Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Quiet, Fun Ride

Had a really good ride yesterday. It was 38 degrees, and still - perfect weather (for winter....!) but the forecast for the rest of the week is COLD, cold, cold! Like, lows in the single digits. So, I was committed to getting to ride last night.

Arabee was relaxed, we were doing great at riding on the loose rein. She's getting more comfortable in her increased territory, and over this week if it's really cold like they're saying I am hoping to take her on walks (in hand) to other new areas. I seem to stay warmer if I am walking vs. riding, probably because I feel like I can layer more clothes on, I hate trying to get on (and stay on) with a thousand layers of clothes, plus the carhartt insulated overalls I wear just are a bit too slick in the saddle! I love my suede chaps for that! Nice and "sticky" :-)

We did quite a bit of trotting, I am estimating we did a little less than 1/2 mile of trotting. From west fenceline to the road the barn lot's driveway is 1/10th of a mile, and we did that several times. Once we get a pretty large "comfort zone" we will have to work on figuring exact mileage. (thanks for the idea of using the 4-wheeler for that, Jacke!) Matt will really enjoy helping with that part! She finally got a little bit winded, but I was very pleased with her trot.

One area of concern I have: She was doing this weird hind end "tripping" thing....almost like one of her hind legs was giving out. Since I was on I couldn't see what she was doing, but it was like she maybe wasn't picking her hind legs up high enough and was scuffing them on the gravel? Is this what it feels like when a horse interferes? It was dark by the time we were finished, so I will check her legs very closely for scratches or nicks in the hair, but I could tell she wasn't bleeding at least last night. Maybe she was tired from the increased trotting....but I will keep a close watch and hope it goes away! Maybe a good thing for the cold weather to give her a couple of days off. She did have Sunday off though, so it's not been constant training for her, and really most all of our training is at a walk, we're just starting to add the trot.


Anonymous said...

I'm just guessing, but maybe her feet hurt on the gravel and that's why she was doing that. If she's barefoot and hasn't been rode much in a while she's probably tender footed. My horses don't hardly ever interfere but when/if they ever had it's usually when they are very tired or going down a really steep hill, really bad footing, etc.

Nicole said...

That may be it. Perhaps I will have to check out hoof boots . . . .

She also was getting tired you could tell, but it wasn't like she was too worn out I don't think. Maybe a combination.

Endurance Granny said...


I know exactly what you are talking about...it feels like the hind end drops out from under you suddenly? Phebes was doing that when I first started her under saddle. I was beginning to fear a back problem with her, but as her condition improved the mysterious rear leg thing has gone away.
It has been pretty wet, you might check her hind legs for what is called scratches or mud fever, a scaly thing on the back aspect, below the fetlock, but above the hoof. Phebes had those at one point and I like to never got that cleared up. It will make them seem lame as it is very painful. A stone bruise could do it too.

Nicole said...

Scratches/mud fever could cause this!? She has had those off and on for 2 years probably. The vet gave us this sulfer lime dip to mix up and pour on her legs 2x/day....but it never seemed to improve. It only seemed to bother her when I touched her legs where the little scabby things were.

What is a good treatment for this?

I'm glad to hear that with your horse this went away with time and conditioning! But, I will need to deal with this skin thing.

Anonymous said...


Sorry so late on this one. Yes, the mud fever can really cause issues. A friend of mine got pulled from a ride in the fall, and that was exactly the lameness issue. It is tough to clear up, but you definitely have to address it. It is also very painful to remove the scabby stuff, but necessary in order to get the medicine to the source of the problem. Here's what I did EVERY DAY until it was clean and pink and let me stress it took about six weeks...

You know the green soft scrubby pads for the kitchen? They have them at the dollar stores in a pack for a couple bucks? You'll need some of those. Also an old broom or mop handle that is wood, and a roll of duct tape. I'd wrap one of these green scrubby pads over the end of the sawed off broom handle (I guess mine is about hip high after it was sawed off). I'd mix up some mild iodine wash and dip the scrubby end of my stick in it, and gently work at those scabs, letting the iodine wash soak for a little while, then I'd rinse. Then I'd use my vet preparation on the squeezed out best you can pad, and put a big dollop on there and reach with the handle to treat the affected skin area. This all sounds harder than it is. I got really good with that broom handle. It will take a number of sessions to get that scab softened up, and finally gone. If your mare hasn't been desensitized be sure and get her used to the stick first, and give her some treats for letting you touch all areas of her body prior to using it to treat her skin.

This ailment is called "scratches" and "mud fever" and it can spread up the leg and be really nasty. Very painful for the horse, especially if it is in that bendy pastern area.

Phebes has had it twice now, always in the mid to late summer. Some claim it is a fungus, a bacterial infection, others say it is an autoimmune response to something.

I'm trying to remember the compound we used to clear it up. The iodine wash first, and I think it was a tube of antibiotic ointment, a tube of antifungal cream, a tube of steroid cream, all mixed together in a container. The thought being to address all possible causes: bacterial, fungal, and the inflammation. You'd want to check treatment out with your vet though, as I'm running off memory and when you are over 50 sometimes you forget stuff!