From Endurance to Dressage
When I pulled Izzy up to the mounting block on Monday, he took a really wonky step. I hand walked him a few strides and noticed that there was definitely a hitch in his stride coming from the hind end. My first thought was that it was a cramp from all of the backing up he had done to avoid the bridle.
I reasoned that he might walk out of it. I got on anyway and asked him to just keep it slow and easy at the walk. Given how dramatic his meltdown had been over the bridling process, I figured that a quiet walk was probably just what he needed. After twenty minutes, he was no sounder, but not worse either, so I called it quits.
There was no swelling nor a wound, and he was bearing weight on it, so I turned him out in his paddock and hoped for the best. I watched him for a while as I puttered around, but the lameness got worse by the minute. By the time I left for home, I knew it had to be an abscess.
A lifetime caring for my own horses has given me a pretty good sense for when the vet needs to be called. A horse who is eating happily with a cocked leg is not one of those times. Even though Izzy took the classic stance - toe pointed down and a reluctance to bear weight, I decided to just watch it and see how bad it would or wouldn't get.
I gave him a gram of bute for several days, which he refused to eat, but other than poke around with a hoof pick, I just let it be. The next day, he actually looked better. He was bearing more weight on it, and by Wednesday, I started to think the abscess had absorbed or that it had been a cramp afterall.
On Thursday, I found the telltale drainage hole. It must have just blown before I got there because it was still oozing. I gave it a gentle squeeze and was rewarded with clear seepage that was odor free. Again, I left it alone without washing it or soaking it.
We had record rainfall last weekend which turned parts of Izzy's paddock into a soupy mess. He had high ground to stand on, but the mud no doubt softened his feet allowing a grain of something to work its way in. For me, having the abscess blow out through the heel bulb is the perfect scenario. Those heal almost as soon as they pop.
It's raining again right now with a forecast for continued rain through Saturday, but we had really warm and dry weather this week which eliminated nearly all of the mud. Hopefully the hole closed yesterday afternoon, but I am defintiely going to give it another close examination today.
If my horse is going to be lame, an abscess is just about the best case scenario!
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%: