It seems like every time I start to make some progress with Ria, we hit some sort of hiccup! This past month started out well, with several more rides under Ria’s and my belts, including the start of a few ground poles. I also decided that a friend’s old dressage saddle seemed to work a little better for both me and Ria, so I returned the Kent & Masters and bought the dressage saddle instead. A few days before Christmas, I had my boyfriend come to the barn to take a video of me riding Ria, so that I could see how she actually looked under saddle.
After seeing the videos, I was concerned with how much she was opening her mouth and trying to evade the bit, so I sent several videos to my OTTB mentors. One suggested that she looked weak behind, which could indicate EPM. I was also thinking that she could have some dental issues going on, as I discussed the bit evasion with her previous racetrack trainers, and they all mentioned that she’s done that for several years, despite having worn pretty mild bits. (I have her in a French link lozenge at the moment) Out of an abundance of caution, I scheduled an appointment with the vet and stopped working with Ria under tack until I understood what was going on with her physically.
The vet was able to come by last Wednesday morning. When I went to pull Ria from the paddock, I noticed that she had blood coming out of both nostrils. After getting her back to the barn, we determined that she had whacked the top of her nose pretty hard sometime during turnout that morning. Thankfully, the vet assured me that it wasn’t anything to be overly concerned about. I had her evaluate Ria for EPM, which she found no evidence of (phew!), and then had her teeth floated and x-rayed. After reviewing the x-rays thoroughly, the vet determined that her teeth were textbook perfect, so there was no reason to think that the bit was causing her any pain.
While under sedation, Ria’s head dropped pretty low to the ground, leading to a worsening nosebleed. By the end of the appointment, the wash stall we were in looked like a murder scene. I’m still so grateful that the vet was already on her way when I discovered it, because I would have been a nervous wreck otherwise.
It’s taken longer than we initially expected for the swelling around Ria’s nose to go down, so we were briefly concerned that she may have fractured her nasal bone, but that no longer seems to be the case. She’s doing much better now and I’m hoping to get back in the saddle later this week.
Submitted by Lauren Floyd, WVS club member