|What chestnut princesses are wearing these days|
Saturday was different.
We started out normally, but then instead of racing the young thing, we followed him. When we reached the top of the hill, Cuna was huffing and puffing while the young thing bucked. As we continued, Cuna sweated profusely and lagged behind the leaping, pracing, dry young thing. He never quit or slowed down--he just wasn't racing to be at the front.
We walked down the steepest hill and started the trek back to the trailer.
Cuna was polite and slow, neck arched like a fancy western pleasure horse. He stopped to poo and didn't race to catch the young thing. He wasn't breathing hard, but his respiration seemed more rapid and shallow than normal. The lather on his neck didn't subside, even in the cool breeze.
Our eventing buddy is familiar with Cuna's proclivities and she was just as struck by his behavior as I was. He was not himself, not at all. He didn't want to step over the little gate to get out and he really didn't want to get on the trailer. I knew his hocks were getting back, but I had never, ever seen him like this.
I took him home and he almost fell out of the trailer. His steps were slow and short and his expression was dull. I almost cried as I curried him dry, picked his hooves, and looked for anything abnormal. His hocks seemed fine, but he didn't want to pick his back legs up at all and he shuffled back to his stall.
When I went home, I did cry. "I think I broke my horse," I told my husband. "I don't even know what I did."
Finally, I got a call from the barn. The possibilities were running through my head, none of them good. Cuna wasn't himself. There wasn't really a good way for this to play out.
The caller was one of Cuna's former owners and one of the most obsessive horse people I know. Nothing slips by her. We talked about Cuna's behavior and how he'd been in the hills. "I think he tied up," she said.
The pieces fell into place. It had to be a mild case, because he could still move. It explained the sweating, the lethargy, even the odd posture on the walk home. His back and hamstrings were rock hard and he was visibly uncomfortable.
I ran out to the barn and fed him all the carrots we had in the house.
|The face of a horse who HATES handwalking|
We have no idea what caused it. He's never done it before. Here's hoping it never happens again. Now I have a set of data points to work with, so I know what it looks like if I see it again.
I know it sounds dramatic, but I thought I was going to lose him. I have never seen him like that before, and I am so happy to have him back.