Horse Life

Start at the Trainer’s, End at the Vet

P has been…somewhat subdued lately. I first noticed it when, after having 5 days off after Hillcrest, I went out to the barn and was able to do this:


He seemed his regular self the next day, Friday, when I took him for an hour long trail ride though, and also on Saturday, when we moved to the new barn and went exploring.

He got off Sunday, then Monday was the lesson with Trainer J, where his inner-turtle shone through, but I just figured he was showing off for Trainer J as usual. And promptly ordered a dressage whip.


It’s here!


Tuesday we popped around the jumps in the arena and a couple on the trail. Seemed fine. Wednesday I put my dressage tack on and he was again, behind the leg, but I attributed it to him being distracted by all the horses being turned out and him having to work in the dressage arena.


Which leads us to yesterday. Tacking him up at Trainer B’s, he looked like this, despite people riding horses out in the field- something he usually watches intently.


It was a bit hot, around 85 degrees, when I got on and started warming up. Where upon Trainer B remarked, “He’s quite calm today.”

Me (huffing and puffing because we trotted one whole lap and I practically had to pony kick the entire time): “A little too calm.”

So, ok. Maybe jumping will perk him up. But P just trots up, jumps, and…trots away.


Ok then.

So then we cantered it and it takes me the full length of the arena to convince him to canter, but we do and he lands…trotting again.


Since when?

So Trainer B decided to take advantage of the calmness and points us to the spookier jumps- the white lattice he’s stopped at, the flamingo jump he’s stopped at, the brush oxer he’s stopped at (see a theme?) and the liverpool, which we’ve never jumped but P always gives the side eye to when we go past it.

This will definitely get the energy going.


He jumped all of them, no stops…but promptly halted himself after each one.

Trainer B: Are you sure you brought the right horse?

Me: Ummmm, actually no.

So then we head to the field because just MAYBE that will wake him up. And because the roll top is out there and heaven knows he needs all the roll top jumps he can get. Trainer B says to gallop over the ditch. I ask for the gallop, P offers no more than a gentle canter, and then slows himself down right after. That NEVER happens.



So we do the ditch a few times until I LOOK UP AND STOP STARING INTO THE DITCH (for goodness sakes, woman, pull it together), then go to the dun, dun, dun…rolltop.

And he stops.


Ok, so I did bring the right horse. That’s something, I suppose.

Rein back, trot, he goes over it, and the little plank behind it. So then Trainer B has us start at a log down the hill from the RT, go over the RT, down over the plank, rollback to the right to go over the vertical and end with the ditch.


P when he heard the course


P goes over the log, over the RT, over the plank, then I turn him right to head down the hill to the vertical and…he stopped. Not at the jump, oh no, we didn’t get that far. Just stopped, like his battery died and he couldn’t go anymore.


By this time, Trainer B has already checked his pulse, his temp and his gums. Because something just isn’t right. So we decide to quit, because even though he’s physically looking ok, this just isn’t him. And Trainer B advises to give it a couple days and if he’s still like this, maybe have the vet do a blood panel.

LOL at Trainer B for thinking I’d wait a few days.


As soon as I pulled out of the driveway, I called the vet, since their clinic is in the same town as Trainer B’s. I asked if anyone was around to draw blood and miraculously, a vet was on his way back from a call and could do it within an hour or so.

So we got there to wait.

P when you sit in the truck:


P when you sit by the fence:


What a stalker.

Then the vet got there and drew some blood. It only took TEN MINUTES to get the results back.

His white blood cell count was a bit low, but temp was normal. Vet thinks he’s been fighting a low-grade fever, which would explain the lethargy.

Then the muscle enzyme CK (Creatine kinase) was slightly elevated as well. AST was trending upwards but still in normal range, which indicates some muscle stuff going on. He palpated P and P was visibly sore from withers to hindquarters. And I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve palpated his back before and P just looks around like he’s bored. The vet does it and he’s practically on the floor.

The vet wasn’t too concerned at this time, his opinion for now is that P is extra sensitive the way we all are when we’re not feeling good. For some unknown reason I asked if saddle fit might play a part and he said, “it could,” which then sent me into despair and I just about threw myself on the floor and had a tantrum.


$85 lesson turned into $200 vet visit. Lucky I kinda like you.


