Just a quick post really as I am swamped with work. I was away for a few days last week and while I was gone Echo managed to pull one of her front shoes off. She had only just had them on! And with my farrier being on holiday, I had to get another farrier who was visiting the yard to put it back on again, as I didn't want to cause more problems by having her walking unlevel for a couple of weeks. It cost me £20! I was horrified - just to put a shoe back on! We had even found the shoe, so all he had to do was nail it back on.
Anyway. Also while I was away, Echo had physio, and Ella rang me afterwards and said that Echo was pretty sore on the left side of her back under the saddle area. She also had a bit of soreness at the back of the saddle on the right. She treated it and it loosened off well, but I really don't know what to do now.
I'm still not happy with this saddle. It just doesn't seem to sit right on her back and it pulls over to the right so easily. I rang the saddler, considering it's only been less than a month since she came out before, but she can't come and look at it for at least a week yet. I asked the physio if I should avoid riding her in it and she said it probably wouldn't hurt her too much to ride a couple of times, if the saddler can't come out straight away. So I have long-reined her mostly for the last few days and then yesterday took her out for a 25 minute hack. She was very stressy (and the tension won't have helped her back), although she hasn't been ridden for a week and a half, but once she calmed down she seemed ok. It's tough, riding in a saddle that I know is hurting her, but I don't know what to do. it doesn't seem like any saddle will ever fit her. We are now onto our 6th saddler, and it looks like she hasn't been able to make something fit either. It drives me mad!
One thing I do wonder about, is whether this soreness might just be normal. She hasn't had a saddle on consistently for nearly 18 months now and I reckon if I hadn't exercised for 18 months and then was expected to start again, I would be a bit sore. Perhaps I am asking her to work under saddle for too long at a time - we were just building up to 35 minutes of walk. Another suggestion from someone at the yard was to start trotting her under saddle too - as this will relieve the constant pressure that walking with a rider creates. I just don't know!
So tonight I did her yoga exercises and long-reined her. We are now up to 50 minutes, with between four and six stretches of trot, probably of about 30 seconds each. It's getting me pretty fit! I even put my cardio trainer app on my phone on today, to measure how far we go, and in 50 minutes, we walked 5.1km at an average speed of 6km per hour. I was going to go for a run afterwards, and decided I needn't bother! 50 minutes is quite a long time to be walking round a field, but with all the trotting and reining back, as well as going over poles, it doesn't get too boring. It was really hot and muggy tonight though, so she was a little lazy towards the end.
And so our circular issues go on. The physio spoke to my vet after treating Echo last week (it's very convenient that he also treats her horses and she sees him quite a lot). He said not to worry too much about the soreness in her back and to just try to sort the saddle issues (Ha!) but not think too much about whether the back pain could be linked to the suspensories. He will be coming to assess her again at the beginning of August and I really want to be up to an hour of ridden work by then, but I just can't see it happening. We will at least be up to an hour of long-reining with lots of trotting, so hopefully he will be able to see some improvement.