The horse will leap over trenches, will jump out of them, will do anything else, provided one grants him praise and respite after his accomplishment. ~Xenophon
I assume you all have heard of the wise quotes of famous (horse) people. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of them and they should work as a kind of sticky note for all the less knowledgeable horse people out there. Something short and rememberable that should pop up in our minds and help us go through the hard times, as well as to help us to recognize and appreciate the happy times.
The quote from Xenophon is a very difficult one for me.
For one is sais, that as long as you train your horse correctly, establish a deep bond, your horse will do literally anything for you. Which is a beautiful thing. A 1000lbs animal chooses to do things for YOU, the only thing it asks for in return is, food, care…
…praise and respite after his accomplishment.
On the other hand, the quote carries another meaning. For me at least it does. Because it also means, that if you have achieved such a strong bond with your horse, you have to make sure that you do not ask too much of your horse, because it will willingly do whatever asked.
After this summer I am a little insecure on the depth of the relationship between Barley and me.
Do we have such a deep bond that he does things for me, even though he might be in pain? Almost the whole summer, I was not sure if Barley was in pain, if there was a problem or if I was seeing ghosts.
I have had the feeling for quite some time, after he had done a full stop in the indoor arena from a gallop (not intended!), that there was a problem in the front, but couldn’t get it sorted out. That was in June.
My DOH took this video of us in August, three days before we headed to the equine clinic to sort out, if there is a problem or not. At that point, I was convinced that they will just tell us, that everything is fine and that I had been worried for nothing.
During the ride I felt nothing irregular, he was positive, happy, blowing out a lot, licking his lips, going forward with huge strides. I really thought, he was completely fine! But there were this moments where a thought popped up in my head anyway…
…or is he just doing it because I ask him to?
In July our vet, our equine therapist, our equine specialist Sven, all had a go at him, but somehow I was not convinced at that time. I am painfully aware of the fact, that I know nothing about “horses”, but there was just this feeling in the pit of my stomach that my horse didn’t feel well. It was a constant forth and back, is he ok, is he not ok??
What all had in common was the statement, that there is something, but he is not really reacting “enough” or even a little controversial and that they can’t say with certainty “…what is the hen and what is the egg.” When he got the treatment from our equine therapist, she said that she felt a lot of tense muscles and that he is stiff, but instead of really showing where he felt discomfort, he rather starting yawning and fell half asleep during treatment. My thoughts…
Awesome, way to go buddy! How the hay can anybody help when you don’t tell them where it hurts?
I booked the appointment at the equine clinic, had to postpone it, because Barley had the injury on his hind leg. At last the day came and we took x-rays. The exam took actually 4 hours. Flexion tests were done, he got his knees anesthetized and the right front fetlock, just to be 100% what is an issue and what not. The outcome was that the kick on the hip he had received during the first night out with his pasture buddies was still not healed. X-ray of the hipbone showed that the bone was fine, was the muscle attachments around the hip bone were still sore, so he must have tried to relief the pain by putting more pressure on the right front leg, which caused an inflammation in the proximal sesamoid bone.
Sesamoid bone…..well, turns out that those little bones I had no clue of, are the most important bones in a horses leg. Apparently they carry all the weight of the horse during the weight-bearing phase. Found that information on this page, in case you are interested:
According to the vet, the small pixels on the x-ray picture are an indication of an inflammation, whilst the lines show how it should look like.
We got a prescription for “bute”, to be administered over ten days, three weeks of rest (short walks) and a re-visit after those three weeks.
That re-visit we had this Wednesday and I am (so, so, so, so) happy to report, that he did not show any signs of soreness or pain, neither in the hip nor the fetlock!
Now that Barley is fit again, we will take it very slow, our next goal is to be able to ride a 45 minutes lesson for our trainer in two months time. No rush :-D. Because I know, that he would try, very hard, even if he wouldn’t be ready for it.
I still don’t have the answer on what was the hen and what was the egg, but quite honestly, now that I got rid of them damn chickens, I don’t care any longer. The most important thing is that he is not in pain any longer and that somehow, I hope I was at least half right with my intuition.
When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours, and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your spine…you know you are loved.~ John Lyons
Y’all have a wonderful weekend!
Barley and I