From Endurance to Dressage
Good Thing He Only Has Four Hooves
I mentioned the other day that Speedy had yet another abscess. He wasn't fooling around with this one. By Saturday morning he was pretty much down to three legs and grumpy was written all over his face. And Arabs are particularly good at making faces.
After an early morning text from the ranch owner sharing Speedy's condition (not good), I sat by my phone waiting for Bakersfield Large Animal Hospital to open. Fortunately for me, they were having a slow day, so I was able to book an appointment for that morning.
Normally we see Dr. Tolley, but I was glad Dr. Gonzalez was on duty because he took care of Speedy's other abscess from a few weeks ago. Dr. Tolley could have handled this one just fine, but Dr. Gonzalez had seen the last one and knew how Speedy would react to the treatment.
Besides that, these kinds of non-emergency visits are a good way to build rapport with a different vet. The day will come when Dr. Tolley won't be available, and I'll need to use Dr. Gonzalez. Having a good relationship with him will help when it's an emergency.
This abscess - you can see it just to the right of the frog, was fairly shallow, much to Speedy's relief. Once Dr. Gonzalez pared away a bit of the sole, lots of ickiness poured out of the hole. In some ways I love abscesses because when you get it to drain, there's no wondering if that was really the problem.
Dr. Gonzalez treated this abscess exactly as he had the last one. He flushed it out with a Betadine solution, packed it with gauze soaked in Betadine, and then started with multiple layers of bandaging material: cotton wrap, brown gauze, vet wrap, and then the ubiquitous duct tape.
There was one last thing. Dr. Tolley and I had previously talked about drawing blood for an ACHT test to check Speedy for Cushing's Disease. None of the vets think Speedy has Cushing's, at least we hope not, but getting a baseline now will help in the future. Dr. Gonzalez pointed out that Speedy looks great, but recurrent infections, as seen in abscesses, can be a symptom of a horse with Cushing's Disease.
For now, Dr. Gonzalez recommended wrapping the hoof every other day for the better part of a week. As soon as the hole epithelializes and Speedy seems sound, I can get him back to work. They'll let me know what the ACTH blood test reveals when they get the results back in the next week or two.
Speedy will be 15 in April. While not quite a senior citizen, he's definitely knocking at the door. Since Arabians tend to be long-lived, I guess I had better start getting ready for old man issues to crop up.
Here's to good health and no more abscesses - three is more than enough.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: