Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Imperfect communication

Today I had a lesson on Panama. Right off the bat I noticed something was off. At first I thought I was riding funny (well, actually, I still think I was). Then I noticed Panama was being rather crabby — he kept putting his head down and pulling on the bit.

My trainer had me practice my posting and my two-point, which was fine because I was feeling a little rusty from not riding much last week. After we'd been riding for about twenty minutes, I nudged Panama into a trot and promptly noticed something oddly lurching about his gait. I immediately slowed him down and asked my trainer if he'd been limping — because that's exactly what it felt like he was doing.

Unfortunately, she hadn't seen it, and the next time I asked him to trot he didn't do it. A few minutes later, though, the same thing — except more pronounced. Again I slowed him down and told my trainer, "He's definitely doing something."

She agreed that she'd seen it, but hadn't been able to tell which leg he was favoring. So I trotted him a little more so she could have another look (since I wasn't feeling it at the walk at all). I felt so guilty doing it, but we had to try to figure out which foot it was, right?

In the end, my trainer couldn't tell for sure, although she thought it was a back foot. But then she noticed that one front foot is slightly longer in the toe than the other, putting the pastern at a different angle. Since the farrier was just out yesterday, I called him, and he said basically the same thing as my trainer: See how Panama is doing tomorrow, and if he's still lame, my farrier will come out the same day and take a look.

I've been thinking about it and regardless, I think I will probably have him come out and fix that long toe — since it seems to be putting everything at a different angle on that foot, I think it should be fixed. However, I'm also at a loss as to how that could cause him to become progressively more lame over the course of a lesson. Any ideas?

I also feel a bit bad because I think by fussing with the bit early on, he was trying to tell me something was wrong. Unfortunately he also tends to fuss with the bit when he gets bored, so even though he was more persistent about it today, I didn't realize it meant something different this time.

It would be so helpful sometimes if they could just speak English, wouldn't it?



At September 2, 2009 at 10:13 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

dont always look for lameness in the feet, he could have pulled a muscle playing in the pasture. It is kinda odd that the farrier would have different angles and lengths on his feet? Not good. Hope you figure it out.

At September 2, 2009 at 10:46 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Oh, I know it's not always in the feet, but because he just had his feet done yesterday it was my first thought. Seems like too much of a coincidence to ignore.

The difference in angle is pretty minor, which is why I didn't notice it until my trainer and I started staring at his feet. I've been using this farrier for two years and have always been pleased with his work, but I guess everyone's human.

I'll post an update tomorrow!


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