Friday, June 14, 2013

Dawn Acts Weird, and the Boys Are Marvelous

This morning, Dawn was acting a bit odd.  She came in willingly from the pasture and we did our regular grooming.  But then she did something odd when I was picking her feet - when I picked up the right hind, she snatched it way up high and then slewed around on her left hind.  Hmm . . .  When I was leading her to the mounting block, she bit at me, not connecting but just "telling" - this is Dawn's way of saying something's not OK - she's very specific in her messages. And then when we rode, we trotted around just fine when tracking left (so I was posting on the right front/left hind pair of legs), but as soon as I started tracking right, she wanted to halt.  She wasn't refusing to trot or balking, she was just telling me that there was something wrong with trotting on that diagonal (where I was posting on the left front/right hind pair of legs).  So I stopped riding and got off and turned her back out - I'm learning to listen to my horses.

It took me until this evening to figure out what was wrong.  She had a kick wound, and quite a bit of swelling, high up on the inside of her right thigh - I didn't see it when grooming this morning or picking her feet this evening (bad horse mom!) and only noticed the dark marks of the cuts at the last minute just before I left the barn as I was topping up her water buckets.  I pulled her out of the stall and cold hosed it for a few minutes, then used some wound cleaning spray.  Tomorrow if the wounds are dry, I'll put on some antibiotic cream and put some arnica on the swollen areas.  Poor girl . . .

I had absolutely marvelous rides on both boys today.  They're both still stuck in pens, rather than out with the herd, since Pie can't go out on the grass yet and Red's stuck with him for now - I'm out of town from Sunday through Tuesday and will start putting Red out for some time with the herd in the afternoon when I get back.  I'm planning on holding Pie out from grazing until July, and then introduce him slowly and see how his feet do.  The nice thing is that with rationed hay, and Pie's new Busy Horse hay bags, both boys are close to an ideal weight - Pie could still do with losing a few pounds, but he's looking better.  There are a large number of fat, even obese horses, at our barn, and I'm not interested in having any of my horses join that company - it's hard on horses both metabolically and for joint soundness to be overweight.  One of my vets commented recently that most of the horses she sees now are overweight and many are obese.

What was marvelous about my rides on the boys?  They were just about perfect - both were instantly and consistently forward, both were soft, soft, soft - there was just a whisper of pressure on the reins and they were round and lifting themselves from behind and using their cores - both boys were just dancing at the trot and canter.  They turned and did figures on just a thought. Just plain wonderful!


  1. Aww, I hope Dawn heals up quickly, poor girl.
    Glad the boys are doing so well! I'm so inspired
    by the work your doing with Dawn, Red, and Pie.
    It really keeps me pushing to get better with
    my little mare.

    I was looking at a study about magnesium and it said that horse that are prone to blood sugar disorders such as insulin resistance have a greater need for magnesium. It also said that its been found that some horses are able to remain permanently on pasture with no restrictions to grazing, even those highly prone to laminitis, due to the feeding of magnesium.

    I thought of Pie as I read it and thought that you might be interested in reading it when you have time. If so, you can go to this site ->
    Then if you click on the link 'MagnesiumForHorses' it should take you to the pdf file.

    Best wishes,

    1. Sam - thanks for your comment.

      My chiropractor/vet, who is my most trusted expert on all matters endocrine/metabolic for horses, has a custom supplement - magnesium, chromium (which is also very important in sugar metabolism), selenium (we live in a selenium deficient area) and vitamin E. Pie has been on this supplement for a while, and it seems to help him, but right now the rich grass is just too much for him. Dawn is moderately sensitive, but her pasture is pretty sparse. Red has never shown any kind of problem with the grass.

      I think Pie, being bred and raised in Montana from Montana ranch horse stock, just has a metabolism suited to sparse grasses rather than the rich stuff we have around here.

    2. Ok, that's good, I thought I'd mention it just in case. :)
      Yeah, some horses like Pie just can't handle rich grass, but at least you are keeping a close eye on him, too many horses suffer from having owners that don't pay enough attention.

      If you don't mind me asking what type is magnesium Pie's getting? I'm just interested as there seems to be many differing opinions on which type is better.


  2. Poor Dawn ....I hope she heals up soon ans how wonderful that your two boys are looking fab and going so well....all credit to you

  3. Hope she heals up fast!! When I first brought my horse to the barn I board at now-which was less than a month after owning him or owning a horse period-he was kicked. On the back. Huge wound. It was so swollen, I couldn't ride for weeks! This was torture because he was the only horse I could ride there due to my experience and I had only ridden him three times at the most before! Blah! Kick wounds stink. :P
    My horse-also named Red-came to me underweight, bald-literally, bald-his ribs were showing something fierce, he just looked bad. No mane, no now, after a few months with him, he has cellulite on his butt. Not overweight, but muscular! Yay!

  4. Hello! I really enjoy reading you blog and you are a great writer. I would love it if you would consider writing a guest post for my blog! Its an equestrian lifestyle blog centered around warmbloods and the sporting disciplines. Check it out and if you are interested shoot me an email at

    1. Rachel - thanks, you're too kind - I have trouble even keeping up with this blog, so I must regretfully decline your nice offer.

  5. Dawn knows you will listen to her. Sometimes it just takes a little extra detective work on your part to figure out what she's telling you. Good going.

    As for the boys, great news indeed. My two younger horses are on diets too. Do they live on air?


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