Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Button braids

My one copy of The Whip magazine had very good tutorial on doing button braids. I am trying to find the time to give them a try. I know they are all the rage in the dressage world and the driving world too. If I can manage to pull it off over the weekend, I will get some photos and post it all here.

Friday, September 14, 2012


For Kat having popped a splint- he has not shown any signs of soreness, heat, swelling or really anything. Which still confuses me as to how he did it, but it is what it is and goes to show, you can do everything in your knowledge and power to prevent things, yet sometimes they. still. just. happen.

In light of all of this, (or maybe in spite of) getting Kat in shape has been going strong as ever. He is moving forward in such a Bold frame, elevated, moving uphill, walking with freedom in his movement and a looseness in his shoulders... Working him- I am just in awe of my pony.  I may be a bit barn blind, prejudice in my loving my pony, whatever anyone wants to call it- yep. I am.

His workout on Saturday left me holding my breath at times and gasping at others. He was trotting boldly into the water and seemed to be walking on it at times. He left me with a 'Kodak Moment' image burned in my brain that still just amazes me.  I wish I had a photo of his movement as it blows me away.

He was moving much like this photo, only much more forward, very bold and with a lot more THRUST.

This photo from the post Progress in progress 2 years ago when I posted the epic shot of him in long lines. I remember seeing that pic come up on the screen for a quick preview after I took it and thinking Wow. I have to go back and look at that one again later.  Kat has come a long way and I am waiting to see how far we go from here. If he looked this good two years ago, just starting out, is hitting this now with much more consistency and keeps getting better as we go- I can only imagine where he will go with a bit more time and work. I will try to get photos all along for everyone to enjoy the ride with us.

Friday, September 7, 2012


We examined the area, felt it, worked him and watched Kat go around and around both directions on the lunge line at the walk, trot and canter. Again, no heat, no swelling, no signs of soreness, no lameness, nope, nadda, nothing and a lot of WTH?

I have always been super careful of the lower legs because of everything in the big barns with the halter trainers. Super. careful. All. the. time.  I am now looking into whether or not splints in driving horses are more common.  When you consider the work load- it could be a likely possibility. *I will elaborate more on this in another post.*

Bottom line- Kat did pop the splint. It happens. It is a hard little knot about the size of a pea, only slightly noticeable when looking at him from the front, but still there. You can feel it when you run your hand down his leg, which is how I found it to begin with.  The only way he could have done it was to injur himself somehow in the stall. Otherwise, he did not have it the last time I had worked him or I would have felt it while running my hand down his leg after removing his boot or polo wrap. How it got hard so quick? It could have been a 'blind splint' for a while, just not causing him any pain, or presenting any heat and associated inflamation. 

From another article I found on The Horse dot com, Recurring Splints, What's a Splint and Young horses in training and injury risks  (these articles come up in full to read), it seems the lower injury is more common in older horses than the splint occurring higher up, like Kat's. From past experience of treating the splint on the young filly, sweating it out, blistering and a few other treatments are common, but mostly all of them recommend time off to rest and heal. I may wrap his leg to sweat it some and try to reduce the size of the splint, but I am not a fan of blistering, pin firing or any of the other stuff. Why cause pain on the outside to treat the inside, then give them the recommended rest anyways? It doesn't make sense to me.

Where Kat is not presenting any pain or soreness, I can keep working him, but I will be keeping a close eye on him, his movement and will stop immediately if he is hurting. "No pain, no gain" can take a flying leap off a short cliff here. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pop goes the what?

Last night when I was getting Kat out and ready to drive, I ran my hand down his leg as the signal to lift his hoof so I could clean it out. Right below his right knee on the inside of his leg was a hard lump. It is not very big, but it is there.  It almost feels like splint, but things are not adding up. 

He seemed like he may be a little off or even gimpy on that leg in Paulden, but lunging him he worked hard and looked fine. I worked him last weekend and again, he looked fine, moved fine and when I was grooming him before harnessing up, there was nothing there. Now all of a sudden it IS there. But then there is no heat, he is not sore or off and the thing is rock hard.

I remember treating a splint on a young horse- long ago, far away, waaaay back in the day some 20 odd years ago.  It was a weanling or yearling filly that was destined to be a halter horse. The area was shaved and twice a day I was to use a toothbrush and scrub a mixture of DMSO and furazone onto the splint. I don't remember wrapping it, but you can wrap it with plastic wrap and a stall bandage to sweat it out.  Mainly you are trying to reduce any and all inflamation in the ligament between the small bone running down alongside the cannon bone. These used to be the horses other toes when they were Euohippus and the size of a dog.

More information here- Basic splint article or for more in depth look at things- This article from The Horse dot com. Equine Splints: Causes and Cures Sure you have to sign up to read the whole article, but what is there to lose? 

Mostly though, it happens more commonly in horses under the age of 4, in heavy work, unprotected legs or working too hard on hard ground. None of which is anything that applies to Kat. Also splints are usually soft at the beginning as they are swollen or inflammed- again, this doesn't seem to apply.

Compare the splint on the buckskin and the chestnut. (I won't even go into any of the other things I see wrong here... Maybe later?)

Coming from barns with BNT's and dealing mostly with halter horses and young horses, I learned early on- ALWAYS wrap the legs. Splint boots were a MUST for pretty much everything and this was long before the SMB's and all the pro-tech rage swept in. GAWD Forbid a horse popped a splint because their days as a halter horse were pretty much Done! Judges look for 'clean', correct legs. 

Even our old horses, even for trailering, I have been known to throw on splint boots if nothing else was available. My thought was and still is- Something is better than nothing. In the case of our older mares- if it hasn't happened before now, if it happens now- the boot is not going to do much at this point. It is only going to hold things together if it should all go horribly wrong. 

Which leads us back to Kat.
-I have always used boots, polos or something to wrap his legs with. Check.
-He is now 13 years old- well above the age of being a young horse with still growing/forming bones. Check.
-I always run my hand down his legs and rub them before and after applying or removing any leg wraps or boots. Check.
-His legs were 'clean' the last time I worked him. Check!
-When I found the knot last night, I checked for heat, swelling, soreness- nothing, nothing, nothing. Check, check, check.
-It also was not soft as swelling or inflamtion generally is. Check.
-I worked him last night and he was not lame, sore or off at all. If he was, I would not have worked him, period. Check and check.
-I haven't been working him much at all lately, he has had the whole summer off for the most part so no overworking there. Check.
-Hard ground? Um, no! Not good for the legs and feet. If I am going through everything else so thoroughly, why screw up on this? Check.

Which leads me to the question of WTF?

Yes his feet are a touch long and need to be done, but he is not over reaching at the trot which is usually a good indicator for him that he is or is coming due, but he has been long before and over reaching and no issues to date....

The only other thing I can think of is one of the articles mention it being a bone in the lower portion of the knee being chipped or broken. But then again- there would be soreness, heat, likely swelling which would be soft or at least softer... and none of this is present.

I was going to start working him to bring him back into shape for the CDE in Sonoita next month and to also fix some of the things that have gone wrong by letting him have so much time off.. Right now, it is all on hold and shaky ground. I will not take him if he is lame or if things could really blow up and get horribly worse.  I won't ruin him for the sake of the game and a ribbon. 

I am going to have a look at him tonight and hubs will be looking closely at his legs too. If we are still at the point where nothing makes sense, I will be scheduling an appointment with our vet who specializes in lameness. If anybody knows- he will!