So P got a shot of B-12 to increase his energy (never thought I’d EVER pay for something to do that) and then got sent home with 3 days worth of Robaxin, a muscle relaxant. So I had to bring out my trusty medical supplies from the ulcer days:


This looks familiar
The only way P will eat pills


My friend is going out there today to do PEMF on him, and we’ll probably go for a light ride. He’ll get Saturday and Sunday completely off, then supposed to have a Trainer J lesson Monday morning.

Always something with horses.



19 thoughts on “Start at the Trainer’s, End at the Vet”

  1. yikes i hope you figure it out. I wonder if the weather change has anything to do with it as well (it is hot back up here too wtf!) UGH i have a lesson tomorrow with Remus and am sure i will have to use that dead battery photo as well.

    He is so cute, P though. I guess that is why you keep throwing money at him 🙂 LOL!!

    Fingers crossed he bounces back (without bouncing you HA)


    1. Ha, last night I was talking to Trainer B and he was joking that next week P would be back to running off with me. After yesterday I’ll gladly take that over the dead battery!

      He IS cute. Even though I should probably just add him as an authorized user on my bank account. Urgh.

      Good luck tomorrow at your lesson!


      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always something with horses!!! Preach. I know all too well how a routine expense suddenly turns into hundreds of dollars *coughlastweek’svetappointmentcough*

    I hope P feels better quickly. I hate when they’re under the weather because I feel awful and assume it’s my fault.


  3. robaxin is one of charlie’s favorite drugs 😉 (also, not coincidentally, something i wish i could have gotten for isabel every now and then had i been allowed to make those types of decisions….). from what i understand (read: not much haha), some back soreness don’t really go away on their own and need a little help. hopefully it helps get P more comfortable! charlie’s also a little extra lethargic right now bc his winter coat is coming in (patchy af, annoyingly) but the temps are still kinda high in the 80s. maybe now is a good time to see if a flake of alfalfa would get P feeling a bit more full of vim and vigor? can also help keep his tummy settled with the drugs etc. good luck!


    1. That’s a good point- P’s winter coat is starting to come in and temps went from 70s to high 80s-low 90s in the last week 😫 Good call on the alfalfa too, I’m going to see if I can grab some and test it out.


  4. Ugh, P! Why you gotta be this way! Poor dude. And I agree with Emma, as does my equine masseuse. Muscle tension doesn’t usually go away on it’s own. Like people horses will hold their same tension patterns when left to their own devices so they generally need some help by lots of stretchy/supplying work, massage, robaxin or some combo of the three. Here’s hoping this is a tiny blip and P is feeling back to his normal self soon!


    1. That actually makes a lot of sense. My friend just magnawaved him and he was super pulsey all over. But we’ve hardly done anything worthwhile this week so not sure how. He gets PEMF and chiro regularly, but maybe that’s not enough.


  5. Only horse people would be like “Y U SO CRAZY?!” one day and then “Y U NO CRAZY ENOUGH?!” the next. We are a special breed. I hope he feels better with his meds!


    1. If I hadn’t taken him, I would’ve been up all night on the equine version of WebMD and driven myself crazy with worst-case scenarios. Plus, I was 15 minutes away which meant no $100 farm call fee!


  6. It sounds a lot like the start of what Penny had last year – normal temp, lethargy, not wanting to go forward. She still was eating but so chill. It ended up being a tick Bourne virus, but not lyme. Did they check the blood for that? I would be something I would do next if he isn’t better tomorrow. Sending hugs.


    1. No, he didn’t run the tests for Lyme or all that. Because there were some abnormalities in the bloodwork that could explain the lethargy, the vet wanted to give him a couple days to get over the fever completely and the muscle soreness, and if he’s not better by Monday then he’ll go back for more in-depth testing.


  7. Oh no! Maybe it’s a good thing Sunday got cancelled. I hope the meds help and I agree with Emma – try the alfalfa and see how he does. If no better I’d ask the vet to run for Lymes. It is really not that common around here but my friends horse presented similar to P and ended up positive. It sounds so scary but after a month of Doxy her horse was back to the endurance trail no problem.


  8. I love how much you care for P it makes me smile x
    I am so glad he will be feeling well soon. B12 is a fantastic vitamin for us humans too. Keep us up to date with how he is mate
    Mel x


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