I'm scratching Dressage at DevonWood. I'm not going to enter any more shows this year. It remains to be seen if I ever enter a show again. I may not be able to take a hint, but I can recognize a 2x4 when it hits me – or rather, my horse.
First of all, we had a good time at Cowboy Campmeeting. We competed in a trail challenge competition there, and I was so proud of my boy. We had the second fastest time (no one could go faster than a trot or running walk; Lance beat several Tennessee Walking Horses) and finished tied for second place in total points! I was hoping to get some photos of that to share with you, but haven't seen anything yet.
We got home last Sunday evening, and I schooled Lance in the arena on Monday and Tuesday, followed by Wednesday and Thursday off.
So . . . this morning I headed down to ride Lance before the day heated up. I walked him through First Level Test 2 while warming up, noting that he tripped twice with a back foot. Hmm; he hasn't done that since Dr. Steward adjusted him. We started some 20m circles at the trot. Lance felt funny, so I sat the trot a few strides to better ascertain what I was feeling. Nothing was obvious, so I started posting again and continued.
When I asked for a tighter turn to the left, Lance took a couple of obviously gimpy steps. I stopped him, got off, and called my husband. Rick came home for lunch and checked Lance on the lunge line, but didn't think he was lame, just a little "hitchy" in the back end when transitioning into the trot from canter or (less so) the walk. I saw the "hitch" but also saw a few subtle head-bobbing steps here and there, and wasn't completely comfortable with Rick's recommendation to go ahead and ride. But by the end of the day, I had convinced myself that a nice, long walk about the hill might be just the thing for Lance. I saddled him up, put on his front boots, and headed down our lane. Walking along my neighbor's property bordering our road, Lance acted gimpy again. I thought maybe it was the hard, uneven ground. I rode him into another neighbor's level, shallowly tilled field and asked him for a trot on the left rein – and got obvious, head-bobbing lameness.
As we turned for home, I concentrated on what I was feeling and seeing. The pain was definitely in Lance's left front. Interestingly, he has long been much more reluctant to pick up his right front than any of the other feet, and sometimes tries to go down on his knee once I do pick it up. He did that this evening while I was getting ready for our walkabout. So even though this is the first time he's obviously favored it, I am suspicious that whatever hurts has been brewing for awhile.
When we got home I informed Rick that Lance was definitely lame now. He had me stay on and trot Lance up the driveway, then down the driveway. There was clear head-bobbing when traveling downhill. Next, Rick did a flexion test on the left front. When he told me to have Lance trot off, I got no response at first – then my horse managed to hobble two strides before he quit. I felt like a horrible "horse mom." :-(
Rick recently sold his old ultrasound machine along with his "leg" probe and ordered a new and better probe. It is supposed to get here on Monday; once he has it, Rick will do a thorough lameness work-up on Lance. Until then, I'll keep the horses in so Lance doesn't run around the pasture and do more damage to whatever is hurting him so.