Friday, September 19, 2008

Week in Review

Friday, September 12th, was the last time I had been to Heather's, as we readied for the arrival of Hurricane Ike; the day I took the pix of Crash. No disrespect intended to those hard hit by Ike, but we were pretty disappointed. First of all, they kept pushing Ike's ETA back. Originally, we were supposed to start feeling it Friday night, but it was pushed later and later Saturday. We ended up with about a half inch of rain, cloudy skies and cooler temps. We were hoping for more rain for the almost 700 lbs. of seed and fertilizer we threw 3 weeks ago, but we're grateful for what we got. The crows took quite a bit of the seed, but we can see some sprouts of rye grass and oats coming up. Just having the horses off the land for this long has helped tremendously.

Sunday, we went to the earliest showing we could find (10:20am) of "Burn After Reading," the new Coen Brothers movie. If you are a fan, don't miss it.
Although not as good as "Fargo," it is in the same vein. I have not seen "No Country For Old Men" -- way too graphically violent for me. I am okay with the violence if it's buffered with that delicious dark humor Joel and Ethan Coen do so well. You find yourself laughing through the violence. If you are not familiar with their other works and their macabre sense of humor, this movie could leave you wondering what the heck you just watched, so I would not suggest this be your first Coen Brothers outing.

I finally got to Heather's again on Wednesday afternoon after work. I have no idea what was up with my horse, but Poco was an absolute mental mess. He and Jaz came over to the fence to greet me, but it was obvious as soon as I put the halter on that all was not well with my Pokeymon. His breathing was accelerated, his eyes wide. He was distracted, nervous, and jumpy.
They are in a pen adjacent to O, but rather than being intimidated -- not Mr. Proud Cut -- Poco delights in inciting O, so same-as-it-ever-was there. I told Heather right then this was going to be an interesting ride.

Even brushing him and tacking him up, he was a nervous wreck; he seemed hyper-sensitive. Heather came over to help me make sure the tack was okay, but according to Poco, the danger of being eaten was imminent. Now, I've said it many times before, Heather has never laid a hand on him. I have no idea what his problem is with her, although I (and Mike, to a certain extent) am the only one he truly trusts. Walking to the round pen, I thought he was going to jump into my arms. He kept clipping my heels and I had to hold a crop behind me to keep him away from me.

As soon as I got on, he just didn't feel right. Normally, I have to hold him back. Today, he wasn't wanting to move. I got off, we adjusted the tack again and all seemed fine, but it didn't get any better. Heather adjusted the bridle a tad. I got off again, we took the saddle & blanket completely off, checked everything, checked him, and found nothing. Tacked him back up again. By now, Nita had joined us on Doodles, and Poco seemed to settle down when I asked him to follow Doodles. I still felt something wasn't right with him, so I ended the ride sooner than I normally would have.

He was still anxious and jumpy when we got back up to the barn. When I slipped the bridle off, I noticed the right side of his mouth was bright red from being pinched.
We've used this bit before and he liked it! (This was the bit I described in a previous post, although I could not remember what it was called: Tom Thumb.) I felt so bad, but that doesn't explain his overall demeanor. We tried a couple other bits, including Keeley's 5.5" eggbutt snaffle, which was the best fit and the one which seemed most comfortable to him.

I checked him all over again.

Flashback to last spring/summer. Loving on him one day, I noticed Poco had several large swollen areas on his underside. There were maybe 3-4 of them. The largest 2 were about the size of my slightly cupped hand and were on either side just in front of the girth line. I still wasn't really riding him at this time, so I knew it had nothing to do with tack. They didn't seem to bother him at all, but naturally I had the vet come anyway. They did a thorough exam and decided they weren't hematomas, so not from injuries, but possibly some sort of allergic reaction to an unknown histamine. We looked for but couldn't find any bite marks (fire ants, spiders, wasps, snake). DMSO for a week or so and that was that.

Back to the future. I found one on either side of his belly, just in front of the girth line. I suspect they were there before the ride and I overlooked them in my haste to get going. Again, he seemed completely unconcerned with them and let Heather and I poke and prod all we wanted. She, of course, had a tub of DMSO, so I slathered him with some of that. I gave him a tiny bit of grain and put him back with Jaz, whom Jason had moved to a different pen, away from O.

So, Poco is resting or being ridden bareback with the Dr. Cook's bridle until those edemas subside and his mouth is okay. And I'm shopping for a bit, which needs to be a post in and of itself.


cdncowgirl said...

Sometimes its sooo darn frustrating trying to find that "right" bit. Hope you have good luck in that department!

Pony Girl said...

Interesting post. I do think our horses try to tell us when something is not right. I probably would not have gotten on my horse's back if he was acting so mental, I would have just worked him from the ground as I tried to sort out the issue (my horse has been mental before, including today, which I will post tomorrow.) The bumps are probably the cause of the issue in some way, since he was agitated before the bit, too. Anyway, keep us posted on what you discover!

Leah Fry said...


I also had to make absolutely certain this wasn't just Appytude, which he has in abundance. It would not have been the first time he was saying. "Don't wanna, not gonna," especially since Heather the Horse Eater was with me. That said, you are absolutely right. I still felt something was wrong, even if I had no idea exactly what it was. Doesn't matter: if something's not right, it's not right, and I should have trusted it.

Lesson learned. There's still so much I don't know.


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