I long lined Louie this morning so I could watch from the ground to see how he was moving. . . and I was super impressed! He was moving so fluidly and evenly, I haven't seen him move that nicely in a long time! Even Sharon was impressed with how nicely he was moving. Must be feeling really good! Yay! So now the plan is to continue along with the strengthening program and my daily massages and if he gets short again, we'll plan another massage with Sharon.
After I got done long lining him, Louie was chewing at his bit excessively. Usually I just make him wear the bridle until he quits chewing when he does this- I go about my business, grooming, un-tacking, etc, and he gets to wear the bridle under his halter until he quiets down. Well today he was exceptionally active after his workout, and as I was massaging his hindquarters, I looked at him and noticed blood on his lips! I'll admit I had a slight freak out moment- I thought, oh great, probably another vet call. . . I can't imagine the bit would have cut him. . . So I opened his mouth and saw that the blood was coming from just above the right upper second incisor. I pressed on the tooth and it moved- ah! (didn't expect that). Then I did it again and it slid down, revealing some sort of tooth-like substance underneath the existing tooth. Well I thought, could he have fractured it or gotten kicked in the mouth (he is kept in his paddock next to a very mean, moody mare)? I had thought he was too old for this to be a baby tooth, but it turns out it was! Stephanie and Tom helped me hold him and yank the tooth out (it was already quite loose and causing obvious discomfort and bleeding). Out it came, with another permanent tooth right underneath it. He continued to bleed a little bit, but when I put him out in his paddock, he immediately went over to his hay and started munching on it (he wasn't eating this morning when I got him out coincidentally enough). So I took that as a good sign that if he's eating he must feel okay.
Later I did a little research and found out that this is totally normal, and the average age for a horse to lose the caps on the second incisors is 3.5-4 years, so he's right on time. Whew! I breathed a sigh of relief. And some more good news- the contralateral side is also loose- so it won't be long before we get to do this all over again. I'm starting a collection now for baby teeth (I know, freaky wierd packrat Mom thing, but I think it's kinda cool!). Here is a chart, courtesy of Wikipedia, with the common ages for tooth erruption- a good reference to have next time we lose a tooth!