Friday, December 14, 2007

Bending in the Rain

It's been a long week of rain and cooler temps. I was able to go out and do some work in hand on Tuesday and we worked on properly backing using his back. I was asking him to drop his croup and take big deliberate diagonal steps back instead of hollowing his back and stepping back, butt high. He did it correctly the second time I asked, so I gave him a cookie and put him away.

Yesterday, I was finally able to ride, but only up to a trot due to wet footing. I was really interested to see if we would have any "bending" discussions or stiffness in the arena. I am happy to report that Brego seems to have learned something from Sunday's exercise and the issue never really came up. He was pretty loose and flexible the entire ride and it was actually very pleasant. No leaning on the inside rein at all. He was not as forward as I would like, but still pretty balanced. I focused a lot of my outside rein connection and not throwing the rein away which is one of my really bad habits. He did occasionally feel uneven behind, but I trotted him out and couldn't see anything. I have decided to get films taken of his hocks when he gets his dental done in January, just to get a baseline, since this year will be a big jump in his training.

His walking shoulder in to the right is getting pretty darn nice, a nice 30% angle for a couple of steps before I ask him to walk on. His shoulder in to the left is still not back, I have to do more corrections to get him to do more than just bend his neck and try to run through. But in general, the shoulder in work was 25% easier and lighter.

He's been stealing some food recently so he looks a little porky. I decided to do two 10 minute trot sets, at a reasonably medium trot, to see if I can burn some calories. It was too dark to leave the arena and too wet to do any canter work. He trotted fine and I even asked for a couple steps of shoulder in at the trot to break up the tedium. He did great to the left, really understood what I was asking. To the right was so poor, I had to bring him back to the walk and reinforce the shoulder in at a more manageable speed.

Most horses are pretty one sided when they are getting started, so his issues are not surprising at all. What might be interesting is I recently underwent some Craniosacral Therapy myself. The therapist said that I was completely blocked on my left side and had limited sacrum movement. Hmmm, just the side Brego is stiff on. Coincidence? The therapist said I had received some blunt force trauma to the left side of my head at some point and it had wedged my skull and spinal column joint so I had limited mobility. She was able to "unstick" me and I have noticed some subtle improvements in the way I walk, comfort while driving and laying on my side. It will be interesting to see if me being more even helps alleviate some of Brego's one sidedness. The only thing I can say so far is our ride was very "pleasant" and non-contentious, even with some advanced (for Brego) lateral work.

I am going to a clinic in Boerne over the weekend and taking two private lessons with a trainer from Louisiana. I have decided to work on dressage for both my sessions, so hopefully we will get some good training to continue us down the path. Also, I can't wait to get back together with my regular dressage instructor and show her some of the things we've been working on. With the holidays, however, that will have to wait until January.

(I know lots of people are interesting in conditioning. I am doing some more reading over the holidays and will come up with a condition schedule to start implementing in the spring. My first event is going to be April 5th, so that gives me plenty of time to get him tuned up once spring hits.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My horse was having problems with his hip and his chiropractor told me (a little louder each time) that someone riding him had a right hip problem. When I went finally sucked it up and went to the chiropractor myself it was no surprise what was said...

Once I went straight from my chiropractic appointment to my horse's chiropractic appointment and it was amazing, we literally had identical adjustments!