, September 17, 2009


Two Down

OK, I have three horses. Now there is something slightly wrong with two of them.

Of course, there is Tucker's "whatever is bothering him" in the hind end. And now, there's Chance of the swollen hind ankle.

I don't think there is anything serious wrong with Chance. It looks as if he has a little abrasion there so he may have hit himself somewhere, or gotten caught in something. Hopefully the filling is due to that and not some other more serious injury. He is not super lame, but definitely did not want to use that leg fully. Since I know how it feels when your leg is swollen (last time I hurt my knee) I can sympathize. I wrapped him in a little bit of a pressure wrap bandage, just to give it some support and protection and I'll see how he is tomorrow. I'm not worried yet as I've seen this kind of thing many times before.

I lunged Tucker instead of riding, just to give him a chance to work without my weight. He was perfectly happy to canter off in both directions and I didn't see a sign of anything. His stride looks pretty even and he kept both leads with no problems. He had a nice little workout.

My vet will becoming in about two weeks for fall vaccinations, and I asked that he include a lameness exam for Tuck. By then, I will have tried the bute to see if he's better. Also, he will be fitter, so if it is the stifle it may well have resolved by then.

I did not do anything with Toby. He again made it clear he had no interest in being worked. But I will be riding him now and then since the weather seems to have at last turned to fall.

After all, he may be the only sound horse I have. *lol* (I can laugh because no one is really miserable out there. Although Chance found it kind of hard to figure out how to walk with that bandage on!)


  1. Hope there's nothing seriously wrong with Chance. I'm sure he'll be fine, these things generally clear themselves up as you know. I've been in your spot a time or two. A barnful of horses and only a few sound ones to work with. Never a dull moment!

  2. If you do not mind, I carry on the discussion of the other post.
    I find it fascinating, because it shows the big difference in English and Western riding.

    A western rider always think it is a MENTAL problem. the horse does not do his job i.e. maintaining gait or changing direction or not looking to go where their feet are ...

    An English rider thinks of it as a PHYSICAL problem, dropping shoulder, weakness in a hind etc ...

    I guess in one case the horse has a job, in the other the horse is an athlete.

    The way Saul starts and others western trainers start their young horses is very simple, after the horse accpet the saddle and rider learns left right and whoah. They usually go out in the wild, In Saul's case that is what he did in Texas, miles on field, here he rides in the bigger arena. They teach their horses to keep the direction and the speed. It is a part of training of my mare which is missing.

    So actually all Saul's horses who have been started for 1 month trot canter in a relax mode all over the arena in straight line. Young horses go in straight line to teach them to keep their shoulders straight.
    I do not agree with Saul how he trains advanced moves, though he was told his horses were the best trained around here.

    But he is the best colt starter I know. and I would give him my colt/filly to start. his young horses know their repsonsabilities and move in relax manners at all three gaits in the direction he wants them to go.

    Here is lovely & funny post by a Reined-cow horse trainer, her bolg is great too, a good insight in Western riding. it explains well teh phylosophy behind it.

    I am not worry for your horses, because I know what a fantastic caring owner you are, though I still think Tuck needs a good kick up his @rse. He does not know his luck to have such compassionate owner!

    Claire - I will let my mare break teh gait then ask her to go again. But that is a teaching phase, we are passed that. so yes I will let her break the gait but because she is a trained horse, I will give her the benefit of the doubt and use a phase 1, which is raising my energy and a cluck, If it happened a second time, she will have a phase 1 & 4 very close. Usually that is enough for her to keep going.

  3. just a thought .. you've said regularly that tucker seems fine on the lunge/longlines, the issue appears to be under saddle.

    i wonder if it's a back/hindquarters muscle or something issue that only comes to the fore when you are riding?

  4. Perhaps pain memory. I am reading a very interesting book about stretching, and they say that even if the injury is healed, the horse will still have a pain memory and the musle will be shorten.

    Perhaps it is what he is trying to tell you. But IF he is 100% sound and happy on the lunge which puts MORE stress than under-saddle, I still think he is taking the mickey!

