Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Maisie Update and Dawn Helps Me Work

The vet came to check on Maisie yesterday.  She is walking much better, even on stones and gravel, than she has for months.  When the vet checked her over, however, she still had fairly strong digital pulses, particularly on the right front, and was quite sensitive to hoof testers.  She may have had chronic low-grade laminitis for a long time.  She's being weaned off her medications and is getting front shoes back on tomorrow.  We'll see how she does after that, but I think her grazing days may be over, except for a nibble now and then.

Yesterday Dawn and I did a little work.  I took her out to the arena in her regular halter, not the rope halter I had used previously.  We led around a little to continue to work on her leading skills.  She did very well with this.  Then we did the maze again in hand - I made it a little bit bigger so the corners weren't as tight.  This time she was more attentive to me from the beginning, and didn't want to rush through the tight bits as much.  I was able to get her to take single steps without her trying to push on the halter, and to stop and stand still, even in places where the maze was tightest.  We did this successfully a couple of times in each direction, and then I asked Dawn to help me with a job I had to do.

The job we did was to clear the arena of the poles that were lying around.  We left the maze alone in case we wanted it again in a day or so.  So I walked up to a pole, leaving Dawn on a loose lead, and started to drag the pole.  She wasn't sure what to do, so went to the end of the lead (the poles are 8 feet and the lead is 10 feet) and then followed the end of the pole with her nose to the ground almost touching it!  It was an amusing sight - I wish I could have gotten a picture but my hands were occupied.  Dawn is an extremely curious horse, and she clearly wondered what in the world I was up to.  When I picked up the pole and heaved it into the corner with the others, making a great clatter, she startled but quickly calmed down.  We repeated this exercise with other poles, and then I started making serpentines and circles as I dragged the poles - it was Dawn's job to stay with me but figure out how to stay out of the way of the pole - circles were most challenging, but she calmly rose to the challenge.  After the last pole, we were done for the day!


  1. Hooray for Maisie and fun, fun, fun with Dawn! Now that's a good day.

  2. Very interesting posts lately Kate. Very thought-provoking and well put. Glad to hear that Maisie is feeling somewhat better. Laminitis is not any fun to deal with. Has your farrier tried the aluminum natural balance shoes with or without equithane and pads on her? They can be quite helpful. We have gotten a lot of valuable advice and products from the #1 doctor on this subject. He is in Versailles, Kentucky and his name is Ric Redden, DVM. He is the authority on foot problems, bar none. Very nice guy and he's always willing to offer help/advice.
    I love your ideas with working with the horses. You are quite creative, and I'd bet you would make a great teacher. Thanks!!

  3. C-ingspots - thanks - we have used Natural Balance shoes on her and are going to again. Glad you're enjoying the posts - with a smart horse like Dawn I have to think of new things to keep her engaged.

  4. What a great training exercise for Dawn. Now all you have to do is teach her to put the poles away for you. *lol*


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