Anyone else now singing 'that it's a demon, a dancing demon - no, something isn't right there' gets bonus points :o)
It's vet day on Tuesday, which I'm getting increasingly apprehensive about, so I've been reading, reading and reading some more and have come up with the following hypothesis:
- as the ground started to dry up and he moved into the top fields (away from the rocky track down to the bottom field and the gravel around the field shelter) his frogs started to contract. They are slightly but noticeably narrower than they were in March. This made it less comfortable for him to walk on them and he started to land more toe-first. Landing toe first puts more stress on the ligaments and this was exacerbated by starting to bring him back into work. Voila, one lame horse.
If it was a really serious tendon issue, I don't think he would have come sound from hopping lame in 3 days. Currently his right fore is very, very slightly swollen at the fetlock, but you have to really look hard to see the difference - it's maybe 3 or 4mm.
Anyway, if I'm right, and the scans and x-rays show nothing major, then I'm going to start walking him out in hand on the road on a schedule something like this (5 days out of 7 each week):
Week 1 - to the road fork and back (0.25 miles)
Week 2 - to the Pouloriscaig track and back (0.45 miles)
Week 3 - to the salmon station and back (0.7 miles)
Week 4 - to the medical centre and back (1 mile)
Week 5 - down to the medical centre, back past the house to the road fork and home (1.25 miles)
Week 6 - down to the medical centre, back past the house to the Pouloriscaig track, up to the gate (on stony track rather than tarmac) and home (1.5 miles)
Week 7 - as week 6, but extended to the salmon station (1.75 miles)
Week 8 - as week 7, but add in the loop down past John Angy's house (2 miles)
Week 9 - tack up, walk week 8 backwards, get on at medical centre and ride half mile home. Increase over the week to riding the whole route. If that goes OK (previous attempts at hacking have not been spectacularly successful...) then work out some hacking routes which go over lots of different surfaces (the farm tracks and route up to Pouloriscaig spring to mind, as does the beach).
Of course, I've picked possibly the worst time of year to start this - we're losing 5 minutes of daylight every day and retail is about to hit silly season, but if I can get the work in at this time of year then it'll be a doddle to do in the lighter half :o)
No breakfast-induced bouncing this morning, so I hope his system has adjusted, but I probably need to look at the amount of sugar in his diet. Going to try double-rinsing his beet to get as much of the molasses out as possible.