Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"But I Don't Wanna . . .!" and Dawn's Neck

Today I had planned to ride Dawn (again) but when I brought her in, her neck was very swollen where she'd been stung by wasps (I think) earlier this week - she came in about four days ago with four big welts on the left side of her neck.  The next day the swelling was gone, but over the next several days her skin seemed irritated - little bumps - and there was some odd black scruffy stuff coming up although her hair was still fine.  I washed her with some EQyss shampoo and the next day put on some EQyss spray.  This morning she looked fine, but this afternoon when I brought her in the left side of her neck was very swollen.  There was a large round swelling at the top, where some of the original swelling had been, but below that was a large swelling - the size of a piece of notebook paper - all ridged and puckered, and running down to her shoulder and chest.  It also seemed hot to me and she was ouchy.

I called the vet.  They advised cold hosing, which I did, and some bute tonight and tomorrow morning, and some hydrocortisone cream for the scruffy areas at the top.  So far she's eating and drinking well and seems comfortable, and has no temperature, but if the swelling hasn't gone down by tomorrow the vet will come take a look to be sure we've not got a secondary infection - after all, Dawn's the master of mysterious illnesses.  I'll go back this evening to be sure the swelling hasn't gotten worse - if it does I'll have the vet come right away.

* * * * * *
Drift and I had a good work session, but we had to work through some things.  When I first got him, anytime we trotted he would try to break to canter.  I think he did that because his prior owner was afraid to canter him and would stop working him when he did it - he's a smart little horse and a bit on the lazy side.  We worked through that, starting at the clinic, and now he trots well and (mostly) willingly whenever I ask.  Today we started our canter work again - and Drift tried to say "but I don't wanna . . .!"  When I asked for canter, I got some balking and some propping (which is basically refusing to move forwards), but when I persisted, he would canter.  We did a number of departures, and I got some canters on both leads that went the length of the ring - he tends to drop out of canter whenever he can.  For our last round, he cantered the length of the ring, tried to break out of canter, I got him back into it and we rounded the corner and kept going for the length of the ring again.  I called that a success, and stopped him and got off and praised him.

I see more cantering - lots more cantering - in our future.  After a while it'll be routine, just like the trot.  Drift's a smart little horse, who will try some things on to see if he can avoid work, but he's basically pretty willing.

* * * * * *
All three horses got to meet a gentleman in a motorized wheelchair who was passing by the barn - Dawn ignored him, Drift put his head over the fence to say hi, and Pie got to sniff him all over and follow the wheelchair as it headed away.  The man in the wheelchair appreciated the opportunity to be close to the horses, and we all benefitted from the training opportunity.


  1. I hope Dawn feels better soon.

    Good work with Drift - you are very consistent which must be wonderful for him.

    I love the story of the horses meeting the motorized wheelchair. Wonderful for all, as you say. My Pie had a meeting with a neighbor who walks every day, but is terribly hunched over. Pie has met him before, but was frightened by him yesterday. I think the angle that this man walks seemed unusual to Pie for some reason.

  2. Poor Dawn. I hope the swelling goes away soon.

  3. Hopefully, Dawn gets better quick.

    Lots of trot and canter work is always good for horse training issues.

    The title of your post, "but I don't wanna" sounds like my morning. I wormed the horses and that's what they told me, especially Yalla! and her mother.

  4. I hope Dawn feels better soon - she is the queen of the mystery ailments!

    I imagine Drift's canter will come along quickly. Cantering is always hard for them the first few times and it sounds like Drift had his prior owner well trained to avoid the gait completely. I love cantering on the greenies and feeling like the ship might go down at any moment as we try to find our balance together!! Usually that feeling goes away within a ride or two, at least Drift isn't at that stage with the canter, more just the 'this is hard and do I have to?" stage!

  5. Poor Dawn! Hope the swelling gets better.

    Smokey usually spooks in place. I don't have a grab strap, I found the endurance saddle swell works well for cheating...

  6. Please keep us updated on Dawn! I want to hear that everything is ok!

    Aren't horses funny? They will trot and canter in the pastures all day long, but they minute they are asked for it, they can act like they have never heard of such a thing!

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Catching up after three day power failure....hope Dawn is OK. That does sound strange, unless she had so many stings she actually had an allergic reaction to the venom.
    Saddles: Again, worth a look into the Ansurs. They make a trail/endurance saddle as well as a western. Fitting all three horses with one treeless saddle is a nice option, so the cost balances out.

    love their reaction to the guy in the wheelchair. Both Pie and Drift were quite sweet about it.

  8. Your horses really are lucky to have someone like you in charge of them, making them better horses, caring for mysterious illnesses with such a curious and careful attitude. Your cantering stories with Drift sure sound familiar. I have one of those smart but kinda lazy horses who doesn't want to canter, then is always dropping out of it, or to show she just wants to get it done, canters too fast! Just when the cantering lesson is going great, a branch crashes down in the adjacent woods and all bets are off! I hope Dawn's feeling better soon.


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