Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Review - a mystery solved??

OK.  With birthdays done and work taking a breather, I finally have a moment to sit down and review the glory of last Sunday with Miss P.

there's a man on my horse! ON. my. horse!
 Before we actually got there, I received an update that Cowboy Man had tacked P up and hopped on her in the arena just to see where she was at.  Apparently she was a bit of a witch about being saddled and was twitching her skin like she used to..( anyone remember her fit during our saddle fitting, or how stumped I was at her constant "itchy twitch" ??) and really grumpy about her girth going on.. (remember when we thought she was full of ulcers??)  Apparently though, once the tack was on she was soft and lovely and perfectly polite for Cowboy Man when he mounted up.  He said there was no sign of stopping or stalling (yahoo!) and although he only had her work for about 10 minutes, there was no indication of a marewolf lurking under the surface (yay!).

I guess the point of the (quick) arena ride was to make sure she was safe (or mostly safe) before he started riding her out in the fields and off property.  Just enough time in the ring to get a sense of what he would be working with out of the ring...

Following the ride (again, this is all before we showed up on the 21st), P had some bodywork, whereby it became obvious that her ribs are all out of sorts, specifically on her left side.  Her intercostal tissue between her ribs is spastic and taught, which is essentially "pulling" her ribs in, so that they are almost flattened, instead of floating happily and  making a nice round barrel shape.  Dr. Finn worked some of this loose, but thinks that it'll take a few more weeks to really get it to relax.  P showed the most sensitivity to pressure on her sternum, though her ribs getting closer to her shoulder were also pretty pissed off.

Fast forward to last Sunday, when after a quick stop to acquire more reclaimed wood for his furniture The Boy and I showed up to see the mare.  We planned to saddle up P for Cowboy Man and throw me back on Wendy while we made P's first undersaddle foray off the property.  While we were tacking up, I chatted more with CM and Dr. Finn about what could have caused P's cranky rib situation.  The more we chatted, the more I started thinking back to our last year and putting some pieces of the puzzle together.

The most likely cause of knocking everyone "out" would have been a big slip or fall where P could have had a pretty big trauma to her side.  Apparently this fall didn't need to be recent, it could have been when she was a baby, or a young horse.   As I stood there poking and prodding at Pia, eliciting grumpy faces and pinned ears when I curried her girth (such a familiar reaction), I realized that I first noticed her girthiness when we moved to our new barn last July.  This was after our two mylelograms and right after we canceled our Spinal Fusion surgery.  P had been out of work for a couple months and couped up in a stall so much that ulcers seemed like a really good explanation, and she seemed to respond really well to treating it as such.

Of course, now I'm wondering if it was ulcers at all (I didn't pay to have her scoped), because the uncomfortableness around her girth also showed up after our second myelogram, in which P seized during her recovery from the anesthesia and fell while being led back to her stall.  This is the fall that resulted in seriously skinning her poor knees, and lacerating her left hind pastern.  Yup, full collapsing fall, landing on her left side.


I hadn't put the two together, since about a month passed between her second myelogram/seizure/fall and moving to the new barn where we started working again.  Oh, and that fit she had while being fit for her new saddle?  That was my first time back on her again.. its no wonder that if her ribs were killing her she proceeded to have a conniption fit that stopped immediately when we pulled the tack off...

lightbulbs, lughtbulbs everywhere...

The more we talked, the more intrigued I became.  The ribs, the twitching itch... the uncomfortableness with leg pressure... the exceptional stiffness to the right (uh yeah.. locked solid ribs on the left..)... finally P started to compensate with her body.. holding herself in weird positions to alleviate pain, even doing her weird crossed front legs to stretch out that painful left side.

Finally, P's little brain had to explode resulting in her refusal to move, and finally the bucking/rearing fits that ultimately instigated our move to Summer Camp.

I hate not noticing things like this, but I guess I'm happy P finally got mad enough to get me to change something...

So, with slightly happier ribs, we tacked up and headed off site.  P was a gem.  She only got nervous about leaving her precious herd once or twice, but when she was on the trail she was great.  Not spooky, or slow.  Preferring to lead, but happy to follow and brave with water/mud/llamas and goats.

After about 90 minutes she did finally stop and refuse to move forward.  we chatted quickly and since we can't rule out pain as a contributing factor (she's not 100% on those ribs..) Cowboy Man opted to get off and lead P by hand for the rest of our trip.

Lots of information.  Lots to digest.  But it's so exciting (and horrifying) to be currently thinking that my issues with P were 80% pain and 20% attitude..

That gives us lots of room to improve...

Finally, some pics:
Road Trip Food

The Boy's new slabs of wood
Maisy: not quite a work dog...
Heading out... YAY P! (and Wendy's ears)
coming home on foot.. not a bad compromise for the day
kisses go here.


  1. She was telling everyone she hurt the best way she knew how - bless her little heart. So happy for you and P. Onward down the road to recovery. :)

  2. It's nice to know that P wasn't just freaking out to be a witch. I was seriously starting to question your sanity in continuing to ride her. I'm so glad they found something and it makes sense and you're working through it. Yay Gingham and Pia!!!

  3. Makes total sense, but don't beat yourself up. My thought process would have followed yours too, ulcers, saddle fit, attitude... I wouldn't have thought about her ribs. But I REALLY hope that if this problem is fixed you'll have a lovely horse back at the end of all this. I love that they work together to fix all the issues, body and mind. Such a good approach.

  4. That's fantastic!! I'm so glad it did turn out to be due to pain. Yeah sad that she was hurting all that time, but it's a better diagnoses than rogue mare. :) Most horses aren't nasty for no reason, especially out of the blue when they'd always been nice before. I'm so glad between all of you that you were able to work out the problem. :D


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