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Wizard Session 451, Rides 452 & 453 (and Veterinary Report): First in Line to See the Plan

March 26, 2013

Wizard has spring fever

On Monday (3/18), the vet came to the barn for Wizard’s annual wellness exam. I asked her for her thoughts on the fact that he lost a little weight recently. My best guess is that it was caused by the cold weather, plus some horsey paddock changes (Wizard is pretty sensitive to the goings-on of his neighbors). We ran a Cushings test so it could be ruled out (it was negative, fortunately). Wizard has 24/7 access to locally-grown, quality grass hay, and he’s on about 2 acres of good grass (which is coming out of winter dormancy). This week, Wizard’s feed was increased to 4lbs per feeding. He currently is fed Triple Crown Senior, but he’s been quite slow to eat it lately, so about 1/3 of each feeding has been replaced with Pennfield Energized Senior, which he LOVES. If we don’t see a weight increase with the grass popping up and the month of omeprazole (started on 3/2) and PowerPac deworming, a pound of Purina Ultium per feeding is another option since it is very high in calories. The vet will be back out in May for spring shots, so she can pull blood if his weight does not change. She taped him at about 1,018 pounds. I definitely want to see him looking a little plump going into next winter.

We’re starting Wizard on a course of Pentosan, with a loading dose of 6cc per week for four weeks, followed by monthly shots. After hearing rave reviews from some barn buddies, I’m looking forward to seeing how it helps Wizard.

Wizard also had his teeth floated. He still has a wave mouth, but the bottom row matches the top, so the teeth are occluding where the “wave” is in his mouth. A few edges, but nothing that should be causing chewing/digestive issues. He has some gingival inflammation next to a premolar, so the vet will check back on it when she does her next visit.

Friday, 3/22/13

It seems like every week, it rains just when the ground is getting nice and dried out. It happened again this week. By the time Friday rolled around, we had a nice base in the outdoor arena, and the Assunpink footing was good enough for a walk. Since I did not get the saddle bolt yet, I hand walked Wizard in the park with Christie and Brigid. We were out for about 45 minutes. Wizard remembered his trail schooling, and did well as the second horse in line.

When we returned, I put him on two longe lines and did a short session with him in the outdoor arena. Although he was enjoying the cool air, he was responsive enough on the lines and was able to do some shortening and lengthening work for me.

Saturday, 3/23/13

My friend has a Kent & Masters saddle, and generously let me borrow the bolt that holds the gullet plate so I can RIDE- hooray! I was concerned that the housing for the bolt might have been stripped, but it held just fine, so I think the screw was just loose when I tried out the saddle the first time.

We went for a walk in the Assunpink with Brigid and Christie. Up a hill, down a hill, through several fields, we were out for about 35-45 minutes, all at a walk. Wizard fussed right at the beginning, but was pretty great the rest of the time.

Sunday, 3/24/13

I hand walked Wizard on the trails with Kris and Sunny before our ride on Sunday, and he was very good. I tried to switch up the trails a little bit so he did not get bored with the same loops. After we returned, I saddled him up and rode in the outdoor arena. Rain and snow were expected at the beginning of the following week, so I enjoyed an afternoon of good outside footing. For the first 10 minutes of our walk warmup, Wizard fussed quite a bit, kicking and pinning his ears. Since I’ve spent almost 5 years trying to figure out his physical issues, I’m quite in tune with them, but I also try hard not to let them become a habit. Since he walked nicely with minimal fussing the previous day, I asked him to turn after each kick on Sunday. Whether he worked out of it or simply got bored of my game, he settled out of his tantrum and we had a nice little ride. Our session lasted about 30 minutes with warmup and cooldown, so it was quite light. I don’t want to make him sore, especially while we break in the new saddle.

At the trot, I asked Wizard to go over a few poles and do some changes of direction. I tried my best to stay aware of my equitation in the new saddle. So far, I quite like it. The seat and twist are a nice fit for me, and for the first time in years, I can sit evenly with both seatbones. In the other saddles, I had a horrid habit of hooking one seatbone on the saddle while I hovered above the saddle with the other one. In the new saddle, I’m doing my best to channel my inner Sally Swift and stay evenly over Wizard’s back.

In the field next to the arena, the grass is springing up, and I let Wizard graze there for a while after each session. Although riding is the highlight of my barn visits, I’m sure the grazing is Wizard’s highlight!

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