Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cushings/PPID Primer, Part I (from Paradigm Farms)

All three of my retirees at Paradigm Farms - Lily, Maisie and Norman-the-pony, have Cushings/PPID, which is managed by medication.  All three were diagnosed while they lived there, due to the attention and care Melissa and Jason give all the horses that live with them.

Melissa has started a series on Cushings/PPID - here is Part I.  I will also be adding these posts to a sidebar as they come out.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Two Retirees

Here are two of my retirees, Maisie and Lily, at their home at Paradigm Farms in Tennessee - photo by Melissa:

They're both in their 20s, and both have Cushings/PPID that's well controlled by medication.  I think they're looking pretty good - you go, girls!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Oh, Mare

Missy is pretty smart.  She stays out of trouble in the herd, and doesn't usually put herself in a position that's likely to cause trouble.  But yesterday, I came to the barn to find this:

Very odd.  Not bites, not kicks, and pretty symmetrical on both hind legs.  The right leg was a bit worse than the left, and also had a wound down near the ankle:

These pictures were taken this morning, and the wounds already looked a bit less raw.  Yesterday they were very red, although not bleeding - just the top layer of hair and skin was scraped off.  They were very fresh at bring in time, which meant they'd just happened.  They were also quite clean - no dirt or debris.

The good news is that the swelling's not too bad - she had some Banamine last night - and the wounds - scrapes is what they are - aren't too serious although they're ugly.  She's sound and there's no sign of any structural damage.  I washed her legs with soap and water, and after she'd air dried, I put Neosporin on the scrapes and then put Swat around each wound so she could go out in a pen today - the pastures are very muddy right now.  She also got a couple of hand walks to help keep the swelling down.  So far so good.  Once things are starting to heal up, she can go back out with the herd and I we can go back to riding.

But how did she manage to do this?  The only thing I could figure is that she got her legs through the fence, and scraped them pulling them back out.  Pie, who can be very crabby with mares, was in a small paddock in the afternoon adjacent to the gate area of the mare pasture.  I suspect that Missy was  at the fence "talking" to Pie - she's in heat - and he didn't care for her offer.  She then kicked at him - he might even have tried to bite her.

There was evidence - a board was knocked loose in the paddock, and lo and behold, on the board below that board, there were white hairs caught in two patches on the top edge of the board.  I'm just glad she managed to extricate herself without doing any worse damage.

From now on, Pie and Red will be in paddocks that don't adjoin the mare pasture, to avoid future incidents like this.

Oh, mare.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Connection Between Walk and Canter

I've always found that there's a strong connection between work at the walk and work at the canter.  I'm not entirely sure why that is, but I suspect that it has something to do with the 4-beat nature of the walk, and the 4-beat (counting the suspension as one beat) of the canter.  There are differences, of course - the most notable of which in canter is the diagonal element, moving from one hind to the opposite front foot.

But a horse and rider with a good quality and feel at walk are likely to have a good quality and feel at the canter, or at least have a good place to start.  A horse and rider with a poor walk - low energy, uneven footfalls or poor engagement - are also likely to have a poor canter.  One of the reasons that I got Red, despite his obvious issues, was that he had an amazing walk, even just when being led in from the pasture.

Pie and I did some canter work today, and my hypothesis about the connection between walk and canter really proved true.

Those of you who have been following along will recall that one of the things we worked on at the clinic was my position at the walk.  Instead of collapsing in my lower back and driving with my seat and secondary aids - therefore blocking the energy flow from hindquarters forward - we worked in the walk at having me sit the same way I did in trot - more on my inner thighs than seat - with a more upright posture and no driving aids - basically getting out of the horse's way so the horse could move more correctly and with full energy.

I did this today with Pie in the canter and it worked like a charm.  We've struggled a lot with canter - or he's struggled and I've interfered, would be one way of saying it.  Today, his canter was round, and soft and engaged, and he was able to do 20-meter circles without loss of the hind end or loss of impulsion, and I was doing a lot less - basically nothing other than being with him - so it felt wonderful.  All I did was concentrate on having my position be the same as my (revised) position in walk.  And he was "through" from back to front, on his own - because I wasn't cutting his energy and movement in half in the middle.  Amazing how effective getting out of the way can be . . .

Walk = canter.