Those of us who use Blogger as a platform have been out of action for a while. Whatever their problem was has been fixed, but posts for the past several days, and their comments, were removed and are apparently being restored but that takes some time. (Update: posts are back but not comments, so if you left one before please feel free to repeat it.) So, to recap the past couple of days . . .
Pie developed a problem on our walking trail ride with Scout on Wednesday morning - it was a hot and humid day - mid 80sF - but, although our activity level was pretty low, after the ride he started sweating profusely and his muscles got overheated and crampy - not a true tying up episode but a lot like that. Fortunately our chiropractor/vet was visiting that morning and was able to look at him - she determined that he overheated because he was footsore and had been holding his body tensed to protect his feet, so his muscles were already fatigued and became exhausted by the easy trail ride. She didn't do any chiro work on him since it would have been a waste of time and he was too sore to work on.
I think this has been coming on for a while - he's been crabby with me lately, which is unusual for him, he's not as willing to just march across gravel, and his feet have been somewhat warmer than I'd like, although he's never been lame or off - Maisie was much worse off when she had her problems the last two years. I think this started when we had a series of freezing temperatures at night followed by warm sunny days - these conditions increase the sugars in the grasses - see safergrass.org for more information. Our vet/chiropractor doesn't think it's an adjustment issue - he lived in Montana and then Minnesota before I got him and didn't have access to profuse pasture like we have, and whatever his underlying metabolic profile, it was never challenged before and now has been. We are very lucky to have our vet/chiro's services - she's an endocrine specialist and picks up things many vets would miss or not be able to treat well.
He's off grass, in the stall during the day and in a dry lot paddock at night, and he's getting a few days of bute. No hand-walking yet - we want him to be 24 hours off bute to be sure it isn't masking symptoms. He does get to walk around in the dry lot paddock. The cramping in his muscles is much better by now - just a little bit of soreness and stiffness left in his back - and his walk, which was never lame but rather short-strided - is almost back to normal. And his feet are cool, and it doesn't look like he's protecting them with his stance anymore. I don't know yet if he'll be good to go for the clinic - we're leaving a week from today - but our vet/chiro will come back to evaluate him on Monday and also do a blood draw to test his insulin and thyroid levels. It may be that this is something we can treat - he's on chromium (which can help insulin resistance, if that's what he has) and electrolytes (he may be an excessive excreter of salts) already which should help - or it may be that he'll have to be off grass permanently or wear a grazing muzzle.
Dawn and Drift had good chiro sessions - neither one had much going on that needed fixing. It was Drift's first ever chiro treatment, and he loved it - he stood completely still on a loose lead in the barn aisle, where he's usually very fidgety. Our chiropractor suggested that I start giving him massages in the barn aisle, to make it a "good place" where he wants to be. The fact he needed very little chiro work doesn't surprise me - his essential soundness and good movement were a primary reason I got him.
Dawn and Drift had good work sessions both Wednesday, before our chiropractor came, and today - they had yesterday off after their chiro treatments. Both horses have been working on stretching down, and in Drift's case relaxing. Dawn and I did a few canter departures on Wednesday, and they were really nice despite the fact we barely started our canter work last fall before she was off for the winter - it's almost as if she hadn't had time off - all of the training and the resulting softness and focus are still there and we're just continuing on. If Pie can't go to the clinic, Dawn will go as his replacement, and there's plenty of good stuff we could work on. Drift was greatly improved even between Wednesday and today - he had to come a long way in from the pasture, stood almost quietly on the cross ties in the barn and his work was very good - the trot was more relaxed, there was almost no rushing which meant I cold begin to use a little leg to help him with his stepping into corners and stretching down, and he was able to start softly stretching down without bracing - it's not there immediately and it's not consistent yet, but I think the "curl up" may be on the way out. There were a couple of times when we were working and a horse in the pasture would call, and Pie would call back, and Drift would call/scream, but he kept right on working through it and didn't lose his focus.
And, on Wednesday before the Pie problem, I put Pie in the trailer, then got Drift and loaded him - he walked right on without a second's hesitation. A picture - courtesy of Jill, Scout's owner: