Sunday, April 22, 2012

Making Adjustments with Dawn

Dawn has been very braced lately - lots of attempts to brace at the walk and trot, and also lots of pushing on the bit and attempts to root.  Today I did some experimenting to see what it was that was bothering her.  First I tried riding her in the sidepull - it made no difference - it's not how her mouth feels now that's the problem.  She's eating and chewing very well and putting on weight, and there's no sign of infection - today was her last day of antibiotics. When I put the bridle on her, with the Mylar single-jointed snaffle, I lowered the bit one hole to see what she'd think of that.  Tracking to the right, she was fine - there was lots of nice, consistent softening and very little bracing.  But tracking to the left was a different matter - there was intermittant softness but also a fair amount of bracing.  I also tried switching diaganols down the long side (to be on the "wrong" diagonal) when tracking right to mimic tracking left, and in fact the bracing showed back up, and went away when I did the same thing tracking left.  I suspect her TMJs and neck are stiff and sore from her tooth and chewing problems, and also that her left hind is a bit weaker from her EPM episode - hence the difficulties tracking left when I would be weighting the left hind as I was posting.

Our vet/chiropractor will be visiting to work on Dawn and Pie next Thursday - Dawn needs a tune-up, particularly for her neck and head, and Pie has been working hard for two months and will benefit as well.


  1. Oh very interesting! It seems obvious when you say it but I never thought about it. I get some real strangeness from my mare sometimes, bit or no bit. It never occurred to me that even though I'd had her teeth done she might still have TMJ stiffness left over. I just kinda thought, well, I got that problem fixed but it didn't make any difference so it must not have been her teeth. Thank you for pointing out the further reaching effects.

  2. I don't know what her fitness level is but I can tell you my EPM horse always shows signs of his past illness when he is not fit. For Dandy it manifest only a at proper canter. It's like his hip falls right out from underneath him, just a hitch but frightening if you've not used to it. He always catches himself but it's a given until he builds up to good condition. The closer he gets to that, the less often it happens. The vets think it's from nerve damage.

    The other thing I wanted to mention about EPM horses is they seem to build up muscle slower than normal and loose it faster so I try to keep him fit so we don't have to deal with the hitch.

    My other thought was it could be about memory for her. I've experienced that with a couple of horses that carried themselves in a protective manner before a diagnosis. Both of them expected to hurt and didn't trust the source of their pain was gone. It took some time to reteach them proper movement and for each to begin to believe they could move correctly again without pain.

    Good luck with Dawn. My heart always goes out to the horses and owners who have to deal with the aftermath of EPM.

  3. It is great to hear Pie is getting used to working in the crowded arena and hopefully both Pie and Dawn enjoy the chiropractor tweaking things back to comfortable

  4. The chiro visit might be the answer since it is just one side she is bracing on. Hope it is a simple fix for you.

  5. She has had to overcome a lot recently. I am sure that she will be back to normal before long.


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