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Knot in muscle = Grade 3 lame >>>>> Help!

Dear Ridecampers~

Maybe you could help me do better in the future.

We had a bit of a disappointment at Goethe last weekend.  My horse trotted
across the finish line bold and eager (and I have the photo to prove it.
Thanks to, ride photographer, Carrie Bronson).  But by the time we did the
final trot out he was grade 3 lame due to a knot in the muscle that goes down
the back of his right hind leg.

We presented at the final vet check with all A's & B's and a pulse of 40 (CRI
was 40/40).  When it came time to trot out I knew something was wrong as my
horse didn't trot up close to me and want to play as he usually does at the
trot out.

The Goethe ride is in Florida and it was not particularly cool (at the end of
the ride) and there was really no standing around waiting for the final vet
check.  So I didn't throw a blanket over his butt. . . . . (Maybe I should
have?)    :-(

I rode the ride faster than I normally train (that was probably my biggest
sin) . . . . . . . but that is how we've done it for years (Just Lucky ? )
Our training schedule is something like 2-3 slower rides to 1 faster one.

As I look back on the ride, my only hint that something was not just right was
when I made a mental note that when I was on the left diagonal he didn't seem
to trot out as boldly as when I was on the right one.  And it almost seemed
like he would "skip" me back to the right diagonal.  Could this have been
intentional on my horse's part?  Could I have done something to help my horse
and prevent the knot problem at THAT point in the ride?  I try to (and usually
do) ride equal lengths of time on both diagonals.  However, my body has always
preferred the right diagonal (no matter what horse I am riding) and I have to
make an effort to ride on the left diagonal.

After being pronounced grade 3 I was advised (by the ride vet) to rub ice over
the knotted area and massage the muscle, which I did.  I was told that the
knot/lameness would probably get worse before it got better (which it did).
Two hours later he was doing better.  Three hours later he was dragging me
here and there looking for a bite of green grass to munch on & I was tempted
to see if he would trot okay for me but was advised by the vet to wait.  Five
hours later he was walking quickly and freely around his portable coral as the
other rigs were pulling out of camp.  On Sunday morning I trailered him the 2
hours home, unloaded him in the front yard.  He stretched out and peed then
RAN to the barn.  When I got to the barn I open the gate so he could go out in
the pasture.  He ran past me and straight to his pasture buddies.  Then he
proceeded to boss his pasture friends around the field.  Seems to have made a
full recovery???

How should I approach putting him back into training?  I would like to do a
2-day 50 ctr four weeks from now.  How can I prevent this from reoccurring in
the future?  Will he be more prone to this type of problem now that this has

Helpful advise would be greatly appreciated   :-)

~Nora & Tucker
  Ocoee, FL

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