Monday, 22 February 2010

Kingsley's Rehab Week 15: Up Up and NOT Away

Week 14 left me feeling very optimistic and happy that we were finally having a bit of consistency. On Thursday I had him shortening and lengthening his walk stride with soft mouth and no resistance. It might not be much per normal but considering that a month ago he would rather twist his neck in a knot if you applied pressure on the reins it felt pretty good.
It was probably the best week so far.

Now today, first day of the week 15 and I can very much file it into the worse of all weeks so far.
Went to catch him and he was quite bolshy and pushy and if amount of mud on him and rugs was anything to go by he must have had a productive racing day.
I basically had to bath 3/4 of him, then wait until he dried enough to tack him up. Gave him a super groom (he is starting to moult), tacked up and the one thing I noticed was that he seemed really tired and didn't pay much attention to his hay. He was literally having a nap standing there all tacked up.
Off we went and straight away he felt totally behind my leg. Not really like him at all as he normally power walks with me even if it's a crooked power!
One lap around and I changed my timer to 25 min instead of planned 34 just in case he didn't feel well. Turned gently across the long diagonal to change the rein and just as we were going over X he spotted a deer in the field next to the arena. I felt him wanting to stop and look so gave him a little tap with my legs and he immediately hopped up. Not high but enough for me to have to fold to stay in balance. Cheeky I thought and then he landed, the moment his feet touched the ground he pushed off properly and stood up. This time for long enough for me to wonder when he was going to come down again. Not good.
Gave him a smack and he landed, then proceeded to walk on. He did try again after about 5 minutes but I was ready then and turned him on a very tight circle with his nose to my boot. In theory we should be on straight lines and gentle curves but decided there was no such option. He got bored with trying and again proceeded to walk, quite sweetly for the rest of the time.
He felt weak and there was no push behind at all. He's either in pain or had a proper run around in the field.
Either way, rearing in this horse is just not on. I wouldn't say I have much experience with many serious behavioural problems...apart from with rearers. My youth was basically spent with them. It may have been good fun to play Zorro at 16 when I worked with plenty of stallions, lots of them notorious rearers, but it certainly isn't the case with a horse on a walking rehab and a buggered back end.

What really worries me is that it didn't feel like a shy rear. He knew exactly what he was doing and had pretty good balance in the air. Although it happened for the first time since with us I would hazard a guess it happened before we got him too.

All now depends on how he feels on Wednesday and Thursday - if still backwards we may need to get the vet to come and see him again a little earlier. For now I have cut his feed to chaff only although even his "full" ratio was a resting amount so I doubt the feeding has anything to do with it.

Considering the stopping he did for a few days 2 weeks ago and today's backwards attitude seem to suggest it's not the exuberance/over excitement rearing but rather evasion technique. It can of course be caused by discomfort he feels when ridden but then again it might be a learned behaviour.

Whatever it is, I am not happy about it all. It's a different thing to tolerate rearing in a fit, competition horse and the one that might never make it as a ridden one...
Down day.
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