Friday night I hacked out with Finn to the Grounds with a friend and yet again, he had issues walking over the rocky service road that winds over towards the arena. We had walked this road once in the past and he had some issues - just very ouchy on the rocks. Suzie was also slightly ouchy that day (when we had hacked them together) and a friend of mine also commented on how the rocks on this road were much larger than in previous years.
On Friday, I ended up getting off of him and just hand-walking down the road after our ride. Despite the rock issues, we had a pretty decent school that mostly consisted of walk and trot - he felt pretty dead to the leg and I didn't want to leech any excess energy out of him since I had planned to take Finn to the Percentage/Clear Round Days the very next morning.
|Finn, avoiding walking on the road.|
We had to make one stop to pick up a friend and her horse, then we were rolling into the grounds just before 10am. Finn unloaded well and settled into the grounds like he had been there his entire life (which, he has been there tons of times before!).
I tacked up and headed over to the Dressage arena to warm up before they started. Finn was reallllly sluggish - he tripped and crawled verrrry slowly over the rocks in the parking lot and in the arena he struggled to go forwards. I ended up dismounting and headed back to the trailer to retrieve my spurs. I had only planned on running through 2 tests and possibly 2 x-rail courses.
With the spurs on, his lack of energy didn't change much so I just decided to head over to the arena and figured what would be, would be. I didn't want to drill anything into his head because he was just tired - there was no cure for that and to spur the crap out of him would not be fair at all. We had done our stretching and flexion exercises and that was enough.
|A snapshot from our test.|
The "judge" who sat in and scored the tests certainly thought it was a respectable test and we earned a 67.9% for our efforts. I felt it was quite generous, given some of the transitions we had, but it was also a pretty fair judgement of Finn's abilities. He has second level movements, so putting him in a training level test is easy as pie. Ironically, once we trotted down center-line, he woke up a bit more and I didn't have to nag him much. (Will attach picture of dressage scores later on... it's at a friend's house where I left my hoodie).
I felt pretty good after the test and decided to just watch the next few horses go instead of schooling more. As the rider before me was half-done her test, I hopped back on and started to walk around on the grass and Finn felt weird.... But then it went away... and then he felt weird again...
|He still rocks it, sway back and all.|
I walked him forwards and he stumbled, and then halted and he hung his front left up in the air. My mind started to race and I scoured over every inch of his leg and hoof - nothing seemed out of place. The owner told me to head back to the trailer and pick out his feet - perhaps there was a rock stuck somewhere. So I did just that and found a small rock stuck near his toe, but it didn't seem like it would cause that level of pain.
So I pushed and prodded on his frog with a hoofpick - IMMEDIATE reaction.
This boy had bruised frogs.
I immediately felt bad and stripped the rest of his tack before going and reporting the findings to his owner. We chatted for a bit about his hooves, and she confirmed that he had been barefoot his whole life, including throughout his competitive career. With that information locked away, we both agreed that bruising was a large possibility, as Finn has been pastured in a grass paddock for the last three years and has been ridden minimally for the last two years. We both feel as though Finn isn't used to walking over gravel/rocks and me riding him over the rocks on Friday night, plus being ridden quite a bit this week, his soles were just weak and painful.
|This is how Finn feels about rocky roads.|
This afternoon I headed out to check up on his hooves and he was much, much better. I hand-walked him over some gravel and he seemed normal again - he wasn't being super careful with his front leg like he had been the previous day and was stepping out normally. I also poked and prodded his frog like I had the day before and he gave no reaction. Just to be on the safe side, I packed both front hooves and wrapped them again and have started looking into hoof boots to help him out.
He'll be off until Wednesday to get the chance to heal from all the riding, as well as the bruising. Poor bubs <3.
With that being said, if anyone has a set of four hoofboots for sale (size to be determined... I have to remeasure tomorrow), let me know! I'd prefer a used set as opposed to new, since Finn isn't a permanent fixture in my life.