Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pie's Eye: Spookiness Explained, Dawn's Leg and Red Runs Me into the Wall

If you're interested in my initial thoughts on horses #1 through #4, see the comments on the prior post.

Mammoth vet visit today.  First I sat through another owner's multi-hour visit, involving nerve blocks, x-rays, etc. - horse has ringbone and some other issues and the options are somewhat limited.

Then Dawn got a look-see - she'd been kicked in the inner upper thigh about a week ago - not too bad and seems to be healing well.  Her left hind came up swollen at about the same time - hard to tell if it's related or something else - swelling is below the hock on the inner side.  Some sensitivity and she's slightly off - looks to be a not too serious suspensory strain.  She'll stay in turnout and heal as fast as she heals.  She's happy to walk on it and doesn't rest it, so that's good.  Could be weeks, or months, until she's rideable again.

Then the vet took a look at Pie's eyes.  He appears to have healthy retinas and optic nerves, which is always good news in a horse that's had Lyme.  His left eye, however, as I'd already noticed, has a good sized cyst growing from the posterior margin of his iris.  The vet said that, even in shaded light, the cyst was shading/blocking a good portion of his retina, which meant his vision in bright light was probably severely limited - he can detect motion but not much else, which explains the recent spookiness, and perhaps even our big accident back in 2011 - he can detect a moving object to his left but can't really figure out what it is.  The next step is a consultation with the eye specialist, and then perhaps we'll take action to have the cyst deflated by laser surgery (which can now be done with standing sedation).  The take away from this is that any horse with unusual spookiness, particularly if it comes on suddenly or is out of character for the horse, should be evaluated for vision issues.  Just think about how hard Pie has tried to always be a good horse for me, and take care of me, and how hard this must be when his vision is compromised - think about how many good horses there are out there that always try their best.

After all this, I had good rides on Pie and Red.  Red was pretty distracted by all the commotion at the barn today - vets, and lessons and other things - and at one point when he was distracted he actually ran my leg into the wall at the walk.  It was rider error - his front and hind end became disconnected and I didn't ride him "through" and didn't use appropriate aids when his head started coming in and shoulder out.  We ended up having a pretty decent ride after all, and then after my ride on Pie, I got Red out again and rode him bareback to recheck our forward and throughness - bareback would allow me to easily get my leg out of the way if we had a steering/throughness issue.  No problems, and he seemed happy to get out again.

Pie was excellent in our ride, although it was hot and buggy.  Excellent trot work, including some nice lengthenings, and his canter work was very good - we did a number of sets of loose rein canter - he rode into the corners beautifully and his canter was very relaxed and engaged, even on a loose rein.

Good horses all . . .


  1. You know, Kate, when you first mentioned the kick to Dawn's inner thigh, I thought"that's an odd place to get kicked". Now, you've added that there is an injury to the other leg on the inside, too, and I'm wondering if there is anything in the pasture that she might have somehow gotten hung up on top of something (a round bale feeder? fence? stump?) while kicking out or playing? Just seems odd that both injuries on on the inside of her legs.

    1. EvenSong - I'd thought of that too - the last time Dawn had an injury like that was when she was kicking in our horse trailer and kicked so hard and high that she got a hind leg hung over the partition. But there's nothing in the pasture that could have caused it, and there was a clear crescent shaped outline on one cut from a kick. The vet isn't sure if the left hind swelling is due to an impact injury - there were a couple of small marks that could have been glancing kick marks, or she could have strained it during the mare kicking contest - there's one mare in the pasture who's an aggressive kicker.

  2. Agree with you that the onset of sudden spookiness is usually due to a physical issue - includign eyes!

  3. Sending healing vibes for Dawn.

    Glad you found out about Pie's eye and that there are options to help him see better. Now that you know, you'll be able to compensate a little with your riding. And be prepared for spooks in the future.

    Sending healing vibes to him too...and a hug for good boy Red.

  4. I hope Dawn heals quickly, you have been having such good rides and connection with her. Also hope that laser surgery really helps Pie!


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