Thank you to everyone that has offered their advice on treatment for arthritis in horses! I feel that I have some really great information and possible options. I know my horse is just not himself. His bones are snap/crackle/popping, he's resting that left leg more often, he's moving out stiff and slow. I hate to see him that way. Even Paint Girl's OH says he doesn't run and buck and kick at feeding time like he used to. But don't worry- he is eating well! My Boy is a food monger and if he loses his appetite, I'll know something is really wrong!
In addition to the MSM, I put him back on a joint supplement this weekend. It is one he was on before, which is about the best I can get locally. However, it is a 3-in-1 type of supplement (also for coat and hoof) and since My Boy already gets his selenium and other vitamins in his regular supplement (I call it his "grain", but it is not grain-based) I want to put him on a straight joint supplement with a combination of the key ingredients- Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM/Hyaluronic Acid. I am considering two reader-recommendations which I will have to order online.
The weekend was busy. I was on vacation last week, so when I got back into town from visiting family, I spent a lot of time with My Boy! He was walked/trotted on the longe line every day. We did a lot of hand-walking to warm up. On Saturday, Paint Girl's OH and I bought out the local feed store of all their grass hay, so we are stocked up for a couple of months. Helping unload nearly 30 bales of hay will help that upper body bone strength the doctor was telling me about at my physical last week. I also need to "make sure I get my calcium and vitamin D." You see, My Boy isn't the only one getting old and having issues!
Also on Saturday, I also had my fourth saddleseat lesson.SmartAlex from the Bringing up Baby blog in my lesson video post questioned the instructor using the snaffle bit. This time, the instructor changed out Zoe's bridle. Zoe wore both the curb and the snaffle bit but the rein came down from the headstall and went through the snaffle ring, but not directly attached to it. Does that make sense?
There was a lot going on in the arena. Someone was riding another horse in a lesson with another trainer. There was also another student in the lesson with me, a 13 year old girl who has been taking lessons for 2 years. She rode the white Arab, the "Steady Eddie." The instructor warned me that the cold snap in the air had her first two lesson horses pretty wired first thing that morning, but Zoe was fine.
The Steady Eddie
My first two laps around the arena were not pretty. My instructor had me ride over to her. She took each set of Zoe's reins in her hands around 8" from the bit, then pulled them toward her, showing me how much pressure to use when I "play" with her mouth to set her up into the bridle. This was really helpful. We had slower, more collected gaits. We trotted a lot. My legs looked good, in fact, my instructor told me they could come forward a bit! I think my stirrups were a hole shorter than last week, this might have helped.
The canter felt good, too. Much slower and in control. I would say that without the rein on the snaffle, Zoe pulled out of the bridle and tried to avoid holding her neck up more. It had a tendency to pull me forward. My instructor joked at one point that I was looking like a hunt seat rider. But I knew that, because I noticed it in my shadow as we rode along the southern wall of the arena. I needed to sit back in that saddle and pull my ribs up!All in all, it was a better lesson.My instructor reiterated it again, it takes a long time to learn to ride this horse. I feel I made progress. I really want to do well, but I am also not frustrated that the learning curve is slow.
The 13 year old and I got to ride the horses up to outdoor arena to cool them out. It was around 11 a.m. and getting warmer. In the outdoor arena, which is in the full sun and on top of a slight hill, there was a great view of a large farm field full of swampy water and a flock of Canada geese. Maybe they were taking a break from the Olympics? As we walked around, I felt like I was going on a country "hack." We walked for about ten minutes, even stopping to watch a coyote stalk the geese. It was the closest thing I've come to a trail ride since last summer!
Paint Girl will be on her way home soon, hopefully arriving on my birthday. What a treat that will be! Not that I'll get to see her until the weekend. She'll be busy sleeping, unpacking, and taking care of all the critters she's missed.
Lastly, I send the warmest thoughts of sympathy to our dear friend Linda over at the 7msn Ranch blog,who unexpectedly had to have her horse Lyle euthanized this weekend. My heart goes out to her as she and her ranch crew adjust to life without their beloved sorrel friend.