December is always a hard month for horse owners. This is my 8th winter with a pony and I’ve finally learnt to not to fight my urge to be indoors.
The short dark days, the cold wet weather and the mud sap my motivation. This year, for the first time, I resolved to take the pressure and give Abbey some time off.
I must admit, it’s been lovely. Only riding when I’ve been in the mood has really taken the pressure off and our relationship has been all the better for it.
The last 2 weeks the weather has been awful. First we had snow, then the snow melted turning the paddocks into sludgy swamps and now we’ve had copious amounts of rain.
Abbey copes very well in snow. She may not like it but she knows how to use her nose as a snow plough to get to the grass and her bare hooves have much more grip on the ice than her shod counter-parts. She evens carries her own hay down to the field.
I have noticed that Abbey has been showing signs that her ulcers are returning. She’s been getting tetchy about being groomed, and resting her left hind. On the off occasion when I have ridden, she’s been more girthy, although happy and forward once I’m on board.
So I’m now treating her again for ulcers. This time I’m assuming that she’s also got ulcers in her hind gut and administering Sucralfate as well as Omeprazole. There’s a fab group on Facebook (Horses with Ulcers UK) where lots of owners are exchanging knowledge and experiences.
First time, I think we took Abbey off the Omeprazole too soon – one study found over 80% of horses get ulcers within a few weeks of the initial treatment. Many vets are now recommending that horses go onto a maintenance quarter dose for around 3 months after the first 6 weeks of full dose.
It’s also quite common for horses to suffer from hind gut ulcers after having Omeprazole. Given Abbey’s symptoms and the fact that the vet couldn’t scope her hind gut, I am working on the basis that she does have them and treating for them too.
I will let you know how she gets on.
As she’s happy under saddle I’ll be rebuilding her fitness, working gently on her schooling and starting to think about competitions in the New Year. Of course, keep you up to date on that too.
I hope you’ve all had a great Christmas and wishing you a Happy New Year!