Today was a big day. Dr. Howard Ketover (Irongate Equine Clinic) came out to Cedar Hills to evaluate Jimmy and float his teeth. Jimmy was a real trooper! He cantered and trotted as requested in both directions in the round pen, displaying his somewhat disconnected way of moving. Dr. Ketover observed a fixation of the patella and a slight dragging of the left hind foot. The patella problem will most likely be resolved by getting Jimmy into good physical shape and strengthening his musculature. The slight dragging of the hind foot is so far unexplained, possibly slight discomfort in the hock, but should not cause any problems at this point.
Now to the ‘nitty gritty’: the bucking after being saddled. Jimmy’s sweet disposition and willing and cooperative demeanor can make one forget that there was this little problem. Jimmy followed us on a patch of grass by the hitching post, where Dr. Ketover proceeded to tighten a hay bale twine around his girth. Rambazamba! Jimmy did not think this was a good idea, got a somewhat panicked look and crow hopped backwards a few strides. When we repeated the exercise to get it on camera, Jimmy did not repeat the reaction. Time to try a real life saddle. I placed my saddle on his back, slowly tightened the girth and waited for a reaction. Nothing happened, Jimmy seemed relaxed and unworried while we chatted for a few minutes. I then tightened his girth about 1/2 inch more and – holy Zamboni – Jimmy had a similar reaction that lasted only about 3 seconds, but clearly showed that there was an issue here. After thorough palpation Dr. Ketover ruled out pain in the topline. Pain memory or trauma are more likely at this point as reason for this behavior.
Now the teeth: Jimmy took his sedation needle with gentlemanlike indifference. Dr. Ketover found two wolf teeth and a few points that had caused small lacerations his gums. Jimmy endured his float in a dream like state and after he had regained his full senses, enjoyed a good snack of ADM More Glow, Staystrong and apple sauce.
- Jimmy needs exercise and gymnasticizing to strengthen his musculature in the hind end and to help remedy the fixation of the patella. If exercise does not have the desired result, alternative paths can be taken.
- Stefanie needs to explore what exactly sets Jimmy off. For this purpose Stef and Jimmy will play a lot in the round pen with the help of an older English saddle, generously provided by Jackie.
- After some weeks of these activities, Jimmy can be reevaluated.
Stay tuned for the next episode: “Jimmy in the Gym”.