From Endurance to Dressage
Not the Gift He Was Expecting
Saturday was Speedy's birthday. I don't ever do muffins or treats, but I do like to give him a good grooming or take him for a ride. As I ducked through the fence to give him his daily Prascend pills, I immediately noticed the wonky step. Honestly, this horse is so transparent that I can spot an abscess as soon as he takes a single step. Really and truly my first thought was well that's a sucky thing to have happen on your birthday. I even said it out loud.
So, I assembled my abscess kit and brought him over to the tack room. Speedy was so lame that I actually wondered if he has an abscess in both front feet. When I say lame, I mean grade three at the walk. I have seen some horses who refuse to even take a single step when they have an abscess. Fortunately, Speedy will always walk out, but he'll do it with a pretty big limp. This round was no different.
I was pretty sure the abscess was in the right front, but I picked out all four hooves anyway. It has never happened before, but it's always possible that there is just a big rock stuck in the frog. I also felt all four hooves as an abscess can heat up a hoof pretty good if it's really infected. Fortunately, Speedy's all felt the same. When I picked out the left front, he started to fidget a bit which told me that bearing weight on the right front hurt.
When I use the hoof testers to locate a tender spot, I start by applying light pressure in a circle around the sole. If I don't get a reaction, I apply heavy pressure. Sometimes, a horse will flinch just because you applied a lot of pressure suddenly. By starting with light pressure, I'll get an honest reaction rather than one created by startling the horse. In Speedy's case, light pressure was enough to cause him to jerk his foot forward. Even though I got a positive reaction with light pressure, I tested a second time just to confirm the location of the abscess - medial bar.
Even though we have had massive amounts of rain, things dried up pretty quickly which meant Speedy's sole was pretty hard. I don't have a very good knife - by design as I don't want to take out too much sole. With only a few swipes of the knife I was able to uncover the track of the abscess. it started out as a thin line which I followed, paring out more sole bit by bit. Within a few minutes I was able to release the tiniest bit of green puss. It wasn't much, but it was enough to know that I was in the right spot.
After opening it just that little bit, I let Speedy rest on it while I waited for any more pus to drain out. Once I was sure that it had drained as much as it could, I set about applying my poultice. I use Numotizine which is a drawing agent. With a scoop of the stinky stuff packed into the sulcus of his frog, I wrapped the telfa pad in place with brown gauze and then topped that with a few rounds of vet wrap. I applied a few layers of duct tape to keep it all in and apologized for the crappy birthday present.
On Sunday, Speedy was slightly less lame and his appetite was just as good as ever. Abscesses don't do much other than make him feel like he has a rock in his shoe. This afternoon I'll pull the poultice as my farrier will be out on Tuesday. Hopefully he'll be able to clean up Speedy's foot a bit more, and with a little luck, the abscess will drain more easily.
Not a very good 19th birthday party. Sorry about that, friend.
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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%: