Thursday, February 21, 2013

Panama's back troubles and Rondo's rides

The last few times Panama has been ridden, he has had a hard knot on his spine when I take the saddle off.  The first time was when V. rode him for his lesson last Saturday, but since she had groomed and saddled him, I hadn't seen if it was there before her ride.  But it happened again on Monday when she rode, and this time I had checked before she saddled him and it wasn't there.  I'd also checked to make sure the pad wasn't bunched under the saddle.

It's a hard lump right on his spine, and interestingly it doesn't seem to be painful to him -- in fact, both times his back didn't seem sore at all, and I palpated all up and down his spine and on either side.  Both times it also went away -- it was gone on Sunday when I checked on him, the day after V.'s lesson, and it was also gone later Monday night, when I returned about four hours later to blanket.

My first thought was that it was the pad, since on Friday I had made a change to how the pad is positioned underneath the saddle, and the lump turned up the very next day.  The pad I'd been using had a very bulky and somewhat lumpy center line, so even though there is absolutely no way the saddle is making contact with his spine (I've checked and checked and checked), I figured shifting the placement could have caused the pad to rub.  So yesterday I tried riding with a different pad, one that wasn't bulky in the center (but still a fuzzy pad).  The lump still showed up -- not as big, but it was also a shorter ride.

Panama has also been moving increasingly more tentatively under saddle.  Yesterday he didn't want to trot very fast while I was posting, only when I was in two-point, probably because then I was off his back.  He didn't want to stay at the canter, and he was very resistant to bending or framing up, only offering the tiniest of efforts with his head and neck while keeping his back stiff.  He especially didn't want to bend to the left, which is usually his better bend -- since the bump is on the right side of his spine, I suspect he was avoiding bending into where it was uncomfortable.  Oddly, though, his back still wasn't sore when I removed the saddle.

I've been riding in this saddle for a month now, and this is the first sign he has shown of any discomfort, so I am hoping it is not the saddle.  My trainer thinks he likely got a little frisky and threw something out of place.  Either way, I've canceled our plans to show on Saturday and I'm waiting for a call back from the vet to schedule.  I'll have the vet check for an injury, but I'm hoping I'll just have to have a chiropractor out for an adjustment.  I'm also going to ride him once in the old saddle, just as a test.

Luckily, last night's snowstorm and the cold weather today has canceled V.'s lesson anyway, so that gives me a week to get it looked at!

Oddly enough, right when Panama is under the weather, things are picking up with Rondo.  When I took the kids out to the barn on Monday so V. could ride Panama, I turned Rondo out, saddled him, and hopped on for about the first 20 minutes of V.'s ride.  I had given V. instructions not to try to ride "with" us, because I didn't want him to be distracted -- which she took to great extremes, avoiding us like the plague -- but he was actually very, very good.  It was my first time riding him completely on my own, without my trainer there for any part of it (once I rode him after she left, but she had already saddled him and ridden the fussiness out of him, so that doesn't quite count).

I also rode him on Tuesday for about ten minutes.  I didn't turn him out that time, so I had to deal with the initial fussiness that I usually leave for my trainer -- but it was nothing bad, just some head-tossing and mouthing on the bit.  I was riding him to show my mother-in-law, who gave him to me, how far he has come, and after he calmed down I let her get on.  She doesn't ride very well and couldn't get him to go, so I just walked around the arena and he followed me like a dog.  It was quite cute, and at least we know he understands the concept of a pony ride!  My mother-in-law was amazed at how smooth his walk is for a big horse -- he doesn't have the exaggerated dip-and-sway motion you'd expect at the walk, and though she didn't get to experience it, his trot is quite comfortable, too.

I am very excited to finally be riding Rondo on my own, and I'm also looking forward to being able to ride with V. sometimes (once Panama's back is better, of course).  After all, isn't this part of the reason for having more than one horse -- so that I can ride with others?



At February 22, 2013 at 8:31 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Let us know what the vet says. Since the bump swells and dissipates, it must have liquid in it and could possibly be a cyst. I know when I have had cysts growing out of joints or between bones, they can go back and forth between being painless and painful. Great news about Rondo's progress.

At February 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

I will let you know! The bump is very hard, like bone, though -- is that typical of cysts? I have no idea...


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