Monday, July 31, 2023

what gives, eh?

I'm not gonna lie, this year has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Some really exciting moments like when Charlie felt the soundest he's been in years. And some really discouraging moments when.... That soundness proved to be exceedingly fragile.

the Sir himself <3
At one point, I actually wondered if we'd gotten to where Charlie couldn't hold up to steady work and training any more. 

saw his favorite practitioner!
Luckily (?), as is often the case, things aren't really as dim or dire or discouraging as they can feel in the moment. Turns out, Charlie is just plain old still recovering from that subsolar abscess that blasted a giant hole into his hoof. Goooo figure. 

gelding herds got rearranged and charlie adopted a new pony!! y'all remember Spirit, right?
It's also entirely possible that his new-to-him, but perfectly credentialed farrier (who keeps a number of horses at our farm in tip-top competition shape) just wasn't a great match either. I don't know enough about farriery to really say one way or another if the significant degradation in Charlie's hoof health over the last few months was just a natural byproduct of his extreme lameness (from the abscess), or if the farrier maybe made a few unfortunate choices. 

loving his pony. NOT loving his constant parked out posture :'(
Regardless, we changed farriers. The horse was consistently uncomfortable, with considerable compensation in his overall posture. Plus he wasn't keeping his shoes tied. 

all in all, a much happier herd life tho -- recognize Punky up front??
Again... Could just be the natural progression of being out of work and very very lame anyway... But, eh, it was a variable I could isolate, so we went with it. And ya know what? The horse started getting more comfortable again. 

ooooooh, look who arrived special-delivery style in a friend's trailer to meet me at Shawan??
It's an ebb and flow, tho. Like, he gets sore right after a shoeing. But then gets better, then sore again at the shoeing. In my opinion, I'm not particularly interested in seeing if he'll hold up to work when he can't even hold up to a shoeing. So.... We don't work. 

charlie took his job as baby sitter very very seriously
BUT! During the parts of the shoeing cycle when he's comfortable??? Well.... who doesn't love going on some walkies, amirite??? Obvi we missed doing any schooling at the iconic Shawan Downs during their event weeks this year (bc lame), but I leapt at the opportunity to have a friend bring Charlie along on her trailer so we could babysit her schooling session on young thang Rosette!

he understood his assignment was basically to sit and wait at each fence. tho the big boy volunteered a lovely (and SOUND OMG) trot on the way back to the trailers, yippee!
It was a simple ride, but honestly a real highlight from the last few months. I love Shawan, obvi, but more importantly.... Just love going places and doing things (even walking things) with this big sweet goof of a gelding <3  

new farrier in action, plus obvi dog
Anyway, tho, the new farrier very strongly encouraged me to take fresh x-rays so we could better understand what's up inside. Fortunately or unfortunately, the rads were basically unremarkable.

meanwhile, i've been getting my fix volunteering --- including snagging epic video of Loch Moy's inaugural 4*. watch the full replay here!
His angles are not perfect right now, and he's got a shit ton of toe. His heels got a bit contracted too.... But the balance is ok, and he is not, in fact, mechanically foundering in that RF support limb that's had to compensate for the LF lameness so much. So... yay?

and we started rides best described as "active sits" <3 <3 <3
We got the message loud and clear all the same. Until this cycle of soreness is fully resolved, Charlie must not be allowed to get so sore again that he's either close to or not weight bearing on his LF, bc that RF has taken too much stress already.

like, actively sitting and watching the new sheepies!
So, go figure, Charlie threw that LF shoe toward the end of his last cycle lol.... Lolololsob....

but then he lost that shoe again.... and ugh, there's STILL A HOLE wtf. and just a generally less healthy foot overall than 8 months ago....
And naturally it was a few days before the shoe could get replaced. But I actually see a few silver linings from the episode: We kept him stalled except for brief forays into the paddocks for rolling, and a little hand grazing etc, and he rewarded us by never getting more meaningfully sore than you'd expect a TB missing a front shoe to get. 

so no shows for charlie, but we can still go places with friends!! virtual cookies to anybody who recognizes this arena
Plus, his soreness didn't really change even after getting trimmed and hammered etc when the shoe was replaced. Progress!

meanwhile, michael <3
Tho, obvi, he twisted another shoe almost immediately lol. Ugh... New farrier had even tried tightening all the clinchers and everything since he was allllmost due, but to no avail.

charles was kept to strict confinement until that shoe could be replaced. except for occasional mud wallows, obvi
Ya see, Charlie has this lovely habit of basically stepping on his own self behind, literally resting one hind hoof on the other. And in this way, over the course of a shoeing cycle, he eventually wears down the clinchers until the shoe gets loose and twists. Wherein, naturally, he usually ends up stepping on the clip lol.

and limited grazing in the lanes between paddocks
Not gonna lie, I wasn't sure I'd be able to get the freshly tightened, but now twisted, shoe off with my decidedly amateur shoe-pulling skills. We got it done, tho, and Charlie was no worse for the wear. 

and obvi he immediately twisted another shoe after the first was replaced (and, natch, after new farrier tightened the clinchers on all the rest). i got it off tho, yay me
He got his last trim about a week ago, and was only verrrry mildly (but still perceptible to me) lame at the walk after. Sound enough to be able to go out, thankfully. And interestingly, was off on the RF instead of the LF. I'm choosing to see that as a good thing. Dunno why, it just feels like change is good?

at least that one was just a hind shoe, tho, so no confinement necessary. make better choices, charlie!
And he's getting sounder by the day, sooner after each trim. And HYPER, omg. He's still getting his equiox, and the horse honestly looks really good, except for the whole "lame at the walk" thing. Like, he looks bored and feisty and ready to RUN. And he's being a serious pest in the barn. Classic eager Charlie, ya know? 

and so off we go to ever more fun adventures, but just as ground person / cheerleader / etc while my friends do epic Fair Hill Derby things.....
So obviously I'm disappointed and discouraged that we're still not really doing anything. And to be honest, my interest in writing posts about a lame horse is.... zero. How much more can I really write about this subject anyway??? 

we'll see YOU in october!!!
But I have been doing a lot of thinking. Thinking about where I am in my riding, my development and education and progress at a personal level. Thinking about where Charlie is in his training, in his interests and abilities. And I honestly believe he WANTS to do more. 

thus bringing us up to date with yesterday's return to actively sitting on my horse, this time visiting the shetlands <3
He felt really sound for our most recent outing last night --- only his second ride since getting shod just over a week ago. We trotted omg! And omg we cantered! Just briefly, just out in the fields. But it was bliss. He's hot and spooky and hair-trigger sensitive right now and I LOVE it! 

So. Lots of thinking has been happening. Maybe some planning, bc y'all know I can't help myself. And I think I've settled on a mutually beneficial path forward, that may or may not prompt a bit more activity here on Ye Olde Blogge. So ya know. Stay tuned ;)