Apollo has been super weird lately. It’s freaking me out.
Still thicc tho (pic from March 19)
I haven’t ridden him since early 2018 (a few scattered rides in January/February from what I can remember). He was losing a bit of weight in January so I decided to reduce his workload and started blanketing him at that point. He was (and still is) a little chubby but he’ll be 19 this year so I wanted to make sure to keep some weight on him as winter was definitely not over for a while. Maybe it’s finally over now. Maybe not!
I still brush him, feed him, do carrot stretches and do ground work with him quite a bit. My favorite order to handle the horses is 1) Apollo 2) Mystic 3) Henry. Mostly because once you have caught Henry he cannot be uncaught and is a complete pest to me and the other horses while I’m trying to get in and out of gates. I also feel like Apollo appreciates being caught first, you know… herd seniority and all that (not anthropomorphizing at all, hah!).
I would say since end of February/early March that Apollo has been different. The main difference is that he has decided that he loves me in a big creepy way. He speeds walks over when he sees my truck and often will sprint over to me if he sees me handling another horse (even if he’s already had his turn for feeding/brushing etc). Historically he’s been consistently very aloof and often hard to catch - I’ve had him for 10 years and he barely seemed to give a crap if I was there or not most of the time. I know I should just rejoice that my horse finally thinks I’m wonderful but it actually worries me that something is wrong with him so he’s being clingy because he’s trying to tell me (apparently I cannot accept love). The other changes are more minor and more recent.
I LOVE THIS HUMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He’s had a skin funk going on since mid-March. Mostly his skin is super dry with a few crusty spots. I worried a lot about it being lice (it may have been lice, I did delouse him twice just to be sure and it’s improving). I will admit to neglecting this a bit while I was sick, I was hoping to do some serious de-shedding and shampooing when the weather warmed up but I was only able to do a thorough shampoo for the first time last night.
He’s also been a bit flightier than usual in the last few weeks. I can usually trust him to not be a complete idiot and spook at nothing… but lately he’s been sketchy and spooky. He pulled back in the crossties at the wash rack last night, which he hasn’t done in probably 9 years. He used to pull back like crazy when I first got him, it was an unfortunate phase than lasted about 6 months and saw many halters broken and a few fence posts pulled out of the ground.
Something that makes me sad is that he is has lost a few rungs on the herd totem pole in the past six months. Henry is the boss (and a very violent boss at that). That used to be Apollo’s role in the herd, although he was much kinder about it. He’s still in the top tier but it’s very strange to see sassy little Henry boss him around.
My current plan of attack is to add some oil and aloe vera gel to his diet and increase his workload. He has gotten ulcery this time of year before, and hopefully the oil can help bring back his skin condition. I’m going to do longer/more interesting groundwork sessions to keep his brain busy. If I’m honest… I’m not keen to ride him right now, he’s just too sketchy. Maybe his brain will come back to town soon now that the snow is melting. Although maybe his roly-poly self just needs a job again. I will play this by ear depending on how the groundwork progresses. He's had time off before and was not at all like this, in fact usually with time off work he becomes harder to catch.
I will book him a bodywork session once his skin looks 100%, it’s not really fair to ask someone to work in a dry skin cloud. He is also due for a dental check-up, which is on my to-do list but since I have to pay for three (bank account softly weeping) won’t be happening until June at the earliest. If he isn’t back to himself before the end of May he may get a private vet check up with some blood work. I worried a bit about his vision too (explaining the random flighty-ness perhaps?).
Anyone have any other thoughts or suggestions for me? Hopefully my big pony is back to normal(ish) soon. :)