Wednesday I had to make a business (and play...) trip to Boston so I lunged Tom for about 15 minutes before I turned him out. He was a little stiff and slightly off in that left front especially to the right. Yesterday I went to the Equine Affaire in Springfield, Mass. on my way back from Boston. I spoke to several people about EPSM. The general consensus seems to be:
1. Cut his grain (low sugar/starch grain only) as much as I dare without his losing weight.
2. Get our hay analyzed and if it is OK sugar-wise feed as much as he needs to maintain a good weight.
3. Use oil but in moderation. The cup a day is fine for now.
4. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.
I was late getting home so my husband kindly chased Tom around in the ring for awhile after he had been out all day.
Today I took him out on the lunge, but this time with the saddle on so I could ride him if he looked OK. I lunged him for about 15 minutes and he looked good so I got on. I hadn't ridden him since October 17th- almost 4 weeks ago! When I first got on he seemed to drop his back and be uncomfortable at the walk. But it didn't take very long (maybe 2 or 3 minutes) before he relaxed and started to swing through his back a little. I walked him for about 5 minutes and then trotted. First trot steps were tentative and ouchy, but again, he loosened up fairly quickly. After 5 minutes he had become nice and forward. I didn't have to push to keep him going. I think I have been pushing him for about 5 years! If I had taken my leg off he would just stop. Today I was using very little leg. What a concept! I let him walk for a bit and then I asked for a left lead canter. He picked it right up and fell into trot after about a half a circle. I let him trot a little then asked for the canter again and he got it and kept it for a whole circle, so I brought him back to trot then walk. To the right (his harder canter side) he picked it right up and maintained it better, but was tending to fall out on the circle. I didn't push it- just made a big fuss and told him he was wonderful and put him away.
He really did feel happier tonight. He's definitely frisky. I've had to use the lip chain bringing him in from the pasture several times. Without it he spins and leaps and generally makes my life less than pleasant. With it he's a quiet puppy.
So I cut his feed down to 1.5 qts of Demand twice a day with a cup of oil and 1 qt. of dry beet pulp (then soaked). I think I'll start switching him to Poulin's Equipro Carb-Safe as soon as I can get to the grain store to pick it up. Poulin's people will come analyze my hay next week.
All for now!