Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Back to this Dressage Thing

Life is never dull when you share it with Ben! I've come to the conclusion that he basically has to have some kind of drama in his life at all times - you know, to break up the monotony of doing actual, real honest to goodness work ;)

So in my last post I mentioned that was back on the job, earning his keep so to speak. Things were going relatively well-  a bit of a saddle fit dilemma but nothing major & easily fixed. Summer eased in to fall and I started riding him more, now with my mare in full training. One week, I started to notice Ben doing something funny when I put him up in his stall for the night. He'd go to the back corner and stretch out as if to pee, but never did he actually pee. He'd stand there, looking at his belly - kind of like the onset of colic. However, it lasted all of a couple of minutes - he'd snap out of it and head to his food waiting for him. So of course I'm thinking he's on the path to death, so I call the vet and explain what is happening. We scheduled an appointment for a few days later, thinking we'd get his annual check up/vaccination/float done and also talk about possible ulcers, as that is what it sounded like, though in my mind I was prepared to be shocked if he had ulcers - as he doesn't seem to fit the "type."

The next day rolls around, and I head up to the barn. On my way up I get a text saying "Ben Colicking, Call Me" I got there and saw that while he was in distress, it wasn't colic, rather, it was choke. However, there was no discharge - just him wheezing and making a donkey-brayish noise. So I called our vet and thank goodness he was about 5 minutes out. We got Ben sedated and got the obstruction cleared. While doing so, we were talking about the behavior that I had been witnessing, and thought that perhaps it was related, in addition to his previous nose wiener issues (does he have damage to his esophagus from a tubing gone wrong?)- the best course of action being getting him scoped to see what is going on in there.

A few days later, Ben packed up for the clinic. I cried my eyes out for 2 days straight, convinced I was going to get horrible news of irreparable, life threatening damage. After fasting all night, Ben's appointment was to be that morning, and the clinic said they'd call as soon as it was done. All morning goes by and I heard nothing. They did say they would have to delay if an emergency came up. Still, by noon, I had heard nothing. I finally decided to give them until 1 pm, thinking that maybe they keyed in my phone number incorrectly. When I finally did call, they told me that they had to delay Ben's scope not due to an emergency, or running behind schedule...no...they had to delay it till the afternoon because my horse thought he was being starved and ate shavings through the muzzle, and they were waiting for those to pass.

The were finally able to scope him in the afternoon and found...drum roll please... nothing. Absolutely nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Well...they did catch the tail end of the shavings...but no scar tissues, abnormalities, or ulcers. His bloodwork was totally clean. When it comes to his nose, airway, esophagus and stomach - Ben is a picture of health. So the sum of it is-  my horse believes he has to gulp food and eat everything in site. He now lives on his hay and mush wet meals, for life.

That said, after a couple of days off, Ben got back to work. Our trainer finally came down last week for a lesson and gave us LOTS of homework to do that basically all involve some element of suppleness and 1 million transitions between and within gaits. The plan going forward is to lesson once a month. My goal is to be able to finally start crackin' on stabilizing and balancing his canter so that he can keep it for longer. Now wouldn't it be great if next year I could show him at training level again, and maybe even 1st?

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