Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Crow Hopping Chronicles: Update

First off, thanks so much for the great suggestions and support! Much appreciated!

We started our lesson with K this afternoon on the lunge. The minute I asked him to canter, he started up with the crow hopping. When I brought him back to the walk, K immediately said, "I'm not a vet, but there is definitely something going on in his hind end." I reversed Kwik and then asked him to trot and canter in the other direction which lead to more crow-hopping. K said it almost looks like there might be something neurological going on (fantastic... that does not sound good). Apparently it looks like he's having trouble figuring out his back end. She had some great suggestions, and I think I'm going to have him evaluated by a lameness specialist in my area.

Knowing he may really have something going on is terrifying, but I'm happy to have a plan. Hopefully I'll know more soon. Thank goodness work is busy right now- I need something to take my mind off of all of this for a hot minute.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Step 4: Tough Love?

Well, my vet didn't find anything major on Friday that she immediately thought could explain Kwik's crow hopping. His poll was stuck and his left SI was out, but she said that's all pretty typical stuff. I'm to give him three weeks, and if he doesn't improve, she wants to x-ray his feet to see if there is anything going on there.

I gave him the day off and lunged him on Sunday. This did not go well. As I was warming him up at the walk, he suddenly dropped down and attempted to roll. I couldn't believe my eyes, but I got him up immediately before he could roll over onto my saddle and put his ass straight to work. I can x-ray every part of his body, but it will be a waste of money if this is an attitude thing. He clearly isn't taking me seriously, and at this point, I think he's just being a snot. We did lots of transitions, and once he was good and warmed up, I asked him to canter. He jumped around like an idiot, putting on an impressive show for the dressage instructor giving a lesson in the grass arena. Thanks buddy. It was pretty hot, so once I got him to canter around politely for a few laps, I got on and we went for a cool down trail ride where he proceeded to be an angel.

I think it's time to cowgirl up and see if we can't work through this. The problem is that I've come off a handful of times trying to work through this and 1) it's scary  2) it hurts to fall like that and 3) I don't really know how. We need to be working consistently with a trainer- I need help figuring out if this is a pain thing or an attitude thing. There is a trainer that teaches at my farm ever Wednesday, and I sent her an email explaining our little situation. She was super nice and agreed to meet us for a private lesson tomorrow. We're going to start him off on the lunge line and go from there. Am I making the right call here? 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Too. Much. Information.


Warning: this post is mostly me trying to organize my thoughts about how to best solve the mystery of Kwik's crow hopping before I make myself crazy!

I've been scouring COTH and various other forums looking for possible causes of Kwik's trot-canter crow hopping. Obviously back pain from a saddle that doesn't fit seemed to be the first thing to address. After my fitter OK'd the fit of both saddles (Step 1), I was comfortable ruling that out. My vet says crow hopping can be related to soreness in the hocks or stifles so I attempted to address this next with a lameness evaluation, hock injections, Pentosan, and back shoes (Step 2). While Kwik feels great at the trot and he's quite comfortable on the trails now, he's still crow hopping during the trot-canter transition on the longe line. I haven't tried asking under saddle for obvious reasons.  Girth pain was another term I saw frequently in relation to crow hopping/bucking at the trot-canter transition. Kwik has been somewhat girthy of late, and I'm starting to wonder if he has something going on that may be causing him pain in that department. It seems like a multi-faceted approach is necessary to address girth pain:  chiropractic adjustment, experimenting with different girths, and work on the longe that encourages stretching of the topline muscles, etc.

So now I'm on to Step 3. My vet is scheduled to come out to adjust him tomorrow. I'm nervous- I realllllly hope we can get to the bottom of this because I'm starting to worry we'll never figure out what's going on...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Where Have All the Drugs Gone?

Okay that sounds bad, but seriously, where have they gone?!? I put Kwik on Pentosan for several reasons:

1. My vet uses it A LOT and has had A LOT of success with it

2. It's cheaper than Adequan

3. Adequan's manufacturing facility is closed for renovations to address FDA observations (what exactly did the FDA observe?!?!) and to meet enhanced quality standards. This means there is an Adequan shortage and I couldn't get it right now even if I wanted it.

