Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sudden stress.

So I'm suddenly consumed by horse stress.  So many stresses.  Self-doubt, really: am I taking the correct care of my horse?  Am I riding him correctly?  Am I actually injuring my horse?  What is this lump?  Do I need to call the vet?  Is he neurologic?  Was that a normal stumble or toe-dragging?  *pulls hair out*    Yeah.  Stress.

Last week, I arrived at the barn to discover that beloved ponykins had knocked over the panels in front of the barn designed to keep horses out of the barn.  I discovered him with his head in the pelleted feed bin, munching away; all three feed bins (beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, and Tribute Kalm n' EZ) were open, as well as the bin holding the cookie bag.  He'd also eaten several flakes of the compressed alfalfa bale I'd bought the week before.  ARGH.  I checked him out, and he seemed to be fine; vet recommended 3 days of Banamine just in case, and cold hosing his front feet, again just in case.  He didn't get *too* much more feed than he gets, total, in a day, and he hadn't had breakfast that day, but still.

Oh, and?  He'd pulled both his front shoes, likely the day before but possibly that day.  Gah.  One hell of a party in the pasture - no shoes, trash bin knocked over, panels over, eating straight from the carton ...

Temp, pulse, respiration, gut sounds, and manure were all good, no pain in his fronts, and they stayed that way.  So no real stress there, just a Thing That Happens Sometimes With Horses.

But ... I'm all freaked out that he's got a jumper's bump.  And that he's too thin.  And that he has no muscle.  And that he has ringbone.  And that he might be neurologic.

I mean, seriously.  These worries are, in order, probably silly; enh, he's a TB, he doesn't really do "fat;" patently silly; unlikely because he's sound, his x-rays never showed any hint of it, and the vet never mentioned it; and unlikely.

But at the same time ... part of me wants to collapse in a neurotic weepy pile with worry.  If he's got a jumper's bump, WHY?   HOW?  Did he always?  I'm looking for older photos of his back.  I know I have some.  And I always do horsey situps with him - getting him to tuck his hindquarters by running spurs lightly down the back of his quarters - and tummy tucks, and leg stretches, all to keep his topline strong and his back, hindquarter, and ab muscles strong and supportive.  I do carrot stretches with him too.  Am I imagining things?   And it leads into ...

Jumper's bump?  Or just my mind playing tricks on me?

Am I riding him correctly, working to strengthen his muscles and his correct carriage, the way I intend to ride?  Am I getting enough hind leg engagement?  (Almost certainly not, but I work at getting more and more.)  Is working on this uneven, unlevel surface - his pasture, with somewhat hard footing - hurting him, rather than helping?  I had thought that it'd be good for him, that he'd improve his balance - if we can be balanced and engaged on THIS surface, we can damn well be balanced and engaged in a nice dressage arena, was my thought.   But is it not helping?  I can't see his hind end, so am I imagining any improvement?  I watched the video of last year's derby, and I realized that I rode pretty well.  So I *can* ride ... or I *could*.  Can I still?  AM I still?

And on this unlevel surface, he does of course stumble.  He sometimes stumbles in the fancy arena at NT's place, too, but not nearly as much.  Do I need to worry?  Is he neurologic?  He jumps fine, doesn't get tangled up in himself ... I think.  Is his constant desire to have his head rubbed and his rubbing his face on his legs as soon as I dismount a symptom of Head Shaker Syndrome?  Are the various lumps and bumps on his pasterns ringbone?  They didn't show up on his rads when we took them, but did I cause it?  Does it develop late?   IS MY HORSE DYING AND I JUST DON'T KNOW IT???


And THEN ... there's all the stress about whether we can and should get out to school XC and then go to a little jumper show this weekend.  I need to get the trailer mats organized tonight, and I hope that will help Apollo's loading issue.  I honestly think that mats plus not squshing him in with the divider will solve the issue - I think he was feeling really unstable and like he doesn't have enough room as it was.  The trailer *is* a bit too small for him.

Do I suck as a rider?  As a horse mom?   Suddenly I feel the way I imagine first time parents must feel, especially if they don't have parents of their own still living.   Like, totally adrift and wondering what I'm screwing up today.


  1. Deep breath. You are a good horse owner and a responsible person. You've had a lot of stress lately and your worries are perfectly normal.

    Now remind yourself that he's a horse and he's probably fine.

    (And yeah, I'd totally be freaking out too. I about lost it when C cut his leg open and it swelled up and looked like a splint and I freaked out for days until I talked to RW who was like "yeah call me if it's not better in a week". And it was. And then I felt silly.)

  2. ugh my mare has that same bump and it drives me frickin bananas. she's sound and she's comfortable and she's got jumps for days tho... so... idk? i try not to worry myself too sick tho. the horse is fine. your horse is probably fine too (tho super naughty for getting in to the feed!). and you are undoubtedly not a sucky horse mom or rider!

  3. He kinda owes you a good show day after his little rager party ;) We all have those worries, horses are big, expensive kids who have a hard time telling us what's up. The fact that you even go there means you are doing a good job.

  4. What a turkey!!!

    You are a great horse mom!!

  5. Yep, what they all said. Worry is normal. Bumps are normal.