From Endurance to Dressage
Obviously it wasn't an emergency visit. I don't normally do vaccinations in February, but since we have a mid-March show planned, I thought it prudent to get it done earlier rather than later. Both boys can get a wee bit puny after their annual vaccinations, so I planned the visit to coincide with the wet weather and far from the show date.
A few weeks ago, I realized that I hadn't driven my truck in ... several months? It took the engine a while to finally turn over, so I drove it around for a few days charging up its battery. After I made the vet appointment, I realized that I hadn't used or moved my trailer since at least September. Where does the time go?
I hooked up over the weekend and dragged the trailer out of the weeds and bushes to give it a once over. Everything looked to be in working order, but I drove it around the neighborhood to be sure. The next day, I decided to give Izzy a quick trailer loading lesson. To my delight, he hopped in super quietly after Speedy, and both boys stood like rockstars.
On Monday, both boys loaded confidently and we headed on over to Bakersfield Vet Hospital. I have an amazing vet in Dr. Tolley. His first question is always to ask about each horse. He knows we're there for vaccinations and dentals, but he also likes to know if anything has changed and what other "little" thing we might have going on.
On Sunday, after having been sound for a good six weeks, Speedy came out of his paddock a little ouchy. I immediately assumed it was the same old right front foot problem we've dealt with for the past few years. On a quick trot out on the lunge, he looked sore on the right. On Monday, after a trim by the farrier, he looked almost sound. What the heck? I explained all of this to Dr. Tolley who quickly put the pieces together.
He lunged Speedy to the right and noticed that Speedy was actually sore on the left on one of the bars of his hoof. Speedy came up quite positive to hoof testers, so Dr. Tolley poked around a little looking for an abscess. While nothing oozed out, Speedy was immediately more comfortable as Dr. Tolley shaved away some of his sole. Dr. Tolley's diagnosis was a build up of fluid on his bars which was trying abscess. Removing some of the sole released the pressure.
After that, Speedy got his teeth done and his annual vaccinations. After some poking around Speedy's sheath, right front tendon, and his eyes (an area to watch as there's a weird thing to keep my own eye on), Dr. Tolley gave Speedy a clean bill of health.
The big brown horse also got a once over. The sarcoid that we removed a year or so ago has left some funky scarring on his sheath, but Dr. Tolley thinks it's just that, a scar. As always, he advised me to keep my eye on it. We also discussed the possibility of ulcers, but Dr. Tolley didn't get too excited by the idea. A horse with free choice hay and 24 hour turnout isn't a likely candidate. We shelved the discussion for another day.
Izzy also got his vaccinations and the sharp edges of his teeth smoothed out. This led to a discussion about bitting. If you haven't read yesterday's post, check it out. I explained to Dr. Tolley the whole bitting saga we've gone through, and he listened intently. He said it was possible that the small points Izzy had formed since last year could have contributed to some bit discomfort, but he agreed that it was also quite likely that Izzy simply didn't like the snaffle.
We talked about his own opinion regarding bits and tongue relief, and he echoed my own recent conclusion that tongue relief is important for horses. He reminded me though that he rides well broke ranch horses that don't need the micromanaging that dressage horses do. He understands the needs for bits of all shapes and sizes.
I always enjoy my visits with the vet. Dr. Tolley is always interested in developing the doctor/client relationship. The more communication between vet and owner, the better off the horse will be which is always his number one priority. And if that means we chit-chat about bits, he's happy and interested to do it.
Anybody else use their vet as a sounding board, or I am just a weirdo?
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%: