To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

He will dance no more

Last night Rick examined Russell thoroughly with digital x-ray and ultrasound. I was praying that he would be able to provide a clear diagnosis, and while my prayers were answered, the answer was devastating. Somehow, in his stall/paddock, Russell managed to tear his left rear suspensory ligament so severely that it pulled a 1.7-cm chunk off his cannon bone; Rick said he's never seen a lesion that bad before. Russell's days as an athlete and my dancing partner are over; with treatment and time he may heal enough for gentle trail riding. I am typing through my tears.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I'm less than two weeks out from my first show in nearly two years, and Russell is lame. I rode him yesterday, and noticed that he was off then. Since I can find no heat or swelling anywhere on the leg and he was just trimmed and reshod on Friday, a hot nail in that left rear shoe seemed the logical culprit - especially since that foot is warmer than the right. Good; easy fix! Except that when Rick used the hoof testers this morning to figure out which nail to pull, he came up with nothing. Rick had to go to work, Russell is more lame than he was yesterday, and today is the only dry day in the forecast (we could get 6" of snow or more this Wednesday and Thursday!). This is not looking good; not good at all.

ETA: Rick was able to come home over the noon hour to do more of a lameness evaluation. After watching Russell move and doing a flexion test, followed by palpation, the problem is definitely in the hock area and not in the foot. We'll have to wait until tonight to do ultrasound and/or x-rays. All I know is that in the nearly eight years I've owned him, Russell has never been this lame. :-(

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's been a wet week until today. I managed to get in a ride Sunday night after chores when the rain stopped for awhile, and then got in ride #2 for the week this afternoon. The sand in the arena is pretty sloppy, and Russell doesn't like that, but "oh well."

Russell's blaze is shedding; it's always the first area to start. After grooming his face, I decided to take a photo of his forehead whorls. I know some people put great stock in "reading" a horse's whorls; me, I just enjoy them - along with all the other little things that make each horse unique!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Channeling James Brown

"I feel good!"

A week ago tonight I tripped and landed on my side against the tractor hitch while showing someone what to do for weekend chores. I had just mailed off my show entry, and wondered if my injury (instead of Russell's for a change) would keep us from showing this time! We spent the weekend at a church snow camp, sleeping on summer camp bunks in sleeping bags, and my ribs were so uncomfortable I was sure I'd cracked one or two. When we got back Sunday I saddled up Russell just to see if I could, and managed to ride awhile at the walk and rising trot with tolerable discomfort; canter and sitting trot were definitely out. But Monday morning, after a night in my own comfy bed, I awoke feeling considerably better, so I decided to wait and see before bowing out of the show. I rode again Tuesday, and was able to canter. I rode tonight, and was able to sit the trot! Not only that, Russell felt good tonight and really good Tuesday, "uphill" and forward. So James Brown is grooving on my mental record player (yes, I'm that old) while we dance: "We feel good!"

Friday, February 4, 2011

Do you see what I see?

Yesterday while I was readying Russell for a ride, he was watching something intently. (ACK! Had a beautiful photo of him staring off into the distance and didn't save it from my camera card!)

I don't think he was admiring the subtle evening colors or the neighbor's house - but what is that dark shape low in the photo?

Ah-ha! Meadow rats.

Our ride started out rather rough but got better when I realized he needed more support from my right thigh/leg. I know he has physical issues to deal with, but much of the time the difficulties we face are caused by what I'm doing or not doing. It's usually us riders, isn't it? :-)