Good ideas. I'm sure you'll get past this soon. You and Al make such a good pair.
Sounds like you are on the right track to figuring it out. I hope it isn't an ulcer. I'm sure you're vet will be the best one to know what's what, but here is a little video that might be helpful.
If i were a horse and had an ulcer i sure as heck wouldn't let someone strap a piece of leather around my belly and ride me!
Thanks for the words of encouragement and advice.
I hope he doesn't have an ulcer! I know it is not unheard of in un-stressed horses but if he has one, i'd hate to think what he is like when he actually is stressed. The barn is so quiet and predictable. No new horses. No mayhem. He has a round bale 24/7 and gets a pelleted feed; no sweet feed.
We'll see what the vet comes up with.
Love the fleece girths for sensitive horses...and just double check the saddle fit in the shoulders. Sometimes it can pinch there and girthyness be the only sign. Keep working on it, I know you will find the solution.
+1 to Doreen's response.
I'm so sorry to hear that Al is having these issues. Hopefully it is something simple like the girth or the pinching of the saddle that can be easily corrected. I will add though that he is a prime candidate for having ulcers. Al was donated here, got settled in and then got adopted out and then got returned shortly after when they changed their mind about their situation. Then he settled back in here, then got adopted out again by you. Then he went to the original facility and got settled in there, and then he got moved again to another facility and all new herd and horses to get used to, new routines, etc. This is absolutely the type of thing that can cause ulcers in a horse. Even though they may not outwardly show that they are stressed and seem like the most laid back creature on the planet, those are the types of things (amongst other things) that can cause a horse to get ulcers. Yes, it would seem odd that he was showing no signs until now, but I just wanted to point out that there definitely was a good recipe there. Ulcers are a lot more common in horses than people realize, I think. I am not saying that I think that ulcers are the culprit, but just thought I'd add the insight, and even if it is ulcers that sure isn't very hard to treat and manage. I'm sure you will get this all figured out soon, he is in the best of hands. :)
You are right Karen. He has been all over the place! And on top of that, a horrible winter to boot (which probably bothered me more than him.)
I decided to have the chiropractor work on Al and also have the vet look at him too. Covering all the bases. He wasn't too out of wack according to the chiropractor but was really sensitive around his front legs and his chest area. After his adjustment, he rarely cross canters on the lunge line. So he got some good out of it. He did not get scoped for ulcers but empirically treated. He is just starting his 3rd week of omeprazole and he seems to be less touchy and although ALL the horses at the boarding place are acting crazy (they are all twitterpating cuz spring is in the air!) Al is no more crazy than the rest. I am looking forward to some warmer weather and sunshine so we can get out of the indoor! Al is always looking for a gremlin to eat him alive and I have to constantly keep his brain busy. He's not content to just plod along. He is getting better and better at channeling his attention towards me and less at the dark corner across the arena. I don't know if a day will ever come that I can just hop on him and veg out. Maybe. But that is Al for ya. He is a great fellow to work with and so loving.
It sounds like things are going good and on the right track, Kate, thank you for the update. Al sounds like such a character! :)
I can't veg out on my Morab gelding either, if it makes you feel better. At least with Al you'll never be a lazy rider! Hope he's a new man after the ulcer treatment.
Took a rare Thursday night opportunity to go to the barn after work and eating dinner with the kids.
Al had a good ride. he has come a long way so far but we have a long way to go. He has proven he can canter both directions with a human on his back. So now I know and he has no more excuses! But before we refine that we are going back to learning to be flexible and freeing up his shoulders at the simpler things like walk and trot. (so grateful I've had help along the way with friendly by-stander trainer advice). He is still touchy about the girth on either side though not as bad. I don't get it. He has completed a month of omeprazole. Had the chiropractor. Switched to a fleece girth (which I hate). I'm going to switch to my cut back saddle and see if that helps. I only think of it because sometimes when I put on the saddle and am fiddling with it to get it just right, he seems a little touchy around the whithers too. And so maybe his girth touchiness is just plain touchiness in general because of saddle soreness. Although the chiropractor didn't really find much.
Please don't think I am nuts but has he been tested for Lymes? The reason I'm asking is how a horse at our barn was behaving. He is a calm cooperative horse in general but he developed into a very touchy guy and hated being touched near his withers, back and a few other places on his body. Again, not characteristic for him. He tested positive for Lymes disease, was treated and is back to his laid back self again. I wouldn't believed it if I hadn't seen it.
Al is good. A little too good. He is a little too fleshy and a little too smart. He is enjoying the summer for sure. As am I. I'm told, though I am still skeptical, that Al got out of his pasture this past weekend. The electric fence was off apparently and "like a velociraptor" Al figured it out and was testing the fence. He somehow stepped cleanly through 3 strands of fencing without breaking any of them and then trotted around the outside of the pastures...gloating and proud, I think. He then went into the upper barn and let the ponies out...which I really don't believe. But they say it is true. I wasn't there so I really can't argue. Doing good, riding wise. He is coming along. Much calmer these days. We spent half our ride tonight herding the ducks out of the riding ring. I don't know what is up with the ducks but they have been chasing each other back and forth frequently. Al really doesn't care about the commotion. Sometimes they squawk and quack and make a loud flapping sound with their wings. So long as one of them doesn't land on his rump we are okay! And Al has a definite look when we are done working for the day. He has this every time. It is a look of deep contentment, like he is really satisfied and he did something good. And he has a few big contented sighs to go along with his look. It's remarkable. Looking forward to getting him out on the trail.
That deep sigh is a good thing :)
Love those horses that show they are proud they did well. Some people may argue horses don't but I have seen it and looks like Kate has too. Good update.
Years ago I had an arab mare who could tell if the electric fence was off by sniffing it. She would sniff it the minute she went out, we couldn't turn it off. Al must have had a fun time, whether he let all the ponies out or not...LOL!! Some horses truly do love to be ridden and to work, sounds like Al may be one of them. They do make riding a joy!
I realized today while looking at the fence...it is actually 4 strands he maneuvered through!
Had a good outing today. Al was quiet and calm and very relaxed. We went out in the big field for the first time today and he didn't act like he was setting foot on Mars. I suspected he might because when I ride him in the little open strip of land from the indoor to the outdoor ring to introduce some variety, which is a distance of about 150 yards, he acts like he is awaiting his certain doom. (Al is very vigilant for any creak, ruffle, flutter, shadow...he is right brain dominant.) Had I tried the big field a few days ago when a thunderstorm was in the air, I probably would have been walking myself back to the barn.
I often reflect on the notion that a horse mirrors the soul. Some days, Al and I just click together and all is great. Some days he is off--maybe it's the weather, maybe it's me, maybe it's his friend in the pasture or the mare next door or the fact that he hasn't had dinner yet. But I have to focus on how not to make a bad day worse. Funny how I have to work a lot more on me on those days to keep it together for the both of us. I have to be more creative, more patient, more of a problem solver, more optimistic when thinks aren't just so. And then there are the days I come to the barn because I've had a bad day. And I leave the barn again with a renewed hope, wondering how anyone can survive this world without a horse.
Not sure I have anything to add, but I like your post Kate!
This blanket lasted almost a week. Al and his pasture mate are devious.
Look at that face!
hahahahaha! Well, almost a week is pretty good compared to some of the naughties around here.
Thanks for the smiles, Kate!
That face does not look very apologetic. Naughty horses!
Ha,ha,ha...I only laugh because I have horses that destroy everything too.
Naughty horses lol!! Schneiders sells blankets that are guaranteed for 2 to 3 years against damage depending on the denier. Just thought I'd pass the info on.
LOL...that face!! Too funny!