Since Gina initially went lame last month, I’ve been (mostly) patiently waiting for her to jog sound again. I’m eager to get back out in the hunt field and excited to work on polishing our First Level skills.
The first week or so after she came up lame, I soaked her heel in Epsom salts, then applied Magic Cushion every other day. She improved dramatically, but still wasn’t quite right. There was no abscess, so I figured she just needed more time to heal. She kept improving, right up until we had a couple of weeks of very cold weather. And then she started limping again. The barn owner and I are guessing the jagged, frozen mud around the paddock gate and water trough caused her to re-bruise the heel.
Gina’s hooves had been trimmed about two weeks before Christmas hunt, when she went lame; I didn’t think her bruised heel merited a visit from the farrier right this minute for shoes, so I waited until the farrier was out at his regularly scheduled interval. (The barn has the farrier out every 6 weeks. Previously, I used to have them trimmed every 8-10 weeks, so every 6 weeks feels like constantly!) She had front shoes put on a couple of weeks ago, and has been steadily improving since. The mild weather (and soft mud) has helped, too!
The barn owner uses Gina in lessons and has been fantastic about keeping me updated on Gina’s state of soundness. She’ll text me to say, “Gina’s still a little off, but way better than she was on Friday!” I feel kind of bad that Gina’s main lesson kid who absolutely loves her hasn’t been able to ride her for a month, but I’m glad such responsible people are keeping an eye on my crabby mare.
I rode Moe yesterday, then hopped on Gina to see for myself how she felt. She seemed almost happy to see me (although not as happy as Moe was when he realized I’d brought him donut holes) and under saddle, she was all business. After some walking, I trotted her on a loose rein for a few laps in each direction. She whizzed around in her biggest, least put-together trot with zero short steps, head bobs, or other not-quite-rightness. I asked the barn owner for her opinion and she agreed that Gina looked 100% sound. Hooray!
I asked Gina to get on the bit and collect herself a little, and she felt awesome! We did a little cantering in each direction, complete with nice transitions and a beautiful gait. I might be giving her too much credit; after all, I’ve been riding Moe exclusively for the better part of a month and he is definitely not as fancy or educated as Her Royal Highness Queen G. But all the same, it’s nice to have my magnificent mare back in work!