Letter to my vet:
We had a mishap yesterday.
When I got to the barn last night, Ashke was acting strange. He didn't whinny and come to the door to greet me like he always does. He backed away from the wall and turned to his left to avoid turning to the right. He was acting strange, but I can't really quantify what that looked like, I just know that my gut was telling me something was wrong. I could just tell he was off. I knew it wasn't colic, since he pooped in his stall, in the cross ties and in the arena (this is normal for him - we can count miles on the trail based on his number of poops.)
He was flicking his nose up and down like they do when there's a fly bothering them, but I didn't see any flies. I checked his mouth for lesions, thinking his mouth might be sore (VSV worries) and didn't see anything. He did not really want to bend to the right. And he was acting off in the crossties.
I was beginning to wonder if he had shocked himself so many times on the new electric fence that he had done neurological damage.
I tested him in the grooming stall and he was able to do carrot stretches in both directions and touch his shoulders. He was able to bring his head down to his chest. I went over him with both hands and couldn't find any areas of swelling or heat. I couldn't find any reason for my feeling that something was off. I got him saddled and we headed to the arena. I asked Michelle what she thought and she thought he was a little off but couldn't pin point the issue. She thought maybe he had strained himself in the run when the lightning and thunder storm came through the area about five pm. She said all the horses were acting the fool then. She recommended I go ahead and ride but take it easy.
He was not stumbling or staggering or tripping. He didn't put a foot wrong all night. I did some walk and trot, asking him for bend and lateral movement. He seemed stiff and not as fluid as before, but seemed to work out of it and got better as the ride went on. We did a brief canter in both directions and he picked up his leads correctly. He was sticky in turning to the right and had a tendency to carry his head to the left (this is chronic, although he has gotten better) even when circling to the right. The nose flipping subsided as we went on and he was able to carry himself in a frame, giving me good connection at the bit. He stretched his nose to the arena dirt a couple of times while we were resting and just walking. He seemed to be able to do everything we would normally do during a ride. Again, I could sense something off, but couldn't put my finger on why I was feeling that way.
At the end of the ride I was watching his neckline and noticed a knot of muscle on the right hand side about four inches below his poll. I got off and rubbed it. The knot was right below his mane and is about four inches long and a couple of inches wide. It was not overly sensitive to the touch but Ashke seemed to like the massage. I worked on the knot for ten minutes or so and think that I made it feel better. I applied some Sore No More to the knot when we got back in the barn.
I left the fly sheet and mask off, due to my guess as to what happened. I gave him his timothy mash and he ate without any hesitation.
As near as I can figure, Ashke was playing under the fence with the horse in the next run and managed to hook the top of his fly sheet (which was attached to the top of his fly mask - VSV protection) on something on the bottom of the fence. He panicked and pulled back. The Velcro closure on the top of the fly sheet gave way and released him, but not before he managed to torque himself. I know the fly sheet hung up on the back leg band on the left side since the tether that runs around that back leg was stretched out more than six inches.
This is all supposition based on what I saw and my amateur evaluation. I know he and the fly sheet were normal when I left the barn that morning at 10:30. I got back to the barn to ride at about 7 pm.
So, I would love to have you look at him to make sure nothing is out of place, but because of VSV, I'm not sure that's a great idea. There are barns in our area with VSV and we are under a voluntary quarantine. With that said, what do you think? Is there anything else I can do? What would you recommend?