Blog for November and December 2015
During November I focused on perfecting our transitions to make sure Elton is pushing into the transitions and staying soft into the contact, this is most challenging in transitions to the halt as Elton automatically hollows into the contact so I have been making the transitions more progressive so Elton has time to stay balanced and hopefully soft into the contact – well that’s the plan but as with all horses nothing ever goes as planned. So we have been halting on small circles to encourage Elton to stay connected, he’s getting better but this is still working progress as he often still does his giraffe impression. We have also been working on the freewalk as Elton is far too nosey but this has improved a great deal.
Our training became to an abrupt halt at the end of November when he came in from the field, at first he just seemed very quite and not interested in anything which is very unusual for Elton as he is always busy playing with something or looking for attention. He had seemed normal all day wondering around the field with his little companion. So we put him in his stable where he just stood at the back with his head down, he wouldn’t eat any food that we offered him or drink his water. Elton loves his food and has never turned any food away since we bought him in May. On a closer look he wouldn’t open his mouth and his gums were pale so I phoned the vet out to come as soon as possible as we were increasingly worried about him. When the vet arrived nothing had changed so the vet gave him a good examination and ruled out colic but he had a raised heart beat and was dehydrated although he had free access to water in the field. He was also passing droppings normally, he just wasn’t himself. So the vet carried on checking him over, tubed electrolytes into Elton as he was dehydrated and gave him some pain relief. After looking at him for over an hour his heart beat had thankfully returned to normal. The vet decided to let Elton rest with regular check ups and to leave him with a bowl of soaked warm grass nuts to see if we could encourage him to eat as physically the vet couldn’t find a cause for him not eating or drinking. I was to phone the vet immediately if Elton got any worse or if there was any change. Over night he remained the same but thankfully by morning was eating and drinking as normal and seemed back to his normal self. It was very worrying and strange as there was no explanation for him being unwell. As a precaution I gave him a few days off so he could rest and just to make sure there were no recurrences. Once I started working Elton again I gave him a few easier days just to make sure he was okay before picking up where we left off.
Over Christmas and New Year I decided to give Elton a holiday before picking our training up again in the New Year as he has had a lot to learn in the last few months since we bought him and has taken everything on board, after all not many five year olds have to learn a whole new set of aids and to work independently without the leg to support them. With young horses I think it’s important that they have their down time so we don’t fry their brains or become stale in the school.