Sunday, 4 October 2009

Where we are

I don’t think I ever showed you this picture – it was taken when I was warming up for the final dressage competition in the series. A friend of mine had got her husband to come and take some photos of her riding her new horse, and she leant him to me for a few minutes. I fell in love with this photo when I saw it – Echo looks like she is really stretching and it’s like she’s floating. It has however, made me think about how much work we need to do to get back to where we were before the soreness. It’s a good job I love schooling so much!

The saddler came out today and now, at last, I can ride my horse again – AND it didn’t cost me a fortune. He had a look at the saddle on her back with no numnah, and thought that it didn’t look too bad. However, he agreed that the muscle wastage behind the right wither is most probably due to the saddle pinching and making her unable to move that shoulder properly. He said that the saddle was not sitting correctly at the back, and was probably moving around too much, making her back sore. He also said that when it was up at the back, it would be too low at the front, causing it to pinch her. He changed the gullet from a ‘wide’ red gullet to a ‘medium’ black one. This means that it sits higher at the front and therefore sits level on her back.

I rode her in walk and trot with no numnah and he was happy that the saddle was no longer moving about. He also complimented her lovely forward-going paces, so that made me very happy. He said that she certainly isn’t lame now, and that I should ride her with a much thinner numnah now that the gullet is narrower. This has now been arranged, so when he left I was able to ride her properly – for the first time in a month!

I’ve been lunging her in a chambon for the last couple of days and been noticing some interesting things. On the left rein, she responds well to the chambon, lowering her head correctly in walk and trot, and a little in canter. However, on the right rein, while she’ll lower her head in walk, she really fights the chambon in trot, as if she is really not able to stretch her back and topline in that direction. It is interesting, as that’s the rein that she struggles to take a contact properly on when ridden. Even though I can ride her again now, I think I’m going to do some work on lunging in the chambon still, as I think it would be really good for her to work on stretching those muscles. I also alternated today when I was riding, between asking her to carry herself normally and asking her to work long and low. She is better at doing it when ridden on the right rein.

I am going to keep this stretching work going for a little while, and gradually build up to asking her to carry herself higher in front. I am also going to get her massaged again next weekend, just to iron out any stiffness as she comes back into work.

I was certainly relieved that a simple change of gullet was all that was needed this time round – I had nasty visions of having to fork out for a new saddle or, even worse, the saddler not having anything suitable and having to think again. Fingers crossed, it’s now sorted and we can get back to having fun again!


Anonymous said...

That is a gorgeous photo, and one to keep on hand to make yourself feel great about your progress with her! Very good luck that no major saddle changes were required, and good that you looked into that - the prior muscle wastage on the one side may have impacted her muscular development, leading to the difference in way of going in the two directions you noted. If you bring her fitness along, that together with a properly fitting saddle, may allow her to develop the muscles she needs to carry herself on both reins.

Looking forward to hearing more!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great news about not having to get a new saddle. Sometimes a slight adjustment is all that's needed to make everything right. The picture of you and Echo is lovely. She's come a long way.

Daily adventures while training my young horse.