Monday happened and he was fine. Not noticeably off at all but sulky, behind my leg and refusing to leave the ground instead opting to trot a 2′ pole awkwardly.
This is where I get frustrated that I don’t know him well yet. If that had been Gem I’d have known. But I thought he was being sulky and behind my leg like he can get when he doesn’t agree that work needs to be done. Plus it was after dinner and his friends went out without him. He was in week three of being ridden 2-3 times a week and had the weekend off. I thought he just wasn’t working well.
Tuesday evening Dusty does the chores as he gets home before me. I watched him walk Eeyore back out and asked if he looked off or was it just me. He thought he looked fine.
Wednesday he looked perfectly fine.
Thursday I went to WEG and missed both morning and afternoon chores (thanks Hubby!) so I didn’t get to see him.
Today was my first lesson in months. It only happened because both my surgeries canceled last minute and I had a free afternoon on my hands. With a sound horse and free time what better is there to do???
He loaded fine. He unloaded awful and scraped his left hind a bit but it was dry and fine in minutes. I lunged him to get him freed up and moving and he was sound and moving normal.
After we returned to tack up I palpate his left hind and he had no swelling and was not reactive. Got on and got started walking. Trainer was happy with my position and improvement in flowing elbows and seat. I still need to sit up taller and rock my shoulders back, but it is way better than before. She hadn’t seen him go in months and was pleased with how he was being and his response to my leg.
Then we trotted left and right going large and doing circles and everything was going ok. He was being a bit sassy and the neighbors were blaring music that captured his attention more than I did, so we gave a brief break and started doing more figures to keep his brain more engaged in the ride.
And that’s when I felt it. 15 minutes into the ride. Three legged lame on the front right. I stopped and slid off with my stomach in a knot. I picked up his hoof and inspected it. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Well, for him anyway. Lots of chips. The odd ski slope shape. A new bruise to the outside heel but he wasn’t reactive to me palpating it. No heat. No visible area of abscess.
I got back on. Left was normal. Right : three legged lame.
I’m not a crier. I’m usually pretty pragmatic in life but I admit to almost bursting into tears right there. The same crap as in August. Pasture sound at all gaits and playing with Pete. Sound at the walk. Dead lame on that front right at the trot. Odd that it started 15 minutes into the ride but it was very much there and likely it started way back on Monday when he refused to leave the ground.
I’ve texted my farrier to see about scheduling an emergency appointment for him to look at the hoof. It’s probably time for glue on shoes.
I’m worried though. I’m worried the shape of the hoof is so wonky that even shoes won’t help. I’m worried they won’t stay on. I’m worried that I keep blaming these bad feet when in reality there is some nagging soft tissue injury that heals just enough during his rest period and then flares when back in work.
I’m worried I bought a lame horse and my riding career is over for the foreseeable future because I can’t afford to have three retired horses and buy another to ride. And I wont sell him lame nor will I put him down just because I can’t ride him. So if he doesn’t come sound I’m screwed for hopefully many years as it would require the loss of Gem or Pete to get another and that isn’t allowed to happen for another decade.
Hopefully the farrier responds. That can be tricky sometimes. Hopefully he agrees he needs glue on shoes and can do it soon. Hopefully he comes sound with that and grows out his hoof beautifully and all this can be behind us and I won’t have to send frustrated, probably mildly depressing, texts to Emma about my lame horse being lame.