Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stick a fork in us...we're done

I know I've said this before, but I mean it this time. No more riding Lester. I haven't posted about him in a long time because I guess I knew this is where we were heading again, but I wasn't ready to admit it. It started back in June when I started having second thoughts again. A friend of mine needed horses and riders for a photo shoot for a local stable and so my friends and I agreed to trailer over and be the models for the photos. We had about 2 weeks to prepare, I wasn't getting on Lester a whole lot, maybe once or twice every couple of weeks, but I thought I should get on him a little more just so he'd be ready. I don't feel I over did it, we walked alot and would do a few trot sets and rode for a total of about 15-20 mins. He seemed OK up until the last day or so before the photo shoot. He was really tense and chewed on the bit nervously. The day of the shoot I bathed him and braided his mane and made him all pretty. We trailered over and Less was a nervous wreck, more so than I thought he'd be. I was surprised he didn't really "spook" at any one thing, but he felt like a ticking time bomb the whole time. It wasn't much fun for me. When I first got on him I could feel a "hump" in his back and he chomped on the bit constantly. I'm so disappointed in most of the photos, they didn't get one good action shot, the timing on his legs were all wrong. It felt like they were taking a million pics too, I thought for sure there would be some good ones. He blew up twice and I knew not to push him too much so we only trotted. I can't even remember the last time we cantered.
After the photo shoot I gave him a month off. I'm not sure if it was the trailer ride over there and back that did it, but he seemed to be stiffer in his neck than ever. He started blowing up again when I would tack him up and girth him. His eyes would get really wide and he'd just try to bolt even though as always I had girthed him as slowly as I could and let him walk every other hole I girthed. Trotting in hand would immediately get him chomping and grinding the bit. I would think to myself what the hell am I doing and would feel sick to my stomach about getting on my own horse:-( But he is mine and I wanted to prove I, we, could still do it. When I got on he had a fast, nervous walk and a hump in his back. Ready to explode, it was no longer fun, only nerve racking for the both of us. He spooked endlessly, jumped at every little thing, even things that he was facing like a car driving up the driveway. I had two rides like that and decided he needed the chiropractor and I wouldn't attempt riding him again until I had her out. The chiropractor has come and gone. He needed adjustments in his neck, hips, lower back and shoulders. The lower back was a a new one which explained the hump in his back and blowing up while being tacked up. I put him on a new supplement, Remission, it's supposed to help him break down sugars in his body, she said he's very achy in his joints. The chiropractor said I could get on him 2 days later after the adjustments, but I waited another 2 1/2 weeks.
So today I was going to get back on him. Tacking him up went smoothly. He didn't panic and freak out about the girth. I led him out to the riding area and was just walking around when he started tucking his butt and trying to bolt. He started his nervous chomping and would not settle. He kept trying to bolt and buck. I got the lunge line and put him on it and he trotted a few circles and then just blew up. He was bucking and rearing and almost went over. And this wasn't just a "I feel good because I haven't done any work lately buck", it was a panic. I stopped him and reset his saddle and pad and regirthed him. He turned his head to the right and was biting at the saddle. I made sure nothing was poking him and sent him out again and had the same reaction, bucking and rearing. I took the saddle off and sent him out again, he didn't buck or rear, but he was short stepping and lame now. There's just no point to it, no fun in it and it's far too dangerous to try and ride him anymore.

20 comments:

Kate said...

Sorry to hear of your difficulties - that must be very hard. Sounds like something's really wrong with him - horses don't do that sort of thing unless they're really in trouble - I can run through a list of possibilities but who knows? Could be anything - dental, saddle fit and ulcers is a big one - the girthiness often comes with that big time. If it is ulcers, treatment should make a difference pretty quickly. But of course I really have no idea and really feel for you and your horse. Sending good thoughts your way.

Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

Thanks for the thoughts Kate. This is a battle we've fought for many many years now...and I just don't won't to try and figure it out anymore. He's happy and calm as can be out of tack, nicest horse you could ever be around. I gave him Gastro Gard to prevent ulcers when I took him to the photo shoot back in June knowing how sensative he is...aside from being in a panic under saddle now he hasn't been sound in over 5 years...it's time to put the saddle away for good.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Well, I thought the photos you chose to post turned out beautifully. The lighting was just lovely, and you and Less looked great.
I'm so sorry this has happened, sweetie. I'm dealing with similar stuff with my mare, in that she spooks so easily and gets wild-eyed at so many things. And then I have my lack of self confidance to work at getting over, too.
It's very frustrating. I wish I could somehow make it all better for you and Less, my friend.

(((HUGS)))
~Lisa

Laura said...

Sorry to hear about the ongoing troubles - but I can totally understand that you are done struggling with all of the options - I think Les is being pretty clear with his signals... That must be really tough.

