In the Night Farm…Your Ride is Here.

Consolation Mystery Update

I rode Consolation yesterday, 8 miles on easy and familiar terrain. 

The Good:

  • Her attitude was positive.
  • She wasn’t spooky, and her hypersensitivity during saddling was minimal.
  • Although not fast, she was reasonably forward (this is pretty standard Consolation).
  • Her trot felt free, even, relaxed, and normal until…

The Bad:

The last couple miles of our route feature a very long, very gradual uphill grade that Consolation normally charges up with ease.  This time, though our ride had hardly been long or difficult, she petered out halfway up.  Her back felt tight and she didn’t want to trot.  I immediately dismounted and checked her back and hindquarters for cramping.  Nothing.  No trembling, no tight or flaccid muscles, no reaction to pressure.  No unusual respiration or sweating. 

I mounted up and asked again, but she still didn’t want to trot and her back still felt a little hunched.  Hmm.  No need to play with fire.  I got  off, loosened her cinch, and led her home slowly.  As I walked, I pondered the fact that it was at a similar point on the same hill that Consolation “bonked” (to borrow a human endurance athlete’s term) a couple weeks ago.  Could something be affecting her even on that small grade that doesn’t trouble her on flatter land?  One friend suggested cramping due to the saddle fitting issues I’m working on, which is certainly a possiblity.

At the time, however, I was most worried about a tie-up.  I watched carefully as we walked.  Consolation’s gait seemed even and relaxed, though slow, which is not altogether atypical for her.  On the other hand, I’d have expected a little more enthusiasm because we were headed homeward.  When we arrived, she didn’t resist lifting her feet for hoof boot removal.  She rolled and shook.  She drank well and settled down to eat.  Her urine color was normal both immediately and several hours later. 

Come evening, she was slightly stocked up behind again, which made me wonder again about her feet.  I took her for a handwalk along the irrigation canal.  Her movement was very free, her strides long, her attitude bright, and her appetite enthusiastic. 

This morning, she looks normal.

Argh.

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12 responses

  1. Aemi

    I’m wondering… Are you selenium deficient in your area? I know we are here in NE Washington, and I’ve been researching the addition of selenium for my horses. I believe that low levels of selenium and vit E can cause muscle weakness in our equine friends.

    May 12, 2011 at 7:23 am

    • Right you are, Aemi. We actually have a lot of selenium in our soil so a deficiency is unlikely, but if I end up taking her in for a blood panel, a se check may also be in order. And perhaps we ought to take a look at her teeth. And her feet.

      May 12, 2011 at 7:34 am

  2. Dom

    How frustrating! I hope you get to the bottom of it soon.

    May 12, 2011 at 7:23 am

  3. I am reading your story with interest, as I’m having slightly similar incidents with my gelding. Some rides have no issues, others he just kind-of quits, and like you, I’m baffled. My first thought was just that he was misbehaving, but after a few times it doesn’t seem like an attitude problem, or sourness. And like your mare, even going home doesn’t perk him up to his usual self. I am not an endurance rider (yet) but get out pretty often, and some days I can just tell he is not himself. I was planning on giving it more time (as he is eating, seems happy and everything else is fine) until doing a blood panel as well. Good luck with your mare…I echo your “argh!”

    May 12, 2011 at 7:58 am

    • 😦 Sorry to hear you’re having similar troubles, Irish. Do drop me a line if you figure out what’s going on with your boy!

      May 12, 2011 at 8:29 am

  4. shana bobbitt

    Frustration! Hope you can figure it out soon.

    May 12, 2011 at 8:28 am

  5. Lisa

    Hey Barb…

    Those of us out here in selenium-deficient land will probably immediately suspect SE, but I wanted to let you know that our old vet recommended a yearly selenium shot on TOP of supplementation out here in the central WA desert…so even folks that think they have “enough” of the mineral might need to look at supplements.

    From what I’ve read recently, they’re even recommending more SE supplementation for humans…so blood panel is probably indeed the way to go.

    Consolation is damn lucky to have such a responsive owner. No matter what happen now, she’ll always know that you’ll “believe” what she’s trying to tell you. I think mares in particular are always on the lookout for that ability in human beings.

    May 12, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    • Thanks, Lisa. 🙂 I agree — horses are incredibly perceptive and they seem to know whether we are or not! Good point about the se levels. I talked with Consolation’s vet yesterday and he wants to check her for hoof pain first, then proceed to a trace mineral test if necessary.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:50 am

  6. ~E.G.

    Both times we’ve had a tie up we’ve had no abnormality in gait. The most beautiful trot out you ever seen accompanied the really bad episode. This last time all I had was an unwillingness to move after a short hill climb at the canter. I’m not boding you my plight, just clanging the caution caution bell as I know it. I sure hope for you and your mare it is something uncomplicated, my heart is with you.

    May 13, 2011 at 5:07 am

    • Thanks, Jacke. ER is so strange — it seems as variable as colic, doesn’t it? 😦 You and Phebes are on my mind, as well.

      May 13, 2011 at 6:51 am

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