After realized I hadn’t jumped in a while (oops), I threw a jump lesson on the calendar for this last Saturday. Our last jump lesson had gone so well that I was super excited for this one. Of course, work kept me from the barn on Friday afternoon and, on Saturday, temps dropped 30 degrees and my fully clipped horse was FEELING it.
Warming up was fine, but a bit strong. I did a bunch of transitions to try and get her to listen, but she was coughing quite a bit. She had coughed some on Wednesday, but it was definitely worse on Saturday. We were hoping she would work out of it, but she just wasn’t.
We jumped over a raised cavaletti in each direction, counting down my strides. It was mostly going well, but she kept wanting to play a little bit on the back end. I am not sure if this was due to wanting to cough, some hair being rubbed from being clipped, or from the drop in temp (or something else or some combination of all three). Either way, I picked her up and kicked one and she stopped, but kept coughing a bit.
Finally, we gave May a bit of pony cough stuff and agreed to have the vet out on Monday. After that, the cough went away almost completely, but the issues did not.
May kept wanting to run at fences. When I did correct her, I got a big hissy fit. Finally, I got her soft and over her back coming to fences, but then she wanted to suck behind my leg. Honestly, overall, the whole situation was frustrating. I was finally able to get one not-so-terrible jump course, and we called it a day.
Of course, my first instinct was to be tonally defeated by the whole thing. Since when can I not just jump my horse around a basic course with some kind of success? Then I put the whole thing in perspective. We haven’t jumped in a while, and my trainer out here is trying to fix our balance issues in a way that will make things easier for us.
As always, I had to remind myself that training is not linear. It can be disorienting, but it requires consistent work. So we have another lesson on the books for Saturday… and a lot more coming up before the end of the month. As I said to a friend, I am either going to be a better rider come 2021, or I am giving up. (not really… but still…)
With that behind us, I talked to the vet and scheduled May for a visit on Monday. On Sunday, I went out and chased her in the round pen for a few minutes with no coughing, so I do wonder if the high winds that week just irritated her respiratory system. But we don’t mess around with breathing problems, so I met the vet on Monday afternoon.
He didn’t hear anything going on with her lungs, but he opted to take blood to check for a respiratory infection. Unlike human medicine, these things are quick, and we had results back in less than 2 hours. And… no, May didn’t have a respiratory infection. We discussed treating it like full blown allergies (steroids or antihistamine), but given the environmental factors that led to her coughing and the fact that it’s so new, we took a conservative approach.
I got a bottle of cough ease, instructions, syringes, and the promise that we would do more if she needs it. Cough ease is basically just menthol Of course, last night was the first night I could get out to the barn since then. May got a dose, and we went on a hack. She had some very mild coughing on our hack, but honestly nothing like the other day, and it was INCREDIBLY dusty.
I am going to dose her again today and ride her in the ring to see how she feels. Then we have a lesson on Saturday. It’ll take a while to figure out when she needs it and when she doesn’t, but it’s nice to have something fast acting that I don’t have to worry about it getting fed for any length of time to be effective.
Fingers crossed that it’s just something we need every now and then to get through the dusty patches!