  5. Muriel, I certainly expect the same kind of basic obedience from my horses as you describe. It is when you begin to ask them to do more than the basics that the more complex training begins.

    When you watch your top reiners, you will see that before they ask the horse to spin, for example, they "set him up." The rider sits there for a few seconds making sure the horse is set back on his haunches, he checks the rein contact, and might even just test a little bit of the bend/suppleness. Then he gives the spin cue.

    The more complex dressage exercises also require a "set up" to be done well. Half passes need suppleness, correct body position, fowardness and balance.

    While we can get the horse to "do the movements" with a minimum of effort...Toby can do most of the upper level exercises on a loose rein with very little work on my part, to do them with the high quality required in the show arena demands a lot of little adjustments. It is not the basic obedience, but the correctness that matters there.

    The same goes for jumping. When you approach a jump that needs a gymnastic effort, the horse needs the correct balance, impulsion, length of stride, etc. All of that depends on a good rider who can make all the adjustments as they approach the fence. The horse's natural ability may take them over, but the rider needs to make it a good jump.

    Outside, on a fox hunt, it is rare to find two jumps in a row, but in the show arena, jumps are set to pose problems for horse and rider to solve, and since the rider is the only one who knows in advance what puzzle they are going to face, it is up to him to make all those necessary adjusments.

    If you think about your gymkhana classes where, perhaps you must ride your horse to a specific spot, stop her, then manuever around a gate some other obstacle with certain accuracy, then you will find the need to make very specific adjustments.

    And, if it is in a competition, you cannot afford to let the horse make a mistake so you can correct it. You need to anticipate the mistakes and fix them before they happen.

    It all becomes a matter of the purpose of your training.

    I have heard that the horses of the Spanish Riding School are so finely trained that if you get on one and sit even a little crooked, the horse will not work properly for you.

    I am sure, too, that some of the best trained reining horses are probably that sensitive too.

    And yes, Tucker is a brat, but he is also pretty honest about how he feels. While a braver rider would make him work, regardless...and I did make him work anyhow...he is not the kind of horse whose mind is strong enough to overcome his body. He is too sensitive for that.

    Witness the B52 horseflies. When one comes buzzing around Tucker, he becomes quite dangerous...really bad bucking whether I am riding him or not. Chance just fussed a little and kept going even when one landed on him.

  6. "Perhaps it is what he is trying to tell you. But IF he is 100% sound and happy on the lunge which puts MORE stress than under-saddle, I still think he is taking the mickey!"

    Muriel, i disagree with that. you must admit that if a horse does has an underlying back problem - or possibly kidney! - the extra weight of a rider would make a different.

    I've just spent 5 years thinking my Molly was taking the mick sometimes, when it turns out she has ringbone.

  7. Poor boys, I hope they feel better soon!

    While a braver rider might make Tucker work "regardless", a braver rider might also sour him by making him work "regardless". As you said before, horses don't lie. A horse that refuses either can't physically do what you're asking or doesn't understand what you want.

    As far as being fine on the lunge goes, I've known several horses who had stifle or hock issues that were fine on the lunge but off under saddle (my own horse, even). Dressage requires the horse to shift his weight and the rider's weight to his hind end. It's simply not possible to duplicate this on the lunge line, so the problem doesn't always show up there.

    I'm sure Tucker will be fine by the time the vet comes though, just to be a stinker! *lol*

  8. I agree with Shannon that Tucker will be fine by the time the vet comes.

    I still believe he is a brat. Some horses have an attitude and they cannot be bothered to work for you. In this case they are perfectly sound and usually are more intelligent than your average horse.

    I am not brave, mean or cruel enough to work through this brat'ttude of horses. IMO it is where clicker training has a place. They have to want to work for you, CT done PROPERLY, it is an art to get it done well, is the tool.

    IMo Tucker will be the perfect subject for CT. I am sure he will work VERY hard for training you to click and reward.

  9. Oh my. Seems to be a bout mystery lameness going around. Right now it's my uber old paint so no big worries. Get well soon Chance!