Monday, February 13, 2012

Willy is...a punk rocker.

Well, we still have mysterious head tossing. It is annoying and worrisome in equal measure. I've ridden twice with the copper bit and although it is not worse, it is not better. It's a single joint and so I can't be fully sure that the lack of improvement is because he prefers a double-jointed bit. This is where I get into the minutia which probably matters more to me than to the horse. But there is no way to know.

He head bobs on the cross-ties. He head bobs under saddle. He does settle down during rides but any time I take a walk break it starts up again. He spent a few minutes biting on a blanket bar outside a stall before the ride. Not cribbing, just holding it between his teeth and occasionally doing a kind of chewing motion. From what I could tell he was using a fair bit of jaw pressure. I let him do it for a few minutes because it was odd and I was trying to see if I could learn anything from it.  Nada. I have no idea what it was about.

A few people are trying to convince me that he's just trying to evade work. While I agree that horses often learn this, I don't think that's the case since he only started the head bobbing a week ago, immediately after our first ride with the wrapped bit. He still had to work the next day and the day after that, so I really don't think he learned to evade.

I can't shake the feeling something else is going on. I have no idea what but that little kernel of doubt won't leave me alone. I have a few bitting options left and if they don't help we will have the vet back out. Seems weird that it's worse since the diagnosis of metal sensitivity, doesn't it? Especially since he hasn't been exposed to that metal since.

I'm at a loss, I really am. My coach (well, technically former coach sorta-kinda - whole 'nother post there!) assured me on Friday that I have steady hands and nothing I'm doing could be causing this. I needed to be sure and I know without a doubt she would tell me otherwise. I should feel more confident in this since I've been with him about 8 months at this point, but I still needed to hear it.

As it stands, my theories are: a) Willy is a punk rocker, or b) brain parasite. Good reasons as any, at this point :-/


Laura said...

oh no! sorry to hear about the continued head bobbing/tossing... What a puzzle. Weird that is still there/getting worse after you have started switching bits.

I hope you can find a solution/solve the mystery soon. I hope that he is just secretly a punk rocker and that nothing bigger is wrong.

Jason said...

There is usually an underlying issue for behavioural challenges but not always. I believe I might ease off for a week or two and see what happens before I spent a whole bunch more money or time on this issue. Maybe he's got a small sore in his mouth or maybe he's got a sore tooth/teeth. If you decide to get a vet out it might be a thought to get one that floats a lot of teeth so he/she will be intimately familiar with what the inside of a horse's mouth ought to look like. I'm sure you'v'e heard this before and I apologize if I'm repeating something another poster has already suggested previously. I'm feeling lazy tonight ! :)

RuckusButt said...

No, it's all good Jason. I welcome any and all ideas. Thing is, he had his teeth floated by the vet during the same visit when he diagnosed metal sensitivity. In fact, the whole reason he was there was to do a float since I assumed that's what Willy's problem was.