Golly got his annual vaccinations on Friday. I normally give the day off after the vaccinations just in case they don't feel 100% afterwards. This week is our last week before our first canter show though so I wanted to keep him going. As a compromise I lunged him briefly (mostly at the canter) on Saturday. Besides the fact that he was VERY up, he did very well. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the temperatures were only in the lower 50's so I figured the weather had more to do with his attitude than anything else.
Today we went to Oak Ridge Park to use the large ring and then go for a trail ride. We started with our usual walking warm up and he felt fine but a little tight. Nothing major and nothing out of the usual. It was when I started the trot that I could tell his neck was definitely stiff and probably sore. Going to the right he was fine. Going to the left he wouldn't give to the bit and it almost felt as if he was forming a fist on the left side of his neck that prevented him from flexing to that side.
I wanted to get a canter practice in though so after I massaged his neck we did a canter on his easy side first (going to the right). Nice easy transition and brought him down to a trot before he decided to break. Good.
One other transition to the right to canter and this time tried to get him to go a bit further so tapped him with the whip when I felt him slowing. Little buck but he kept going. Brought him back down the trot. Good.
Tried the other side where he has a hard time catching the lead. He offered the wrong lead and I straightened him with a little pulse on the rein. He offered again correctly! Yeah! Because he was stiff on this side and both wanted to reward him for the great effort and make sure I wasn't punishing him by pushing through some pain, we just did a few strides and then brought it back to the trot.
Nice job Golly!
So proud of this guy for the effort he is making. I know its hard to get that big body moving and he is trying anyway.
We finished the day with a nice trail ride through the woods with some friends. When we got back I brought him back into the ring just to see if the trail ride loosened him up but he was still stiff in the same way so we called it a day.
Did some research online regarding the stiffness since it something I haven't experienced before. Seems like its not a common reaction but more often than rare. Some suggested giving the shots in the rear rather than the neck if you are having a stiff neck reaction. Seems like that would just be transferring the stiffness to a different area but maybe the larger muscle mass helps prevent it. I do know that he will get a gram of bute this evening and for the next few days to hopefully help him with any pain and potential inflammation.
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