I called my vet's office to pay my bill and asked about ordering another bottle of Pentosan since I'm about 2 doses away from empty, and apparently there is now a Pentosan shortage as well. I'm thinking many people couldn't get their Adequan and decided to switch over to Pentosan. I'm waiting to hear more about this new shortage from my vet, but if I can't get Pentosan (which really seems to be working for Kwik), I'll have to think about trying something else in the meantime. Sigh..

It's good to be back home. Adam and I had a really good time in Florida, but I was ready by the end to get back to my puppies and my pony! I imagined a glorious reunion, but Kwik was eating dinner when I arrived and nothing would divert his attention. I decided to put him on the longe just in case he was a wild child after his 10 day vacay, but it was hot and he was lazy. I did manage to get him to trot a few circles with some energy, and then I asked him to canter. He crow hopped for a few strides, cantered normally for a few strides, and then broke to a trot. Same deal the other direction. Son of a B! While I didn't think the hock injections, Pentosan, and time off would magically cure him, I was hoping to see some improvement at the canter. I have a few thoughts on this:

1. He hadn't been worked for 10 days- don't worry about it.

2. He's been overcompensating for his ouchy hocks and has somehow jacked up his back as a result. Maybe he's due for a chiro sesh.

3. He's still not balanced enough and doesn't have the proper muscling for canter work (although he was going great at the canter in April/May...). More work on the ground on the longe and in side reins to develop balance and muscle will help him figure himself out at the canter.

4. Maybe a combination of all of the above?

I just don't know! On the bright side, he was great on our little trail ride yesterday!

Cantering is hard!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gulfstream Park

Seems like everyone's been dealing with non-stop rain this past week, and it was no different in the ATL. Kwik and I had to get creative about when and where we rode, but I ended up having two really great rides. I wasn't sure we would get a ride in on Wednesday, but the rain stopped right as I finished tacking Kwik up, and we did some stretchy walk and trot work in the grass arena. I got bored with that and decided to see how Kwik would do trotting in the field right outside of the barn/arena (we've never done this before). I didn't even have the running martingale on, but he was really tuned in and I didn't think we would have any problems. He was awesome, and it was SO MUCH FUN trotting up and down all of the hills. He's really starting to use his bum up and down hills as opposed to barreling up and down thanks to all the trail riding we've been doing lately. He felt great (I think the hock injections and Pentosan are really working!), and I could tell he was having fun as well! I went out early Fourth of July Thursday to beat the rain. I really wanted to go on a trail ride, but I was the only one out at the time. So we went anyway- just me and Kwik :). We ambled down a short trail close to the barn and then headed back up Three Lakes Road. Kwik was definitely a little more aware of his surroundings than usual, but I sat back and enjoyed the ride and he settled in and did the same. When we reached the barn, it started to drizzle. I decided a little rain wouldn't hurt us, and we did our hill work in the field again. It was even more fun in the rain! I'm thinking we may be able to try a little trotting on the xc course in the very near future!

Kwik will have this week off since I'm in Fort Lauderdale on vacation until Sunday! Adam and I bummed around the beach on Saturday, and we went to Gulfstream Park on Sunday. It's a beautiful park- lots of palm trees! When we walked out to the track, I couldn't help smiling knowing Kwik had raced and won there in his first life! Adam taught me how to read the program and explained the betting. The betting is still a little confusing to me, but I had fun learning, and with a little more practice, I think I could get the hang of it. I bet on the first couple of races, but afterwards, I enjoyed watching the parade before each race's call to post. I couldn't get over how small these guys and gals are! There were eight races that day, and most of them were for three, four, and five year-olds. You could tell they still have some growing up to do- Kwik looks like a giant compared to these babies! I was also on a mission to speak with the track photographer, and after one of the races, she walked right past me. I approached her and explained that I owned an OTTB that raced at Gulfstream in 2007 and would like to purchase some winner's circle photos. She was extremely nice and offered to meet me back at the rail after the next race so she could grab the phone number for the photographer that year. Sure enough, after the next race, she found me and I copied the number into my program. I'll give him a call when I get home- we'll see what we can find out!

We really need to work on our selfies!

Start gate

I was in love with this pony horse the entire day! He was so cool, calm, and collected!


Parade ring

Saddling paddock. Adam swore up and down we were allowed back there, so we took a stroll. Not only are you not allowed back there if you aren't a trainer or owner, you can't bring drinks either. Whoopsie.