I had Will on the vet list today so he could be checked for whether he needed his teeth floated. It took a bit longer to get the right vet, Dr. B, out but it was worth so I could talk to him about Will's stifles while he worked :-D Willy's teeth were done about 7 months ago but things have been increasingly pointing to the need for a float since just before Christmas. Or so I thought.
Dr.B felt around inside Willy's mouth for a bit and then asks me what kind of bit I'm using. I was a bit taken aback (no pun intended!) simply because I thought he was going to comment on the harshness of the bit. Because I know the bit isn't harsh, that would mean I am. Those thoughts instantly went through my head as I stammered, "Uh, a D-ring snaffle...uh, double-jointed...with a copper oval peanut..."
This one. I love(d) it.
As it happens, my poor beast has developed a sensitivity to the metal in the bit. I honestly never even thought about anything other than his teeth! Dr. B said his gums were completely inflamed and there was so much swelling he could fold the swollen tissue from the sides of his gums over the top!
I am still paranoid that somehow it's my riding but I've been assured that although it's not excessively common, metal sensitivities do happen and they can take time to develop into a problem. He also pointed out that I've been riding Willy for 7 months and switched his bit ~4 months ago; he asked if I thought for a second it would take that long for crappy hands to hurt his mouth. I had to admit that was highly unlikely since the onset of Willy's mouthy troubles came on toward the end of December and have stayed about the same since.
With that issue more or less put to rest (time will tell!), my task is now to find a new bit. Dr. B suggested I could wrap my bit in vetwrap too. Obviously I think the best long-term solution is to find a new bit and besides, wouldn't vetwrap be kinda scratchy in the mouth?
Anyone else out there think this might be the excuse I need to try a Herm Sprenger bit? The slightly more reasonable option would be rubber but I suspect that selection is limited (although I haven't really looked for rubber before).
All other news is good. Willy's stifles have absolutely no signs of problems, the ligament is gliding where it should. We discussed long-term prognosis and although of course he can't give exact answers with respect to timeline he could say that the majority of horses like him are absolutely fine and confirmed that "conditioning" isn't something you do in a month or two (like most people at my barn seem to think) but rather lifelong. At the same time, that doesn't mean he will always need this intensity of work.
I also asked what Dr.B thought of Willy's condition and weight. He said he is looking nice and fit and thinks his weight is good. That was nice to hear but I have to keep in mind this man vets a lot of racehorses, so he's used to the racing physique. I don't like fat horses but Will could still use some coverage. But I have progress on that front too, coming soon!