Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another Glitch in Gabbrielle's Training

I call Gabbrielle my bunny, because she's so soft and sweet and petite. My poor bunny somehow injured herself again, which is going to cause another delay in her training. I saddled her up and lunged her, but she didn't want to move up to the trot. I thought the heat was just getting to her, so I put the pressure on until she trotted. Once I mounted, I couldn't get her to move forward. Each time I squeezed with my legs and clucked, she'd take several giant steps back. She kept backing up in a circle until she was about to back into the metal step stool I used to mount her.

I was worried that she'd knock it over, it would go clang, and she'd have a big spook. I kept pressuring her to go forward to get away from the stool, but she just kept backing up. So, I let her back up and I steered her backwards around the stool. She missed it by an inch.

I could sort of move her forward if I turned her in circles to the right. However, she did not want to bend her shoulder to the left. She would stand still and bend her neck to the left and touch her nose to my toe, but she didn't want to unlock that left shoulder.

So, I tried circling to the right and coming out of the circle at a walk, but she got all jiggy on me and kept balking. I couldn't tell if she was confused or if she was testing me or if she was in pain. She shouldn't be confused, because I'm consistent in my cues and I've had success with her moving forward for several rides now. She seems too sweet to be the kind of horse to test me this early on in her education. I decided to dismount and get my husband to help.

I wanted him to lead her on the forward cue like we did when we first started her training. However, even with him holding the lead rope and walking forward, Gabbrielle kept walking backwards. When we did get her moving forward, she kept walking sideways into my husband. He said she was nipping at his hand to tell him to let go of the lead rope. This is a horse that has never tried to bite a human before.

My husband said he thought something was really off about her. As we were troubleshooting, my nosy neighbor came out on his porch to watch. Gabbrielle popped her head up and we lost her. She stopped trying to listen to us and kept her eye on my neighbor. I wanted to ask him to go back inside his house, so that we could finish our troubleshooting without distractions, but the guy has the right to sit on his own porch anytime he wants, unfortunately.

My husband was trying to stand back and watch her legs while I tried to move her forward, but we didn't think the problem was there. It was most likely her neck or shoulder. What worries me is that her dam had to be put down due to extreme arthritis in one shoulder. It makes me wonder if Gabbrielle might have inherited some condition in her shoulder.

When she started putting her hind legs underneath her like a dog when you try to drag it on its leash to the bathtub or the vet, my husband said he didn't feel comfortable doing any further work with her. I dismounted, untacked her and gave her some treats. Since the show was over, my nosy neighbor went back inside his house, making sure to slam the door as loudly as possible to spook my horse.

Lostine got Gabbrielle into a corner and tried to kick her, because it was feeding time. I had never seen Lostine do that before, so I hollered at her. Lostine then moved her rear and let Gabbrielle out. My husband pointed out that even though Lostine was kicking her, Gabbrielle still would not turn to the left to avoid getting kicked. So, it looks like I will be limited to grooming and massaging her for a while. If I don't see any improvement, I may have to take her to a vet or a chiropractor.

I did notice that she had not-so-fresh scabs on her legs as if she had fallen down. She could have been galloping around and wiped out, bruising her shoulder or tweaking her neck in the process. It's times like this when I wish horses could speak to tell me what happened.

14 comments:

KD said...

It's truly aggravating when you don't know what's wrong.... hope it's nothing serious.

fernvalley01 said...

It does sound like she is suffering some discomfort, good luck with a quick recovery

Breathe said...

How odd! I hope you solve the puzzle soon.

Katharine Swan said...

If you have time, you ought to hang out in or by the paddock and watch her move around. Act like you're reading or something until the horses start ignoring you. A little unobtrusive observation might help you figure out what is wrong.

allhorsestuff said...

Oh, this does NOT sound too good Nuzz...I'd get the therapist out ASAP...do you have an Equine thrapist?Chiro or massage?How is her eyesight?
I am sorry and will be hoping that the answers are apparent soon!
Kac

allhorsestuff said...

PS

Love your nickname...our kitten, we call a rabbit ..she is soft and bouncy too!

manker said...

yup.. whenever you go down and you see **sigh** yet another boo boo.. you just wish they'd fess up.

Agree with Katharine.. .see if you can just take some time to watch her and see what's happening up close and in person...

gp

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I spend time with the horses every time that I clean manure. She moves fine. She didn't have any odd movements to suggest lameness when I lunged her. The problem is only when we are trying to pull her head to the left with a lead rope or reins.

AareneX said...

A good equine chiropractor is worth gold, IMHO.

The first time I took a horse in for treatment, I had put it off because I thought it might be expensive voodoo. I was certainly surprised at a relatively low treatment bill AND the immediate improvement in my mare's ability to move.

These days, the chiro is our first stop when something isn't quite right. It's not always the perfect fix, but my chiro is also a vet and can move from manipulation to other types of diagnosis/treatment. Gold, pure gold.

I hope you have somebody as wonderful available to you--and I hope Gabbrielle feels better soon!

Once Upon an Equine said...

I hope Gabbrielle improves soon. Sorry to hear she is off. That's a big wabbit in that picture. Love the ears.

Alex said...

oh goodness- i hate things like this that are hard to pinpoint. i hope you can get it figured out soon! Poor girl, im glad you and your husband listened to her- it really pays to know your horses... people who dont have that relationship can often try to push their horses through...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Awwww, your poor sweet bunny girl. I sure hope it's nothing serious and that with some rest and massage, she'll be feel better.

That's a cute pic of the bunny. Was it taken during your fishing trip?

~Lisa

Katharine Swan said...

NM, I'm not so sure lameness is the only possibility here. Also, didn't you say that she wouldn't move to the left even to avoid being kicked by Lostine?

Andrea said...

If only horses could talk. She could just come out and say, "mom, I fell and I am a bit off today." I hope she gets to feeling better soon. I have my 4 year old gelding that I wish I could know what he was thinking. He is the sweetest boy on the ground and then to ride, he is a pistol. Not that he is mean but he just wants to GO!! Which I do not want to go. So we have conflicting ideas of riding.