Finally, it's a little bit warmer today and when the thermometer got up over 32 the little bit of snow on the arena roof started to slide off. Penny's ring is one of the domed, plastic covered ones. When the snow comes off, not only does it make a weird zipping noise, but you can see the shadow of it as it lets go from inside the ring. Thomas has always been a complete chicken about snow on roofs, so I knew this was going to be a problem.
Today when I tacked him up he was already uptight because the snow had been coming off the barn roof too. He almost broke the cross ties twice, when he heard strange noises. So I chose to tack him up to be lunged first. There were two other horses in the ring when we went in there (both being very mature and reasonable). Thomas scooted around on the lunge for 5 minutes or so before he settled down a little. The snow wasn't actually coming off the roof while we were in there, but any sudden noise would send him off. He did settle and looked pretty good and then he spooked and tripped himself and was off (lame) for a circle or so. He worked out of that and settled back down, but kept spooking and then tightening everything up again.
So here's my question: does EPSM make their muscles hurt when they are nervous? Can the added adrenaline cause cramping? Today he looked fine, even relaxed and loose, until he got spooked and then he'd seize up and look very stiff and uncomfortable. It was a battle of opposites. I did get on him for a brief spell but he was so tight and uncomfortable I didn't pursue that for long. I put him back on the lunge so I could see what was happening. I was pleased to see that he was using his body quite well- really stretching over his back and swinging through his shoulder- until he spooked and then it would all fall apart for awhile, until he took a deep breath and released the tension, and was able to stretch again.
I found this today on Beth Valentine's Rural Heritage (EPSM) site (http://www.ruralheritage.com):
"The aspect of nervousness is an
interesting one. If you look at the topic of
whole body glucose (sugar) metabolism
you find that gender, epinephrine
(adrenaline - which is increased in
excited or nervous horses), exercise, and
a whole slew of other factors come into
play. We still have so much to learn!"
So much to learn indeed!