Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Raising the Bar

Sandy came out today to see how Louie looked since his lameness exam. She concluded, like me, that he looks quite a bit better, but is still just a little bit off, but improves significantly after a good long warm up. He only had one step today that looked very lame to her, and I felt it too, but I think it was more of a riding error (horse-human communication-steering-turning, etc) problem than actually a pain problem. And it didn't happen at all after that one step.

So we trotted him over 2 ground poles, spaced about 12 feet apart. He got 1 full stride between the poles, I think, and I think he hardly even noticed they were there. Sandy was a little suprised that he barely even picked up his feet to get over the poles, so she lifted one side of each pole onto the jump standard at the lowest setting, which raised the pole up off the ground about 5 inches in the center of the pole, about like in this picture, except with jump standards rather than blocks.

I trotted him over the raised up poles, and while he still could have cared less that they were there, he did have to pick up his feet a little higher this time to get over them. So that's what we're going to do, a little higher poles to trot over while riding. Then I'll start him with chains on all 4 feet when I long line him to encourage him to pick them up.

So, Sandy thought he looked about 95% better than he had (I think that's pretty generous, I'd say maybe 70%), and is pleased at how he's putting on weight and filling out his hind end. Tom, the old barn manager, was there to watch us today (and hold Sandy's mini that she brought along) and he was impressed with how loose Louie was through his shoulders. I think this has been improving since coming to Mel-o-dee and having nicer footing for him. All in all, he's coming along, but we've got a lot of hard work ahead of us and a lot of prayers for long-term soundness!

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