On a more postive note, those picutres are beautiful. You and Les look really great. And that stable is gorgeous!

Sending good thoughts your way...

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great pictures of you and Les, you guys look great together.

I can understand your frustration with Les's problems as we have a similar one with Donnie. Since we had him tested for EPSM and it was positive we've changed his diet and he seems to be doing much better but we still haven't gotten on him. Unfortunately, one of the reasons he gets so stiff is he needs to be worked everyday and we just don't get to it all the time. But when he is lunged on a regular basis he seems so much more relaxed and in less pain and he is less stiff. It's all very complicated but we're following a program that seems to be working. As I said I know how frustrating this can be, we've been trying to get Donnie sorted out for about 5 years now too. Good luck with Les and whatever you decide to do.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I thought the pictures were really nice. I'm sorry he's not going to be one of those horses still hacking around the farm at 30. I think you are making the right decision. Keeping you and Less safe is the most important. I know its hard to retire the animals. It is a loss. Its ok to grieve about it.

Jen

greytblackdog said...

I'm so sorry, Denise. It is really is a loss to lose your riding partner. You may want to look into Parelli training. It's something you can still do with him, but you don't have to ride at all. You can still bond with him and he can use his horsey brain. Give him some love and sneak him a peppermint for me :)

SunnySD said...

Darn it! Hard to hear, and I'm sure even harder to realize, but when they're telling you that strongly that they're uncomfortable, you know you're making the right decision. Definite seconds on the great photo comments - in motion you might be able to tell he's feeling quirky, but you both look great in the shots you posted. And I'll definitely look forward to keeping up with Lester's (and your) on-the-ground activities.

oregonsunshine said...

I've been thinking of you often this summer, Denise. I'm so sorry to hear that Lester seems to be going back downhill again. Your photos are absolutely beautiful!

Melanie said...

Awwwww....I'm so sorry to hear this, Just know that you have tried every avenue with him, and he is still not better.

At least you got some great shots of the two of you, right??? :)

Leah Fry said...

I thought the photos were nice, too. Sorry about Lester. Does he react the same way when you ride him bareback, or is that out of the question?

Maria Peters said...

Absolutely beautiful pics! You two are a stunning pair.

Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

Thanks for your thoughts everyone, they mean alot. I know alot of you guys have been in my shoes...and it just sucks. I guess he'll have to become my 3rd dog again. I always tell him he's dam lucky he's so cute.
Leah, about riding bareback, I don't know that I have ever ridden him that way and when I tried it a couple of months ago he shot out from under me before I even got my leg on him-thankfully. So that would be a no option there...

cdncowgirl said...

I thought the pics were pretty good, especially those last two :)

I have to confess it took me a couple readings to get through this whole post. I started to cry the first time, I know how frustrated you must be feeling.
Someone else suggested it and I have to agree, look into Parelli type training or trick training. It would give you two something to do without the riding. Help that bond and make Les feel useful.

allhorsestuff said...

Oh D, I had thoughts of you slowing your riding down as you quit posting on Lester.
You have done so much for research and this is a definate loss. Almost sounds mysterious and unsearchable...but he definately is telling you that he is uncomfortable. I am so sorry.
I read recently that the Gamma Oil I have been giving Wa is good for ulcers. If that were it...I'd try the natural way . I get it from "Springtime Inc." Awesome reasearch and products for human dogs and the Equine.

I know you know best D. You always have.
Much LOVE and (((hugs too)))
KacyK

PS. I love your photo's..they are quite beautiful..though you were pensive feeling..it shows not!

Stephanie said...

Awww i am sorry Denise! Sorry because I know you'd like ride your horse - in a fun type way and sorry cause gosh your pictures are so pretty and I can see what "was" in them. And it was wonderful.

I hope you can find some peace with your decision. And I hope you have a better rest of your summer!

Sientay L said...

Sorry to hear about not riding Lester anymore. I know how frustrating it is not knowing what is wrong. I feel like that with Dino sometimes. The vet and the specialist can't even give a 100% diagnosis....hip or back or neurological.
I have to agree with everyone that the photos turned out beautifully. Lester looks so handsome in those photos.

allhorsestuff said...

Thinking and praying for you my dear D!
Hope lester is loving the life of leisure.
Miss you, be well my friend!!
Kacy with Wa mare~

Jean said...

Denise, I couldn't express myself any better than Jen did and I agree with everything she said. Although it is the right decision, we grieve along with you about the loss. But we know the most important thing to you is to see your boy happy and content and you will have that.Big Hugs. L, M

Maximus said...

Aw that's too bad. I think you're doing the right thing.

And you were just around the corner from my new place!