While I was gone last week Prairie had some bodywork done by my vet who noted all good things (mostly). With the two notable exceptions of:
a) Prair being a bit footsore on the hard gravel
b) a strained muscle across her right croup.
The muscle was why I called the vet out... mostly because I was getting concerned over the increased "cheating" going on with Prairie's right hind. She doesn't like to step as "under" herself with her right hind as she does with her left hind and my brain spiraled into a panic that something hideous was going on.
Well, it doesn't look like something hideous is to blame (knock on wood everywhere) but rather a general disengagement of Prairie's hind end. My vet noted that she's using her butt way more than when we got her, but she's got a ways to go. When I asked about the left/right discrepancy she didn't have a clear solid answer. One answer could be that since Prairie tended to carry her tension in her right shoulder that perhaps the left hind was forced to strengthen in order to compensate, and since the right hind didn't, it languished a bit and she's been able to cheat. I like this answer but of course there could be other things going on. I choose not to think about them until necessary.
For now we are doing more rein back exercises and emphasizing our lateral work that asks for frequent shifts of balance.
The hooves hadn't been an issue until recently(though admittedly I haven't been walking her across the gravel drive to the outdoor much and the soft indoor footing hasn't bugged the big mare).
After Prair's exam on Friday, she had a day off before being ridden by S on Sunday which went well. I managed to make it to the barn on Monday but couldn't ride so it wasn't until yesterday (Tuesday) that I tried to leg up. When I did the mare was head bobbing lame at the trot.
I got off, lunged a few circles, couldn't really tell which foot hurt, then jogged her on the gravel which clearly showed that ALL the feet hurt. Or at least both fronts did.
I nixed the ride, shoved some bute down her gullet and called it a day.
Today, the mare was still lame, and after chatting with my vet we think it's just the warm, wet weather wreaking havoc on her pretty bare tootsies.
So, she's getting a hardener applied for the next few days and if that doesn't help.... (gasp) I'll be putting front shoes on.
I'd rather not, but I L-O-V-E my new farrier and how he trims so I'm not worried about her hoof shape getting all screwed up by a few months in shoes. Not ideal, but the fact is I live in a soggy, wet place and I want to ride my horse :)
SO, we'll see. She's on 1g of bute a day because I'm pretty sure it's not an abscess (in which case I'd stop the bute and let her blow it out). Since her discomfort seems spread across both fronts I'd rather bute, and try to keep Prairie from compensating in her shoulders or screwing something else up trying to manage the pain. It's taken too long to mobilize her shoulders and back to let the mare tie herself up in knots....
That's it for now.
Anyway, we shall see. I'm hoping I don't have to tack shoes on, but I'm ok with it if I do. It's a constant struggle in our area to keep bare hooves tough enough in the winter and early spring - so I know I'm not the only one nursing squashy feet. I thought the dry lot paddock with good gravel would help avoid this issue, but apparently not.