Well, it was 40 degrees yesterday (December 18th) so of freaking course I had to trash all of my well behaved plans and get on a horse. I had planned to get on Bailey, but found her unwilling to rise from a nap in the dark so I did chores first, and then turn in. And then, because apparently I'm a glutton for punishment, I decided, randomly, to lunge Arya in tack. Which turned into riding her. And Bailey basically got skipped because my solar lights ran out of juice as we were starting trot work.
I had planned to give Arya some (more) time off to let the Nexium do it's thing (again) but guess what, guys? It's already doing it's thing. She lunged out nicely but seemed to not trust the ground, which was kind of half melted, half frozen. There was one spot where she kept pulling me out and then ending up on the slick spot, so we had to do some gentle reminders that we don't just pop our shoulder and fly sideways on the line. I was a bit nervous about my decision to ride once I made it- she seemed to be swishing her tail a lot as we went to get the mounting block and didn't want to stand nicely without being gotten after... but no fireworks.
I had been wishing that she would learn to walk and hack like a Denny Emerson horse and I think I might be getting my wish; she marched out pretty politely, and didn't dance around or get weird like she can when she thinks she needs to canter canter canter (Foxie was much worse about this) the minute you get on. She walked out and snorted and sighed, and didn't offer the trot. We did some trotting and again, she was good, if a bit tense. I can't tell if the tension may be protecting her stomach, not wanting to move out on the ground or if she's just... tense. She was, however, very rideable in both directions. She wasn't perfect, but she like... was willing to try bending and was mostly remembering what half halts were. I have low expectations, what can I say :D
Her canter work was very conservative - she basically wanted to drop to a trot whenever she went through one area where she had slipped previously, despite having since broken the ground down enough that I felt she had decent grip. She's a cautious one! On the other 3/4 of the circle she was steady and good, with just some mild headbanging to remind me that she is a baby OTTB who probably hasn't willingly cantered in weeks due to the ground and she had feelings about it. Which luckily, she didn't act on. Maturity, people.
For a 20 minute ride, it was a good one. She's definitely still got ulcers; I think the tail swishing, and the way she reacted to being brushed tells me that, but she's definitely feeling better. I'm disappointed that the supplement and management I've been doing hasn't been enough; I did swap her to the Smartpak Leg Up Stomach pellets a couple of weeks before she started acting up, but I'm not sure if that means her previous supplement wasn't working, or if this new one isn't working. Or if neither of them work? I need to figure out how I feel about the supplement... hopefully I didn't just buy a year supply of something that doesn't work for her
I've been doing lots of math when it comes to Calcium content of supplements, alfalfa pellets and the two feed options (regular and gastric care Ultium) but I'm lacking so much experience with ulcers. Does anyone have a winning combo they'd be willing to share? I feel like majorly lack experience in caring for an ulcery horse, and these relapses don't exactly help my lack of confidence in this type of management.
I also am taking note here and on my calendar of her behavior; our ride last night was marked with an open mouth/chomping a lot and an extraordinary amount of rooting to stretch down. It got quite annoying, but she really seemed to want to streeeeetch all the way down, and shockingly her short little neck can make my reins feel too short, like I need OS reins. Could it be a stomach stretching maneuver? The dog stretches when he eats too fast and his stomach hurts because it's too full (he has the weirdest problems)... or perhaps a reaction to walking like she's on eggshells for the last several weeks as the footing has been rutted and rock hard with no snow to pad it, despite cold temps. I'm hoping we get some snow once we go back to non randomly-tropical winter temps.