Now Dodge was firmly mine. I made all the decisions and no one who used to know him was around to tell me what I could and couldn't do for him.
Along with horsey boot camp I also tried desperately to fix his issues. The summer sore was gone, but he still had diarrhea and his feet were a total mess with severe deep central sulcus thrush.
I started Dodge on some supplements for the runs he had, I tried different hays, I tried a lot of stuff. It only got a little better sometimes then back to horrible projectile black water. I just kept trying whatever I could think of. I suspected Dodge had ulcers, probably in the hind gut, but who knew. I didn't need a vet to tell me to try something and see if there was a difference, I just tried it to see if there was a difference. Unfortunately at the boarding barn the hay choices were alfalfa or grass, the alfalfa was rich, for dairy cows, not horses. I did what I could but nothing worked.
The farrier and I worked and worked on Dodge's hooves to set them up correctly. That worked out well, and his central sulcus thrush started going away and the hole started to fill in the best it could. His heels were weak and infected and he had contracted heels on both front feet. We had to leave some heel on for him to stay comfortable, but had to remove some so that spreading could happen. I learned how to trim the hooves a little bit at this point.
Dodge was coming along well in riding. He stopped bolting in the arenas, and he was going into a frame and generally trying a bit more than before. Things still took 10-20 times for him to get it though. Eventually I got him going over little poles and generally getting him to the point where he could walk, trot, and canter under control in a big rodeo size arena.
Dodge and I moved and I started working. I started riding him all the time at the new barn. I didn't want to give up what I had worked for with him, and I wanted him to come along more. All great! Then I get Diablo a month after moving, so I was learning the ropes of having 2 horses. Dodge continued to do well, and he was happy to have Diablo as his friend. I got to have fun with both the boys.
After that it started raining, and some other stuff happened along with that. Dodge has coronary damage on both hinds where his heels have chipped and pulled off. It seems to happen every year after the first good soak. This next year I'm thinking I may need to lop off his heel before it has a chance to rip off. His bars distort to support his hoof where he has no heel. That part of him I'm still learning about.
I noticed Dodge's manure was getting a little firmer than it ever was before in the 3 years since the BLM. Then the hay changed and it was horrible again! I did a lot of research into ulcers and curing then without expensive medications, and looked into a bunch of other possibilities for the problem. I ended up switching him to all pellets, since the barn offered either pellets or grass hay. I also started giving Dodge large loads of psyllium in addition to the other stuff.
Everything started clearing up, so I switched him to hay in the morning and pellets at night. He's doing great so I took the psyllium out and the clays I had been giving him. Eventually I want him to go back on all hay, but the hay is really rough orchard grass and I think Dodge has a sensitive stomach that gets ripped up from the grass, even with him chewing it well enough.
Things were getting checked off the list for Dodge health wise, but I had stopped riding him. It was too wet, and I got a little too risky trying to ride him by the road. A mini horse galloped at him and he spun around the opposite way if how I was pulling him.
Finally it was down to helping his feet. I learned Dodge has something called High/Low Syndrome, which is most likely caused by poor or no hoof care as a youngster, and him always putting the right foot forward while he eats, pushing that foot forward, and lifting the left hoof as it stretched behind him. I can't really fix it now, He's done growing, but I can make slow changes to how he uses his feet to make them more even and comfortable for him. Besides that the thrush hadn't gotten worse with all the storms we had, but it still wasn't quite right either.
I focused my attention to Diablo, who was also healing, and just checked on Dodge a bit... Now that work is over for the summer I am spending my time with Dodge and Diablo is spending some time off.
Were working on getting that riding jazz back, there's some stuff Dodge remembered, but a lot he forgot, we can both be a bit lazy, so were going to work on paying attention, staying in front of the leg, making good decisions, being brave, etc.
But when I say all that, I mean like, pay attention for more than 1 or 2 steps, walk like your life depends on it even if it's really super hard because lazy horses are real, don't run away from the crumply hat, Try to figure out that crumply hat, etc.
So those are the goals with Dodge in a nut shell. I want him to feel special so he will give me what I need from him. I'll put in some other pictures of him looking all pretty showing off his spanish blood. He's also got curly mane and wavy tail hair so he looks like a stocky Frisian. I guess you can decide, he's a mustang, so even though he was born at the BLM there's no way to really know! Oh he's a 2011 horse, 5 yo in the 2016 makeover, and now he's 8!