Friday’s ride went fantastically. We had the ring to ourselves, no distractions, and perfect weather for a light hack.
But Friday, you may remember, also involved my car getting worked on. And it was really sunny. And the cedar pollen count was astronomical, I’m sure. So after riding, I felt a little headachey. Here’s the thing. I get migraines. The combination of stress, bright sunshine, and allergens was certainly enough to trigger one, so I took some medication as soon as I started getting a headache, even though I didn’t have any aura leading up to it. The medication makes me feel kind of weird. I got a ride from the barn to pick up my car (thanks, Mom!) and decided I needed a crap ton of protein and fat to make my brain feel better (literally–there is a complex relationship between food and migraines; fat helps nerve tissue, so I draw my own completely unsubstantiated conclusions about what does and doesn’t make me feel better during migraine symptoms). Enter Whataburger.
If you are not from Texas, you are missing out on this stuff.
Saturday I just rode Eli around at the walk in the fields because the ring was super busy, and I let him go for a roll in a turnout after, but watched him the whole time as the turnouts were still muddy/tacky and I didn’t want him to pull a shoe. He walked right up to me right after he rolled anyway. I brought him in and cleaned him up and gave him peppermints and let him graze a bit more.
Sunday was a perfect Texas winter day. It was also busy at the barn. Eli played in turnout, as the turnouts were now all dry. I bring him in, let him get a drink and chill in his stall for a bit, then tack up, get on, pick up a trot to the left which goes okay, I then change direction and half halt because Eli’s getting a little quick, a little on the forehand and BAM! Giraffe-mode. And okay, we need to longe. Plays, bucks, and runs on the longe. Cheetah-mode. I get back on, but there is now too much going on in the dressage arena, and the jumping side still too wet. Plus the footing in the dressage arena needs more grooming. (At the rail, it’s almost cement, but toward the center it gets more forgiving.) I go up to the field and never get a good trot but do get a good canter with an occasional opinion from the pony, but nothing melodramatic. Wrap giraffe cheetah pony and curry lots.
Got to ride while it’s dry, so Monday (a state holiday woohoo) I get out to the barn and pull wraps off, everything looks good, I turn out the pon-pon. Eli plays in turnout, but is decidedly less amped, the tension is gone. Bucking very lackadaisically. Playing his pawing game with his pawing game friend Tophat in the adjacent turnout. Has a good roll. Same routine from yesterday, but the ride is great, seriously wonderful, no longe necessary. Lovely long trot and forward canter both ways, trot over all the jumps while they are set at cavaletti height. We go for a short walk out in the field. It’s warm enough for Eli to get rinsed and he dries while grazing in the sun. I put liniment on legs and notice localized swelling with heat on inside of his right hock going about 1/3 way down the leg. It wasn’t there before. Argh. Found no cuts or suspicious bug bite welts. For a minute, my brain is like fuuuhhhhhh I broke my pony but then I snap out of it, and focus on making sure Eli is comfortable. Too late for what ifs.
I wrapped him, and trainer/barn manager will check on him Tuesday. If it’s still swollen, she will put some DMSO on it. Turnout should be fine. I plan to walk Eli and cold hose the hock Tuesday night. Eli has not taken a single lame step over this entire time, so hopefully this inflammation is minor, is just a tweak or twinge and no connective tissue damage, probably from not working because of the weather and then working quite a bit on Sunday. Maybe he has a little arthritis (not exactly unheard of in an 11-yr-old OTTB). Maybe I’m going to try the BoT hock wraps. He has swelled up randomly before in different places, and the swelling has always gone down within a few days, if not just a day, and the swelling improves with movement and light work and standing wraps. If he gets even slightly lame in connection with this, I will want x-rays and ultrasound, and will go over every possible therapeutic resolution before deciding how to go forward, but we are not there yet. We’ll stick with wrapping, liniment, possibly bute (powder in some grain, preferably) if he seems stiff and see how he goes. Could try a sweat wrap for a few days. I can’t make it out Wednesday night, and Thursday’s weather looks like shit, so he’ll get a bit of a break regardless. Already got a text today from trainer saying he still has swelling but there is no heat. She went ahead and turned him out, which I’m glad for, as in Eli’s case turnout seems to reduce swelling rather than aggravate it. I’ll see how he is tonight after work.
In other news, I’m trying a Back on Track saddle pad. I used it for Monday’s ride, the one where Eli felt great. He doesn’t have a history of back issues, so this is purely for adding to our arsenal of things that make the pony feel good.
It came in all this packaging, in a zipped cover, like how comforters are packaged. I also had it monogrammed (duh). The underside of the pad is extremely soft. So far, I like it, but I want to use it for a while before I know just how much I like it. It will probably be just a winter-only saddle pad, as we have no problem creating heat everywhere on every body part in the summer.
Fingers crossed Eli is sound tonight!