I hate writing about the unpleasant junk that plagues us all. We each deal with a variety of stressors; who wants to read about someone else's?
It's how we choose to deal with them that really matters. For me, I either avoid the situation for a few days, or I very quickly rearrange my expectations to fit the new situation. When I saw that Sydney was clearly grade 3 lame, I did both.
You might have noticed a little radio silence regarding Sydney's progress. That was my way of avoiding the situation. I didn't ignore him of course, but I chose to just wait it out for a few days before freaking out, and then I looked around to see how I could change things. That was when I noticed that Sydney's lameness landed exactly, and I mean exactly, on the day that Speedy was cleared for walking under saddle work. How weird was that? So instead of fretting and worrying about why Sydney was lame, I left him alone to heal and focused on Speedy.
It's been nearly two weeks and only good has come from the situation. Speedy and I had a chance to reconnect, and Sydney has had a week or so to rest and process (I hope) his recent work. When I rode him last night, we had some Jekyll and Hyde moments, but then Captain Awesome came bursting through with his tail held high.
It all started with a Monday lesson two weeks ago. Sydney was great; he was sound and more relaxed than ever. I didn't make it to the barn on Tuesday, and when I showed up on Wednesday, I simply gave everyone a visual check and fed. On Thursday, I turned Sydney out and was floored to see him (happily) hoofing it around the arena with a very distinct head bob. What?!
I haltered him up and did a thorough check of his body - nothing but clean, tight legs and no wounds anywhere. I followed that with a trot out down the driveway. There was no doubt about it, he was clearly lame on either the right front or the left rear. I tucked him back in his stall and said a little prayer. The next day, I lunged him and he was "sound" on the straight, but definitely lame to the right. The day after that, again on the lunge line, he was even better. By Monday, my next lesson day, he looked pretty good, but he was still just a little rough to the right. That's when Speedy and I had our walking lesson.
By Tuesday, I couldn't see anything that made me worry. My usual MO for riding after a lameness is to wait at least one full day after I don't see any missteps before I ride again. Wednesday was that day, but while I was grooming, I noticed he had some very slight filling on the right front. I kind of freaked out a little bit.
After a week he now has some filling????? What the hell?????
I chalked it up to standing around and thought I should ride him for at least a few minutes to see if movement relieved the filling. I listened and felt for any bit of lameness and was relieved that he was solid in both directions.
The next day, the filling was still there, but it was so slight that most people wouldn't have seen it. That's when I noticed a very small, shallow scrape on the inside of his leg. He's had these before and they always cause more filling than I think they should. (Speedy could gouge out a hole and not ever fill.) Immediateley, any worry I had dissipated. The lameness and the filling were not related.
From the beginning I assumed that Sydney had been kicking at his stall wall. I saw him do it that first afternoon that he was lame. The weather had warmed up and the first flys of the season had arrived. Without a vet exam, I can't be sure of course, but I feel comfortable with the idea that he simply whacked something that made him a little tender. And since he hadn't been turned out or ridden for a week, he probably played too hard in his stall and nicked the inside of his leg. So I guess the two injuries were somewhat related.
When I rode last night, he felt great, and considering he has had very little opportunity to burn energy, he was quite well behaved. There were two gigantic spooks and whirls, but he recovered his wits quickly and gave me some good work.
Here's to good rides this weekend!