Since I last gave an update almost a month ago about Ryon’s behavioral issues under saddle, we’ve had the vet come out and do a full body examination on him. What he found reiterates the fairly obvious but oft-forgotten rule: If your horse’s behavior changes all of a sudden, first check for any underlying health issues.
My trainer and I realized it was a physiological problem during the past few weeks. He was ready to be done with lessons after the first round of warm ups and let me know by mouthing at my feet in the stirrups. Usually Ryon’s not ready to leave the arena until the very end of a lesson and after he feels high and mighty about the jumps he’s conquered (faster and better than the other horses). Lately, he’s been more than satisfied as a casual observer watching our new little Quarab hop around.
In the jump arena, due to his naughty / dangerous behavior, we had resorted to putting him into a pelham to try and tame the fit-throwing that occurred. In his anxiety, he ended up aggravating his withers (horse shoulders), most likely due to discomfort ultimately stemming from the ringbone he has in his front right ankle. If you recall, this is the ankle that we had injected last fall, and unfortunately it’s back and nagging at him again. Dr. Anderson flexed his right front, and he almost fell over. So he’s now been limited him to flat work until he works out his soreness. For his long-term prognosis, our vet doesn’t recommend that we take him over jumps that are higher than a meter. This for the pony who was flying over 1.20 meter jumps with the warmbloods a few months ago.
It’s still early days into his recent diagnosis, and my trainer and I are formulating a game plan for him. The first order of business is to get him back to feeling his goofy self again so we’re giving him Previcox and bute. However, the harsh reality of the matter may be that he needs to find another home and another job - one where he can meander along a trail, do fancy flatwork, or mini jump courses every once in awhile. I’m trying to stay optimistic about his future and what the next few months hold. In my mind’s eye, I keep picturing a lush green field with other horse friends for him, where he can run around and play and eat to his heart’s content, but it’s heartbreaking to think that it’s potentially not with me. The ups and downs of horse ownership are killer, and hopefully I’ll be able to share better news with you all soon.