08-07-2012, 12:13 AM
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Why ruling out pain is IMPERATIVE!
Well today was my first trail ride on Spirit in 6 weeks after breaking my rib in a fall. I was so excited to get back on and I was excited for her that she got to do what she loves out in the woods! After grooming, I saddled her up and put her bridle on. A non event. I went to lead her out of the barn and she seemed hesitant. I thought well I guess she's not as excited to get out on the trail as I thought she would be. My lazy girl walked along just fine until I had to turn her left. She started doing this weird thing shaking her head and I thought she had a fly on her face. My riding partner in front of me said well I don't see a fly on her face. She kept shaking her head constantly and this has never been something I've seen her do. So my riding partner said she's probably just not wanting that bit in her mouth after not having one in there for so long. I ride with a snaffle on loose rein. After this continued I said something is wrong. She's telling me something is wrong. We dismounted and checked everything. Everything seemed normal. Got back on....same thing, shaking her head and she seemed very disturbed. I thought this is REALLY wrong. So I dismounted, used my packed lead rope, wrapped it around her neck and took the entire bridle off and decided to walk her back much to the dismay of my riding partner. During the long walk back I told Spirit that she was in BIG trouble if nothing was wrong with her. At the barn, I took my fingers and rubbed her mouth, including her interdental space and discovered two teeth breaking through the gums on the bottom of the jaw. The gums around the teeth were swollen and red. 28% of mares have CANINE teeth also known as fighting teeth. It is a leftover from prehistoric days of the horse. When I found them with my finger she just let out a huge sigh of relief and put her muzzle in my chest and I could see her eyes relax. She was like, yes, mama, right there it hurts. Those teeth are right where the bit goes. I was so glad I listened to my instincts and Spirit telling me she had a real problem. I was so proud of her that through her pain, she kept good care of me up top. I love her and I think she learned to trust me today even more because she knows that I listen to her through the best communication she knows how to give. I am very proud of her. I've only had her for 4 months and what a strong bond we have already!