Puffy scratched up leg
In which we each do our fair share of ruining things...

Two weeks ago during turnout, Mae somehow ended up with a three inch long scrape mark on her back and a swollen back leg with superficial nicks and cuts.  No one at the barn is quite sure how it happened, she could have gotten caught in the fence when she was rolling.  Luckily, a day later the swelling in her leg went down, and the wounds scabbed up quickly.  Her back, however, was a different issue.

Gross
The scrape was conveniently located where the end of my saddle sits (where else would it be, honestly?).  After a few days, it eventually started developing a scab, and I didn’t give it a second though.  After one of my hacks, I pulled off my saddle to reveal a bloody mess; my sweaty saddle pad had rubbed the scab off and reopened the wound.  I cleaned it up and left it alone to heal.  A few days later, right before my lesson, I noticed that the immediate area around the scrape was slightly swollen and tender to the touch.  We canceled the lesson and instead I spent the time scrubbing out her wound with betadine (nope), squeezed out the pus (even bigger nope), and sprayed it down with Alushield.  I’ve been applying Banixx and Alushield on it every day since and thankfully it never swelled back up nor has it reopened.

My white Thinline half pad was dyed pink from her back wound, so instead of running it through the barn’s washing machine, I broke my rule of "No washing horse stuff in my personal washer!" and took it home to bleach and wash.  Two cycles later, the sheepskin fleece had ripped away from one entire half of the pad - UGH.  Tufts of wet fleece coated the inside of the washer, and I’m still finding bits of fluff around the apartment.  I broke out the old sewing kit and three bloody fingers later, it’s more or less good as before.  Maybe Santa will bring me a brand new one for Christmas.

On the hoof status update (for those of you who like to geek out about that kind of thing), this fall we decided not to put back shoes on after she ripped them each off, week after week.  Without the shoes, Mae has chipped up the sides of the back hoof walls, which were already brittle and thin to begin with.  My guess is that the majority of the chipping is due to weakness of her older hoof walls, and the hoof growth coming out right now is good and strong.  Luckily, she hasn’t been lame, hot, or tender on her feet.  Twice a week, I paint Keratex on the front and back hooves and am ready for the farrier to come out for another trim.  Which I'm sure he's really looking forward to since he had to sedate her on his last visit.  She has a bad habit of resting her full weight on whomever has picked up her feet and she gets angry when she’s not allowed to do that and kicks out.  Clearly that’s no-go behavior and we’re slowly working her off of it.  I don’t brace myself with her body when I pick up her feet.  Also, when she got to our barn, her hocks were in horrible condition.  She’s since had hock injections but I think she still expects it to hurt when we pick up her back legs.

However, everything in the saddle is - dare I even say it - progressing wonderfully.  Her flat work is lovely, lovely, lovely and she would be more than content doing that all day long.  She bends around my leg like Ryon never did, with very subtle outside rein and inside leg prompting.  My trainer has asked that I do jump work with Mae on our own, with a focus on the flat before the fence.  We did our first oxer together this past weekend, and she popped over the fence like it was five feet tall.  Despite her progress, my trainer and I are still working very slowly with Mae over the fences.  She still very much has a baby horse brain and lacks the confidence over fences without a strong rider encouraging her forward with their legs.  When we get her brain thinking about flatwork before the fence (in the form of figure 8s and 10m circles), it prevents her from developing anxiety ahead of the fences (read: no rushing).  After the jump, she has learned to canter off very nicely, although I need to bring her attention back to me quicker.

Which leads us to Mae’s November KISS Goals:

Strong healthy feet!

Confidence over fences!

Don’t destroy our new winter blanket one month in!