Started on a New Path!

You may remember some previous posts about her, but I just can't help but want to explain the details again about Lacy, a three year old Quarter Horse mare.

When Lacy arrived to me, she was fairly calm and easy going from what I could tell. The issues described from previous trainer were that she was unpredictable when girthed. She would rear up, hold her breath and basically jump out of her skin even once relaxed, it could come any time. She had bucked and spooked pretty bad when tried to be ridden, despite apparently doing well through ground work training. I was also told she would not move out and it was very difficult to get her to canter.

So when I got my hands on her, it was time for some investigation. Right off the bat I could tell she needed some major hoof help. Her hinds were very unbalanced with a negative plantar angle and her fronts were not the best either, under run and overgrown. I got her feet looked at by my barefoot trimmer as soon as I could get her out, we removed shoes and started some corrective trimming. This poor Lacy was so uncomfortable she could not even stand straight. Look

at the picture of her standing while eating. This is not normal and I knew she had to be extremely uncomfortable and probably in pain. We also addressed her diet, took her off the grain and put her on CA Trace mixed with some hay pellets.

This picture below is a before and after of her first trim on her hinds. I can't wait to compare these to new pictures that we take when she comes back in the spring.

Even after her first trim, I could see a difference in the way Lacy was moving. And yes, she did not

like to canter, but how could she! Her hind end was so unbalanced and tight making very hard for her to move up into a rolling gait. It was a slow slow training process, teaching her body and mind a new way of moving, as the hooves started coming around, so did her body. We also had Lacy seen frequently by an equine

chiropractor to help her through some of her tight places, to get her body back to neutral.

This whole process was close to two months. Big changes like this do not happen over night! Once I started seeing continuing progress through her body, moving more free, willing to move and flex lightly, I then started investigating the girthing issue.

What was so interesting to me was that I was getting the symptoms without even putting the girth on. When asking Lacy to flex laterally just in the halter, her whole back would tighten up, brace, then eventually she would relax. It was pretty dramatic. We worked on this for a number of weeks, making slow progress, to where the tensing was pretty much alleviated. I then began introducing the girth on a surcingle and almost had to start the whole process from the beginning again. I have never witnessed a horse with so much tension and worry about the girth. Since I wasn't sure what had been done with her previously, we went slow, day by day, to work on ruling out it being a training issue. We were making progress, however I just felt that something wasn't quite right.

It was about the end of the dry season and Lacy was scheduled to go home with her owner for the winter, then return in the Spring to continue her training. Her owner and I talked about possibilities of it not just being a training issue, maybe something else. I decided a winter season off might be good for Lacy mentally and physically, so lets see what she tells us.

About a month or two of Lacy living at home, I went to visit her to see how she was doing. I was so very happy to see she is still moving great, just about the same as when she left training, and her hooves are still improving and looking stronger. However, Lacy had digressed back to the beginning stages of working with the surcingle and girth. She was spooky, nervous and was holding her breath and tightening up her back and rib cage again. Ugh...

Sarah, her owner, and I talked about the possibilities of ulcers. I recommended that Lacy have hay out in slow feeders 24/7 and to try adding some Magnesium to her diet as a first option, as it is so inexpensive. Magnesium, in some horses, can help calm down muscle tension and nervousness. It was worth a try, for $20.

Lacy was on the Mag for two weeks with not much improvement, so after talking some more, Sarah made the vet appointment to get her scoped. You know what is so nice? Owners that are open to listening to their horse and trainer. Sometimes figuring these things out is not cheap, and I understand that, but this whole time, even before Lacy got to me, she was trying to communicate that something hurts. And sure enough, after scoping, Lacy had some pretty chronic gastric ulcers, even some that were bleeding.... !

I am so excited for Lacy to be started on treatment and see how this changes her attitude and training progress. Treatment will take a little over a month and she will also be put on a dietary prevention supplement to help buffer her tummy and gut from developing ulcers again. Lacy is a lucky horse to have an owner like Sarah listen to her. It had been suggested that Lacy be sent to a "cowboy" to get bucked out... I could only imagine what that may have done to her spirit.

So I am hopeful this is the answer we are needing for sweet Lacy to succeed. I will keep updates coming as new news arrives. As of now, we are planning for Lacy to come back into training as soon as the snow melts and she is finished on her treatment! I am so excited to see how she is feeling at that time. I am anxious!

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