Friday, October 26, 2007


JDLR = Just Don't Look Right.

I can't remember where I first heard this term. It was probably from a show like Cops (which I fully dig) or some other real life cop or investigation show. Simply put, it's that little voice in your head that says, "Something isn't right here." Slightly modified, JDFR could mean "Just Doesn't Feel Right."

Kaswyn JDFR. Last week he felt like he was doing something funny with his right front leg. I checked the calendar and saw that he was due for shoes. His right front foot grows much more toe than the left front, and it kind of felt like he was flipping the right front over faster in an effort to break over the long toe. I figured that was the problem, and I scheduled for him to be reset. He got new Buster Browns on Wednesday.

Yesterday I rode him in our normal warm-up, which is walking for 5 minutes on a long rein with stretching, then trotting and cantering in a lower frame which encourages him to work over his back. After the warm-up we took a short walk break, then I asked him to trot. I have been trying to ask for a bit more of an upright frame from him a little sooner, which I do by raising my hands a little bit and sitting more. He was fine at first, but then I got after him a little for blowing me off in a leg yield. After I corrected him, he got flippy with the right front and was behind the bridle (which means he was avoiding contact with my hand but still moving forward). This was a problem that I've had before and I've been able to solve it by going into a medium posting trot and pushing him back into the rein contact.

This did not solve the problem. I tried some other things, like cantering, walk-trot transitions, but we seemed to be a little stuck. At one point I pushed and then gave a half-halt and he did a few steps of passage (to be eventually added to my Video Glossary), which seemed to solve the problem. We continued to school , with me asking for just a few passage steps when he would get funny with the right front. The whole time he still felt fine at the canter and walk.

Today, we had a lesson. I explained to my trainer what had happened yesterday, and we started working on the shoulder-in to try and re-establish a solid contact with my hand and a respect of my leg aids. It was pretty awful. He felt terrible, and I felt I was doing a bad job of executing my trainers commands. Finally she suggested that she get on him. She was able to make him a little better, but not back to my normal horse. That's when I was really able to see the right front in action. He didn't look right, and I was starting to feel that something was wrong.

Kaswyn is not a horse that you have to fight with. He's not perfect, and will usually try the easiest way of doing things. But when you get on his case and ask him to be obedient, he usually backs down and gets to work. But not today. It was like he was saying "Hey, I'm trying, but I just can't do what you're asking right now."

I got back on him briefly, and while he did feel better I still got the flippy right front after a decent shoulder-in right. It's hard to tell for sure if he's flipping the right (which I think) or just really flat on the left (my trainers thought), but we agreed that it was just wrong. We discussed giving him some time off with meds just in case he had tweaked something or was sore someplace.

I called Dr. B's cell phone and left him a voicemail (at 5:20 PM on a Friday night). Three minutes later my phone rang. Did I mention I love my vet? Anyway, I filled him in on the situation and he agreed that Kaswyn could have some kind of inflammation somewhere and that we should try and quiet that down. He suggested the following regimen -

Ten days off with 14 days of medications.
Days 1 through 5 = 2 grams of bute per day
Day 6 = one scoop aspirin
Day 7 = 1 gram bute
Continue to altenate bute/aspirin each day until day 14.
Ride on Day 11 and call with results. If he's not better Dr. B. will come out and evaluate.

Apparently the aspirin gives good support to connective tissues, so that will help with any tendon/ligament issues. The bute will help with any kind inflammation.

This is how the whole mess started two years ago when Kaswyn didn't feel right to me. But I'm trying not to get too nervous about this because instead of just pushing through this we're giving him time off and treating him, in a way. This makes me feel like if there is something happening that maybe we can nip it in the bud, or at least get a handle on it. However, I'd be lying if I said this wasn't bothering me. He's been going along so well. I hope after a brief rest we can continue.


Macnatural said...

Hi DressageMom

I've been following your blog for a little while now, and its second to the FUGLY blog IMHO.

I'm sorry to hear about all the trouble with your horse - I have gone through exactly the same thing with my boy, who still isn't right. Saddles don't fit, pedals dropped, whole enchilada. One day I'll blog it all.

Have you considered barefooting your horse and putting boots on him? It might help with that post-navicular toe-first problem you have had.



Rising Rainbow said...

Oh man, not again. This doesn't sound good. Do you ever have a good equine chiropractor look at him? Sometimes being out of alignment can cause the symptoms you are talking about.

Right before we went to this show, Dandy began resisting badly and he is a horse like Kaswyn, he gives you what he's got. He'll try the easy way but if you insist, he's there. I was lucky enough to get my chiropractor out the next day and it turned out Dandy was a mess. He had his adjustment and by the following morning he was back to his old self. A little resistance to start because of fear, but once he realized it didn't hurt anymore we were back on track and made it to the show. Just a thought.

dressagemom said...

Hi Mac,

I hadn't considered letting him go barefoot, mainly because he gets very uneven if his shoeing is changed and I'd really like to keep him in work if possible. And since he's been back to work after the shock-wave therapy he hasn't had that toe-first problem. Just this new one. :(

Thanks for reading, and I hope to read about your horse too. What's your blog address?

dressagemom said...


I had the chiropractor look at him in April and he said Kaswyn didn't need an adjustment. He just came to the barn again but I didn't have him look at Kaswyn because I figured he's been going so well that he's probably just fine. Maybe that was a mistake. He usually comes out twice a year, but I might have him back out sooner if this 10 day rest with meds doesn't seem to help.

Mac said...

Hi DressageMom,

My blog addy is


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