P has been…somewhat subdued lately. I first noticed it when, after having 5 days off after Hillcrest, I went out to the barn and was able to do this:
He seemed his regular self the next day, Friday, when I took him for an hour long trail ride though, and also on Saturday, when we moved to the new barn and went exploring.
He got off Sunday, then Monday was the lesson with Trainer J, where his inner-turtle shone through, but I just figured he was showing off for Trainer J as usual. And promptly ordered a dressage whip.
Tuesday we popped around the jumps in the arena and a couple on the trail. Seemed fine. Wednesday I put my dressage tack on and he was again, behind the leg, but I attributed it to him being distracted by all the horses being turned out and him having to work in the dressage arena.
Which leads us to yesterday. Tacking him up at Trainer B’s, he looked like this, despite people riding horses out in the field- something he usually watches intently.
It was a bit hot, around 85 degrees, when I got on and started warming up. Where upon Trainer B remarked, “He’s quite calm today.”
Me (huffing and puffing because we trotted one whole lap and I practically had to pony kick the entire time): “A little too calm.”
So, ok. Maybe jumping will perk him up. But P just trots up, jumps, and…trots away.
So then we cantered it and it takes me the full length of the arena to convince him to canter, but we do and he lands…trotting again.
So Trainer B decided to take advantage of the calmness and points us to the spookier jumps- the white lattice he’s stopped at, the flamingo jump he’s stopped at, the brush oxer he’s stopped at (see a theme?) and the liverpool, which we’ve never jumped but P always gives the side eye to when we go past it.
This will definitely get the energy going.
He jumped all of them, no stops…but promptly halted himself after each one.
Trainer B: Are you sure you brought the right horse?
Me: Ummmm, actually no.
So then we head to the field because just MAYBE that will wake him up. And because the roll top is out there and heaven knows he needs all the roll top jumps he can get. Trainer B says to gallop over the ditch. I ask for the gallop, P offers no more than a gentle canter, and then slows himself down right after. That NEVER happens.
So we do the ditch a few times until I LOOK UP AND STOP STARING INTO THE DITCH (for goodness sakes, woman, pull it together), then go to the dun, dun, dun…rolltop.
And he stops.
Ok, so I did bring the right horse. That’s something, I suppose.
Rein back, trot, he goes over it, and the little plank behind it. So then Trainer B has us start at a log down the hill from the RT, go over the RT, down over the plank, rollback to the right to go over the vertical and end with the ditch.
P goes over the log, over the RT, over the plank, then I turn him right to head down the hill to the vertical and…he stopped. Not at the jump, oh no, we didn’t get that far. Just stopped, like his battery died and he couldn’t go anymore.
By this time, Trainer B has already checked his pulse, his temp and his gums. Because something just isn’t right. So we decide to quit, because even though he’s physically looking ok, this just isn’t him. And Trainer B advises to give it a couple days and if he’s still like this, maybe have the vet do a blood panel.
LOL at Trainer B for thinking I’d wait a few days.
As soon as I pulled out of the driveway, I called the vet, since their clinic is in the same town as Trainer B’s. I asked if anyone was around to draw blood and miraculously, a vet was on his way back from a call and could do it within an hour or so.
So we got there to wait.
P when you sit in the truck:
P when you sit by the fence:
What a stalker.
Then the vet got there and drew some blood. It only took TEN MINUTES to get the results back.
His white blood cell count was a bit low, but temp was normal. Vet thinks he’s been fighting a low-grade fever, which would explain the lethargy.
Then the muscle enzyme CK (Creatine kinase) was slightly elevated as well. AST was trending upwards but still in normal range, which indicates some muscle stuff going on. He palpated P and P was visibly sore from withers to hindquarters. And I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve palpated his back before and P just looks around like he’s bored. The vet does it and he’s practically on the floor.
The vet wasn’t too concerned at this time, though he mentioned the dreaded term “saddle fit” and I just about threw myself on the floor and had a tantrum.
So P got a shot of B-12 to increase his energy (never thought I’d EVER pay for something to do that) and then got sent home with 3 days worth of Robaxin, a muscle relaxant. So I had to bring out my trusty medical supplies from the ulcer days:
My friend is going out there today to do PEMF on him, and we’ll probably go for a light ride. He’ll get Saturday and Sunday completely off, then supposed to have a Trainer J lesson Monday morning.
Always something with horses.