From Endurance to Dressage
[Post-publish edit: I took Speedy out for another neighborhood hack this morning and he was a new horse. I couldn't feel or see any tenderness!]
I sure hope it's a small one and that it is resolved quickly, but Speedy's … kind of lame. There's no swelling, heat, or signs of trauma, but he's definitely ouchy on his front end.
I rode him last Thursday and had a fantastic ride, and he hasn't given me any moments of was that a mis-step? So I am not quite sure what this is. I checked him on Friday and didn't notice anything amiss. I was out of town on Saturday and didn't see him again until Sunday. At a glance, I knew he was grade three lame. For those of you not familiar with the term, grade three means obviously lame at the walk.
My fist thought was another abscess. To go from sound to lame overnight usually means acute trauma, laminitis, or an abscess. Since there was no injury site and no bone sticking out, an abscess seemed like the obvious choice. Just to be sure, I called the chiropractor which I had been meaning to do for the better part of two months anyway.
The chiropractor was able to come out on Monday, which gave me some measure of relief. Speedy looked improved by Monday morning, but I knew he needed to be adjusted either way. Unfortunately he really needed an adjustment. He was out everywhere. Ankles to poll … poll to tail … tail to ankles.
After the adjustment, which he loved, he certainly looked better, but he was still "off" in the front (both feet). The chiropractor suspects he might need a shoeing adjustment, and I've called my farrier with this information, but he's not due out for two more weeks. Without being able to see what Speedy's feet look like today, Jaime couldn't really offer an opinion, but he promised to do a thorough evaluation when he's here.
I decided to take Speedy for a short hack around the neighborhood on Tuesday. I figured it would either let him stretch out his soreness, or it would make obvious what was hurting. He started out very short-strided in front and was definitely more ouchy on the hard packed surfaces, like the road. On the grassy or sandy shoulder, he was better. About halfway through the ride, his stride got longer and he offered a trot which took some of my worry away.
Once back at the barn, he was still sore when asked to pivot on either front foot (like turning around in the cross ties). I started to worry that he might have had a small laminitic episode so I gave my vet a call. He agreed that it was very unlikely for Speedy to founder, and from what I described, he really felt that it wasn't the cause. He reminded me however, that it was possible, just not likely. Knowing that it wasn't likely removed that worry from my mind; no point borrowing trouble. But now I'm left with, what the hell's the matter?
I'm hoping the chiropractic adjustment just needs a bit more time to work its magic and that Speedy gets back to normal very soon. I'm hoping to see even more improvement today. And at least Speedy doesn't seem bothered by being sore. His appetite his good and he's still enthusiastic about playing and goofing off. He even bucked and galloped during his turn out on Monday. He just acts tender footed without an obvious reason.
I also had the chiropractor look at Sydney, my bucking, rearing, wild child. All he needed was a wave of the hand over three of his rib heads. He needed so little the chiropractor didn't even charge me. Last time, he was the one who needed all the work. Go figure.
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%: