Thursday, July 12, 2012

No Headshaking, No Bad Cinch Memories

Just a quick little update from my blogging break:

I've spent the summer adjusting Cowboy's dosages for the head shaking.  So far, in pasture, we've been able to completely end it--sunshine and all--and if I give it to him two hours before a ride (10 x 200 mg carbamezepine) no head shaking during riding.  I tried a lower dosage for a while (8 pills) and it didn't do the trick.

However, when I knew I'd taken care of the head shaking, I was left with some other problems that were residual from the head shaking last year.  One, was when he acted like he couldn't see me coming--like something was wrong with his eye--he'd pull back hard when tied.  Knowing this might happen again from a learned-behavioral perspective, I switched to a Blocker Tie, and oh my goodness, did that come in handy!  First day--pulled back--blocker tie gave--he stopped (I LOVE Blocker ties).  Also, last year under saddle he developed a weird fear of being fly sprayed before rides, but I couldn't work him through it due to the head shaking problem.  This year we spent a lot of time spraying and running in circles until he stopped and relaxed.  He'd really developed a phobia.  Odd, especially since I can approach him in the turnout (untied) and spray him all over.  It's only under saddle that he would be so fearful.  (Habits: easy to make, difficult to break!)

My other equine issue was Cia and her cinch sores.  They took a long time to fully heal, and at first she wouldn't let me anywhere near them with salve or brushes.  But after a while, I discovered they were itchy, and she absolutely loved for me to just stand there and itch on them.  She'd get that face like they get when you're scratching their withers and find their sweet spot.  I did it every day hoping to turn bad memories to good. 

When I went to saddle her I treated it as if it was the first time ever, introducing the blanket first, then the saddle, off and on, and much later actually cinching it up.  No problem.  So, I figured I might as well bridle and get on, which I did.  She was great.  She was actually much better in every area, probably because of the two weeks of training she did get. 

It's hot here--about 100--so not much else going on.  We're all trying to survive the heat.  Cowgirl has a mysterious lameness--it has been on and off all summer.  Today we're going to go out and try a few things to pinpoint where it's coming from. 

Happy Summer Trails!





10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the update on everyone. So happy that the head shaking is under control. What a relief that must be. His other issues will most likely disappear with retraining.

    Glad to hear that Cia was good for you too. Hope Cowgirl lameness gets pinpointed so you know how to treat her.

    Hot here too. Not as bad as you we're only in the 90's but it's the humidity that will kill you. Stay cool and have fun for the rest of the summer.

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    1. Thank you, and I'll try. You, too. Sounds like the humidity is pretty bad back where you are.

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  2. Wonderful news on Cowboy! Hope you get some quality riding time on him. The heat makes it tough, we aren't quite as hot here- around 90- but really high humidity so not a good idea to ride during the day and it's not really cooling off much at night.
    I wonder if the lameness could be an abscess- they are painful when they are stalled out and not moving, but then they start moving and aren't as sore, but get painful again if they stop moving to the release point. I'm pretty sure that's what happened with Chickory, at first I thought it was laminitis but there are no signs on her feet of it 6 weeks later so I think she abscessed from having such bad trimming and then being corrected.

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    1. Interesting. I don't know what it is. I'll probably call my farrier out though. He checked her out last time he was here, but she'd recovered fully from the lameness...now it's back. Very strange. I wouldn't be surprised if it's not an abscess.

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  3. That's fantastic news about Cowboy! So glad the medication is working!
    And Cia is such a good girl. That's great that the cinch sores are healed up and you were able to ride her.
    Hope it's nothing serious with Cowgirl. I've been there with my Paint Fritzy but hers have usually been abscesses.
    Thanks for the update!!

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    1. Hi Paint Girl. I remember that about Fritzy. Lameness sure can ruin riding time! Not fun.

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  4. Very interesting about the head shaking - glad to hear it's under control! I've only just become aware of this issue in the past few months and have been interested in reading about cases people are dealing with.

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  5. Christine, have you dealt with it in any of your horses?

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  6. so I found your blog through Nuzzling Muzzles. She suggested after reading a post I just did about my horse suddenly starting head shaking. I have to ask- how's it going now?

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    1. My horse is doing great. I administer the meds when he's at his worst and it immediately subsides. Usually I have to give him about 5 doses per year and only at the times when it flares up. I think, when it's left untreated, it builds on itself, but when treated, it keeps it from ever getting too bad. I ride him all the time and have for years now. When it was at it's worst you couldn't even handle him. He didn't want to hurt me, but he wanted relief and assurance. Many people disagree about this topic and I've had people reem me for not going holistic, but I did go holistic first and though everything helped a little, nothing worked as fast and well as the meds. I just wanted to help my horse--possibly save his life and mine--and this med worked for him and did that. I have my horse back. Good luck with yours. It's a horrible thing to deal with and there is a lack of understanding about it.

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