Tuesday, 8 February 2011
What a winter! I definitely spoke too soon in my previous post...the stables were very much NOT finished before the worst weather hit and poor Echo and her two friends were living out through some of the worst snow I have ever seen. We had two feet of snow, followed by temperatures as low as -16! There were some things to be thankful for however - she is just outside my back door, so I didn't have to travel to feed her etc. As well as this, I hadn't clipped her as I had been having so many problems and thought I would wait until I knew what was going to happen - thank goodness! She needed all the warmth she could get!
The stables are still not finished, although the roof is now going on. It's getting to the stage where I don't really need her to be stabled over night, but they will be very useful for feeding and handling purposes. It seems a bit of a shame, as I will be moving by the end of May - we won't have made the most of a really beautiful little yard. Never mind.
Just before the snow arrived, I had a visit from the vet, who looked at Echo on the lunge and confirmed that she was very stiff and uncomfortable in her back and hindlegs. She gave her a course of 10 days of Bute, to see whether she was just holding her back tightly due to past discomfort. Unfortunately, the last of these 10 days was the first day of the snow, so I wasn't able to find out whether it worked. The vet also mentioned the possibility that the problem might be in her hocks rather than originating in her back. She dropped the phrase 'arthritic changes' into the conversation but then said that she thought it was unlikely. I really hope that this is not what is causing Echo's discomfort, but if it is, I would rather know, so that I can do something about it!
For now, I think that as the saddle has been classified as seriously not fitting her, I will try to fix this problem next. That's the difficulty with these discomfort issues - it's impossible to know where to start solving them! I have at last sold my beautiful (but badly fitting) dressage saddle and my saddler thinks that she has something that has just come in that may fit. So...I now have to prepare to get on her back after her having had nearly four months as a field pony!
I lunged her last week and she galloped around wildly for about ten minutes before settling - hard to tell whether she's stiff if she does that! I then lunged her today and things made a much nicer looking picture! She was much calmer and didn't look stiff in her hind legs, although I'm not very good at judging! One thing that was positive, however, was that I put side reins on her for the first time since having her teeth done; last time I used side reins she fought them and rushed, looking dreadfully uncomfortable. Since having the dentist out and getting a new bit, she looks much happier in them. I made them very long today, encouraging her to stretch into them, which she did, so it's looking much more positive.
My plan is to lunge her a bit more this week, then if she is nice and calm, get on her bareback a couple of times before the saddler comes next week. I really really hope that this saddle fits; the lady wants rather a lot of money for it, but I can probably get somewhere close to the price. I am really struggling for money at the moment as I am also trying to buy a car - I wrote mine off when I crashed on the ice just before Christmas - it really hasn't been a very lucky few months, so I'm holding out for my luck to change a bit now!
I will write again after the saddler come on Wednesday - think lucky thoughts, everyone!!
Daily adventures while training my young horse.