What we have discovered about Dickie is that he's an overall agreeable guy. It would be easy to chalk it up to have Appytude but when we listen it generally turns out sometimes this bothering him. When he was just a wee 2yo he would seem pissfied but is was usually after a growth spurt or I put an offensive texture on him (boots, fuzzy pad). I have also discovered that if his pee pee is grungy he doesn't like to move forward and will rub his tail or stomp his feet like a baby. In some ways he is tough (strong feet, crashes through water). In many ways though he is a total princess and the pea horse. I know horses need to tolerate a certain amount of discomfort. By discomfort I mean carrying a rider, the feel of water dripping on his legs (thinks that's torture), when the fleece half pad hangs over the back of my saddle pad, the vibration of clippers, etc...... When you have a sensitive horse it is a fine line between catering to their whims and disregarding a brewing problem.
|Head over heels pissy pants.|
When he had a really bad attitude it was his tummy. We added hind shoes and it made a world of difference. Once all that was fixed we were left with a mostly happy to move forward horse that still kicks out to the right. Mostly on corners when being asked to move forward and mostly just to the right. So rather than just assume it's appytude and get after him we decided to consult the vet. He's not lame but why not get input now rather than wait until there is an actual injury. Trainer suspected stifles.
Wednesday he had the hardest session so far. We didn't kill him or anything but we asked more of him than usual. The next day I didn't work him long but we did more turning than usual. We went through several dressage tests. We worked on centerlines which requires fairly tight turns for baby horse. Friday the vet came out to give input. Trainer and I described our issues and she walked right up to him pointed at the right stifle without even seeing him move. I felt kind of stupid that she zeroes in on it so quickly. She watched him walk down the aisle then WTC on the long. The verdict is loose stifles, more so on the right. She had me hold my hand over his stifle so I could feel it as he moved. He actually seemed a teensy bit off when he first started out (first time that has happened) but only for a few strides. She pointed out the muscles we wants to see get bigger. Trainer heard everything and didn't seem worried, it was actually what she suspected. Vet said to give him a few weeks off from cantering but keep at it with the trotting. Lots of cavalettis, hill work, avoid tight turns, trail riding, lots of turn out, steady work (minimize days off). All of that sounds good to me.
I am trying not to worry (I still am though). It seems like it's fairly common in youngsters. She said they have more problems during growth spurts. That fits because I've always noticed the throws more tantrums on the lunge just after he has grown. I get paranoid though because I went through so much with Bre. I remember what a talented young horse she was. She was everything. I still wonder if someone had listened to her instead of just pushing her maybe she would be sound today.
Nice little article on stifles.