Sunday, 31 March 2013

A pony with expensive tastes...

Echo is doing really well at Tammy's - I have been having a crazy few weeks of work recently so haven't been able to get up to see her very much, but Tammy gives me regular updates on her progress. Apart from a few days where her work was cut short due to snow drifts (who'd have thought it's almost April?!) she has been building the work steadily.
She's now doing a 45 mins walk and trot hack every day, with a few times a week doing five mins in the school too. She does in hand poles in a fan, ridden poles in a straight line, a set of stretches every day and has an equilibrium machine on every other day- alternated with a tens machine. She has become really rather attached to the equilibrium. Ella, her physio, sees her once a fortnight too.
She is doing really well but still gets sore behind the saddle- although Ella thinks this is getting a bit better and she loosens off pretty quickly. I'm not going to worry too much for now. It's amazing the difference an equilibrium machine makes though.
Yesterday, when I arrived, she had been ridden in the morning but Tammy had left the pad and stretches for me to do. The pad works for half an hour, pulsating and vibrating the back muscles. When I arrived her back felt pretty solid- I couldn't get her to do any of the 'butt-tuck' exercises as she wouldn't open up through it at all. But after half an hour her back muscles were soft and pliable and she happily stretched through them when I did her exercises.
Since it looks like she may always have a tendency towards a sore back, it is looking like it might be sensible for me to buy one of these pads for when she's back at home and in full work. Blooming' expensive taste that pony has! But seems like it would really help.
I'm trying a different saddler too- one that Tammy uses and knows well. I lost a little bit of faith in my saddler over the last couple of months and with Echo's back she really needs the saddle to be spot on.
I'm away for a few days now, but have two weeks of holiday after that, where I hope to ride Echo myself as much as possible. Which will be quite novel!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Slow and steady

I wish my phone hadn't run out of battery yesterday when I went to see Echo as I'd have loved to show you all a picture of her being ridden.

I went to the yard to meet with the saddler and Tammy who is rehabilitating her because Ella, her physio, has said that she is still really sore at the back of the saddle area. The saddler had come out a few weeks ago, but had gone before Tammy was free to talk to her and she had said the saddle was fitting really well. I wanted her to see Tammy ride in it, so asked her to come out again.

And I'm so glad I did! In the stable, even I could see that the saddle looked good- it sat nicely in balance and seemed to be comfortable. We got out into the yard, Tammy got on, and our problem was immediately clear- the saddle doesn't remotely fit Tammy. Not even close. She sits nearly on the cantle and no wonder Echo is getting sore in that area as the saddle isn't spreading her weight evenly. I got on, and it was fine as the saddle has always fitted me quite well. So it was back to the drawing board, as Tammy is the one riding her.

Tammy had a look for a couple of spare saddles she has and we tried an Ideal first- which was far too wide- and then an AST, which I have never heard of. It is much chunkier than my saddle, but it seemed to fit reasonably well. We tried it and she didn't refuse to move (which is what she does if she's not happy with a saddle!) so we put the prolite numnah back on and took her out for her morning ride.

Tammy always rides her with someone walking beside her, to try to stop her spooking and doing any damage to her surgery site. She is a bit of a wuss on her own but she will build up to this when she's stronger. It was so lovely to see her ridden- and bizarre at the same time. Only about 3 or 4 other people have ever ridden her besides me and it's always very strange. But as you'd expect, being trained by a professional dressage rider, she is looking absolutely lovely. She walks out really well and is keen and happy. She is only doing road work at the moment and this has been a learning curve as she's never really done any before.

She was so weak to begin with that she was dragging her right hind toe a bit in trot, which you can see on her hoof. But the combination yesterday of her being a bit stronger now and in a saddle that puts the rider in balance and doesn't block her behind seemed to have really helped and she wasn't dragging her toe at all. In fact, Tammy said the trot transition was much better yesterday, which is really encouraging.

It's a much longer and slower process than I was expecting, so in many ways I'm really glad that it's not me doing it. Tammy is so careful and methodical. She religiously does her physio stretches and uses the tens and equilibrium machine every day (which Echo apparently loves!) and she is building the work up as she feels Echo get stronger. I hadn't really realised just how long it would take, having had so long out of proper work.

Hopefully, we are building some really solid foundations again and she will be fit and sound in the future. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

A little Echo time

Echo is doing really well at Tammy's yard - I really couldn't be happier. Tammy has an amazingly organised, rigorous approach and I think Echo is really enjoying the routine there.

She's up to 45 minutes of walking, 6 days a week, and is now starting to do short trots in her work too. Tammy is a dressage rider and so is working very hard to ensure she's straight and not falling out through her left shoulder, as she is prone to doing. I think Tammy is finding it quite a challenge, probably more than she expected it to be, because Echo hasn't been fit for a good couple of years. The stamina for ridden work just isn't there, so she was getting tired really quickly. But she is ridden every day, does about 15 minutes of pole work in hand every day, does specific physio-prescribed stretches every day and alternates between a Tens machine and an equissage massage pad each day. So we are throwing everything at he to get her back to fitness!

She is still a bit sore in her back, so we have a saddler coming out on Saturday to see if it could be saddle related. Over the next few weeks she will build up to a full walk and trot hack of 45 minutes and will start doing some light schooling.

It's such a good feeling that she is starting to head in the right direction. There's a way to go, and I think we will always have to do more hacking than schooling in future, but I'm so looking forward to having my horse back!

I haven't ridden her yet as I thought I would leave that to Tammy for now, but she is really chilled and happy- today I spent an hour or so preening her- trimming her face and front legs. I ran out if time and didn't get a chance to do her hind legs, so she'll look a bit of an idiot for a week... But she loved it- she always loves a pampering session!

Daily adventures while training my young horse.