Okay, you'll need some background to answer this question. About ten days ago, on Sunday, I took a pretty hard ride on my little Arab mare, (so far only an LD horse). An hour and a half on hills at a pretty good clip. She felt great the whole the time, peppy and happy and not really even tired at the end. So I gave her a day off, and rode her again on Tuesday. At the beginning of the ride, she felt slightly off. But she is the sort of horse who starts out stiff and has to warm out of something. So I thought I'd ride easy for a bit and see. Sure enough, she pulled out of it fine, and we rode eight fairly flat, easy miles, her feeling sound the rest of the way. Then the next day, she was definitely off, and had a swollen hind ankle. She got eight days off, with cold water hosings.
Yesterday she trotted out sound again and the swelling was completely down. So I rode her. Once again, she felt great. I rode her on the hills again, (it was that or hard road edges), for about fifty minutes. She started out sound, and I never felt an off step the entire ride. She was full of energy after having that much time off and a little nut. This morning, however, her back ankle is just slightly swollen again, and she is a little off at the trot.
Now, she is supposed to go 25 miles on Sunday. She has to go to the ride anyways, as a companion horse. If she was completely sound again by Saturday and could pass the vetcheck, should I go ahead and start the ride, or just skip it?
Well, there is definitely something off with the mare, otherwise her ankle wouldn't swell up. Any past injuries on it?
I mean in all reality you could do the ride, and I know a lot of people would, but it comes down to the question is - do you want her to last? If so, I'd see if you could get the vet out and see if there is any reason why she may do this.
I'm sorry, I know how it is. I'm wondering the same thing right now with my mare, every few weeks after a long training ride, the next day she short steps a bit on her left front. I don't know what it is, and it only shows up every so often. So I don't know what to do, either.
Its been my experience that if a horse is little sore after an hour or two of riding at home, they are going to be way sore after a 25.
She may very well pass the vet check even if she is a little off in the beginning, but its not worth it.
She's barefoot, has terrific feet and they aren't too long. She was turned out into two different pastures and a small pen. We don't have great stalls and only stall horses if they are cold or injured. At a walk she's fine, so I'm not worried about her walking around the pasture. She's never had any problems with that back ankle before, not that I remember anyways. And I'm afraid the vets in this area no nothing about horses at all. I always change diagonals frequently, and she is good about cantering on alternating leads. Starting out stiff probably wasn't the right way to put it. She just takes about ten minutes to really limber up and get perky. She's only eight. My other horse is like that too. I'm using a treeless saddle on her, and with a good pad it is now fitting it well.
I've already decided not to ride. I could probably get a way with it, but I really love this little horse and I don't want to hurt her. But I still don't know what's wrong with her. How long should I give her off before I ride her again?
I agree with the others, I wouldn't ride her. Had it been a one off you could have said it was just a bad day. The fact that she showed the same symptoms again means there is something wrong with her that is being irritated by riding.
Either rest her for 10-14 days and reasses or take her into a vet.
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Update. Took the mare along as a companion, which she did very well as. Quite happy to hang around and look at all that was going on. Showed her to the ride vets, one of whom was a senior vet at the UW-Madison. They said something is definitely wrong if it's flared up more than once, and I need to take her somewhere to get her X-rayed. So she'll be going to the University of Minnesota (actually closer to us than Madison) sometime the next couple of weeks to find the problem.