Gabe bit me on the leg this weekend.
Hard, right on the shin. And I reacted fast and popped him in the nose with my crop. How the heck did he get my shin, you may ask. Well, simple, actually. He reached his head around during our ride and bit me.
But I don't think he actually meant to bite me, I think he meant to bite himself. Strange? Maybe. We were out on a trail ride for about an hour, he was hot and sweaty and once he started getting sweaty he started reaching his head around to bite/itch his side right where the girth sits. It was really, really agitating him and was very distracting for him. I imagine it was driving him a little bit crazy which is why he got me instead of himself.
I don't know what is causing the itchiness, but I think I might have an idea. I use a fleece girth cover because his skin is so sensitive that if I don't the leather rubs him the wrong way and he hates it. I had JUST washed the fleece cover and for the first time ever used bleach on it. It was NASTY, it had to be done! Bleach is the only difference so I'm thinking his ultra-sensitive skin + freshly washed with bleach fleece cover + sweat = MISERABLE HORSE.
I'll be washing that cover again, without bleach this time and maybe even send it through the rinse cycle twice. Poor guy. It's got to be tough being such a sensitive guy!
Well, Chief is officially retired (semi-retired any way). We rode last night and Kayleigh got on Chief for the first time in over a month. He refused to trot and when he did trot he laid his ears flat back and bucked. He refused to step over a 12" jump and refused and refused and bucked until he was permitted to just slowly walk over it. He's NEVER bucked and never reacted like that to a request to trot or go over a small jump. I think he's really feeling that arthritis and it's time to retire him to just long, slow trail rides. No more trotting, no more jumping. Just slow, easy stuff to keep him moving. He does need to lose some weight and get more fit, and I told Kayleigh that will be her job, to get him fit with long, slow, easy rides because his joints will be much, much more comfortable if he uses them and is carrying less weight on them.
It sucks when your horses start to get old and creaky. Chief is 25 now, he'll be 26 in January. He deserves his retirement and has definitely earned it. I'll be keeping a close, close eye on him this winter. If the cold and the ice and the mud prove to be too much for him and he's in pain we can't control with Bute, we may have to make a tough, tough decision that I don't even want to have to think about.