Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Guessing games

Don't you just wish horses could talk?

They do...just deciphering it is a human issue.

Things with Prophecy have been stalled out lately and I'm left scratching my head trying to understand him. He is telling me something and I am struggling to figure out what.

After his bronco episode that I described the last time I've been trying to determine the why part of it.  First thing I tried was the the S-Hack - very successful there except for when trotting at the end of our arena time he threw his head at me - more to signal something was not right.   Reviewing pictures from that ride, I felt maybe the saddle was set too far forward on him.  I've also been researching the possibility of Ulcers - however his only other symptom is the girthy/cinchy attitude for tacking up.

So Monday night I set the saddle further back, went back to the matrix pad, and lunged him first. The saddle crept forward during the lunging, even with a mohair girth.  Ok, reset - needed to be tightened further, much to his dismay as he hates that part.  I felt the saddle was in a good spot so I hopped on and Success!  Ears forward, walk and trot nicely and willingly, working with the hack wonderfully.  Then came the halt, ears pinned and try to nip my right foot.  Sigh.  Saddle scooted forward? mind you this is all in the arena so it is flat. It seems that when his big shoulders start moving the trot the saddle scoots up - which it wasn't doing a few weeks ago.

On the Ulcer question, prior to getting on him Monday night I used Dr. Paolo's technique to check acupressure points for signs of ulcers (he had been checked in July with no response but worth a recheck). I got nothing, minus a slight back lift for CV17.  He did show me that further back along the sternum and ribs he was sensitive with a head turn and moving away from the pressure.  Strain along the abdomen/ribs? Rib out of place?

During this "halt" and pinned ears I explored his reactions.  I reached down to the cinch ring on the right, he quickly turned his head at my hand with ears pinned.  Repeated exercise on left, no reaction... Clue #1 - something on the right.  Next, I asked him to walk off with a slight squeeze on his right side, he nipped at my stirrup.  Stopped, repeated with a left leg cue, he walked off with no reaction.  Clue #2 - I can hear him saying it is on the right mom.  We walked a little more, I hopped off, and he immediately turned to bite at his right flank.  But only that one time... I poked and prodded some more, looking for indications of tenderness or ulcer point reactions. He is more reactive when coming from the right and along the sternum on the back half, not up near the cinch. I repeated the ulcer point check after tack was off, still nothing of note.

Now what?
I've got plenty of photos looking at saddle placement that I sent along to the saddle maker.  Maybe a different pad is in order? Or a shim to adjust the fit and sliding? He is still in the very early stages of losing weight and getting fit so I'm sure we will keep having to tweak things as we go.

I've been in contact with our Equine Massage Therapist and looking at what the points of reaction might mean.  I'm still trying to get him set up with the chiro, who just isn't in our area often. He is scheduled for his fall vet check on Oct 7th.

There is always the thought of treating for ulcers and see if it makes a difference...

Top all this off with still treating his hooves for WLD and the funny shape they are in currently (does not fit ANY boot type), and my lack of trailering capability, this guy is definitely not going for any completion rides (or even doing drag riding) this year.

Regardless of my plans falling short again for the year, I enjoy my time with him. He tries hard, he is sensitive and sensible, and is only trying to tell me something in his recent antics.   I have learned is that he really loves the S-hack.  He is very good for me in the arena, turns, stops & backs. No more constant playing with the bit, throwing his nose, shaking his head.  Now, we may try the bit again after his float in October and see if teeth were the issue, but only if we need to go back to a bit. I'm perfectly happy if he turns out to be a s-hack only horse!

Maybe 2017 will be our year?

Still doing his diaper soaks for WLD

Relaxing after riding a bit and while he soaks


  1. Where does your cinch ring hit on him? Just wondering if it's in a sensitive spot once everything is tightened.