I just realized my last few posts about Satin have all been about our lessons, so figured it was about time to give some general updates.
Last week, in the days leading up to our lesson, she was acting a bit funny about taking the bit. She always grabs the bit eagerly out of my hand. When I ride her in the hackamore she even tries to grab the hackamore chain like it is a bit. So, when she suddenly started refusing the bit, I found it very odd.
Then at our lesson on Wednesday she refused even more than she had been. She clamped her mouth shut and was pulling her head up and away from me. It took me almost five minutes of fighting with her to get her to take it. In all of these instances, once I got the bit in she was fine. She did not act funny or in pain while riding. This time however, she had foam coming out of the right side of her mouth. It was white and bubbly and made her look like she had rabies. It was coming out and dripping everywhere.
After I finished riding, R has me clean out her mouth with the hose so she could look inside. We had quite a lot of fun trying to hold open her mouth to inspect it with a flashlight (except not really). She is usually good for the dentist, but was not too happy with us, though she wasn't too bad, just kept wanting to clamp her mouth shut. We did not see anything that appeared infected or anything like that. There were some points on the inside of the teeth, but nothing major. This was odd being that she just had her teeth floated about 6 weeks ago and my dentist is always very thorough. The other thing we noticed was that she had a lot of hay and grass and what not stuck on the inside of her back teeth on the right side. We took her back outside and R hosed out her mouth again, trying to target the stuff stuck on the inside of the teeth.
Luckily, R's husband D, who is a farrier, and as much of a horse guru as R, was there to assist. R had him hold open her mouth after this and they both examined it and neither could see anything causing the problem. R suggested calling my dentist back in and riding her without a bit until then.
I rode her the next day just bareback in her halter. I gave her that Friday off and then Saturday rode her western in the hackamore and she went to grab the chain as always. This immediately caught my attention. She rode perfectly. We even did the collected circle, extended circle exercise I had down with Taz and she did it very nicely. I have done similar exercises with her in the bit, so was not sure how she would do in the hackamore, but she was great.
Anyway, I relayed the hackamore story to R the following day and she said maybe we had gotten it out when hosing and it was related to the stuff packed on the inside of the teeth. She suggested going ahead and giving the bit a try. Later that day I tacked her up English and she turned her head away from the bit the first time, but when I asked her again she took it with no issue. I rode her around, asking her to get on the bit, and jumped her a little (which she did very nicely and quietly) and there was no foam whatsoever. Whatever it was it looks like we got it, thankfully.
We also changed her diet, since she on occasion will leave over some of her pellet. She was getting half a scoop of sweet feed and half a scoop of pellet, plus her equijewel and cortaflex (joint supplement). R and I both felt she had lost a little weight, most likely due to the bad batch of hay we had gotten at the farm. She wasn't leaving enough grain or leaving it often enough to cause the change. R suggested changing her feed and putting her on a full scoop of sweet plus her supplements and taking out the pellet. She said if that is what she eats then that is what we should give her. It worked and she has been cleaning up grain consistently since. We also got a new hay delivery which is much nicer than our last batch, so hopefully we can get her back to bring a chunky monkey in no time.