Something has been up with Nay Nay for the last couple of months but I just can’t quite identify what is off. Something is, but I don’t know what. Gut feeling?
Back in the summer we had lead issues, but he was still MY horse. I didn’t have issues with him and nothing felt off.
Then we sorted out the leads and I started worrying about his weight. And he started leaving feed behind. I started worrying more. Then I added back his western alfalfa and he stuffed his face with that and left more grain. I pretty much was at a loss.
Logic says change 1 variable at a time so that you know what works. But, WHY would I follow logic?
In one of my last lessons, my trainer mentioned that she suspected Nay might be in touch of pain as he would toss his head when we made tight(er) turns. He did NOT react with wide sweeping turns or on the straight sides of the arena. This got me thinking. I had done a bute test and had no change, but she suggested robaxin. I’m NOT against getting the vet involved and/or medication especially if it was muscular/medical/pain related, but SOMETHING was telling me to play around with some other things first. The head tossing started when we changed bits from the D-ring snaffle to the 3 ring elevator. The mouth piece stayed the same, but obviously the functionality of the bit was different.
So, last weekend, after Nay had YET MORE time off, I put him back in his snaffle and… he DID NOT TOSS HIS HEAD ONCE. In fact, he just seemed thrilled and happy head wise, if otherwise completely out of shape. He felt more relaxed than I felt in months.
Throughout the week, I made other changes. Last week I pulled him off is powder supplements because he just hasn’t been into them (platinum performance ::cue me crying::) and then when he still wasn’t cleaning his bucket, I cut the rice bran. He immediately seemed to start eating better without the extra fat. Hmm. Today? His demeanor just seemed… better? He still doesn’t eat a lot of hay overnight, BUT I keep telling myself he gets 10lbs of western alfalfa. How much do I expect him to eat on top of 10 lbs of alfalfa? The alfalfa is packed with protein and nutrients so everything he eats on top of that is good. Out in the field he eats when he wants. How much? Who knows. I rarely see him eat but here and there I see him at the feeder. And the hay disappears. The boys finish a bale in 2-3 days (out 12 hours/day). So they all do eat. Nay just likes to hang out, just like Subi.
Anyway, today’s ride? Nay was even better than last week. I had to grab a crop for the canter because someone was too relaxed, but I feel like I have my horse back. He’s not tossing his head. He feels relaxed. He’s using his hind end. And our rides just don’t feel… stressed? I DO feel a little “dragging” going on here and there so perhaps the elevator may make an occasional appearance, but I feel like all the head flinging was bit related vs pain. And now that we’re off rice bran? He feels even better.
So which variable is the cause of all this, no idea. But sometimes changes are what we need.