Back in the Saddle
The ground thawed enough the last two days so that I had some fairly good footing to ride--not a lot of time, but at least enough to give Tucker a school.
His worst fault was being lazy. Just getting him to go forward was a challenge. His trot was a little jog until I insisted he get his hind legs going. It is possible not having shoes in back is making a difference in his willingness to stride out, but honestly, I would think by now a good kick would leave some impression! *G* I didn't put my spurs on, though, so I had to rely on taps of the dressage whip--not the ideal way to get him to go.
On Tuesday, I concentrated on balancing him up a bit and some transitions. Tuck still has a habit of falling apart a bit on the downwards but overall, even without the steady work, that is getting better. Too, I need to be sure I sit up and use more of a "body" half-halt than too much hand. Once I settled that a bit, I let him go long and low and just asked for "forward."
Wednesday, I rode again, this time primarily working on forward, long, and low, encouraging him to use his back. I started off with just a little trot and cantered early on as that is more likely to get him to release his back. Back in the trot, I concentrated on my circle in, circle out exercise to loosen him up laterally which always helps the forward. Then I did some shoulder-in at the trot, and carried that into the next canter session. I let the shoulder-in develop into a canter half-pass, to a counter canter, and just for fun tried for a flying change in the corner.
Well, to my surprise, with a little tap of the whip, he actually gave me a change from right to left. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't perfect, but it was a flying change! Tucker's first! Right to left was a total failure, but...well, big boy stuff! I'm not going to work on it too much for now as the primary obstacle is getting him to really work off his hindquarters in the canter first, especially in the downward transisitions. Until then, the change will be just too hard for him. Still...cool.
I went to my orthopedic doctor for my knees today. I haven't been to him in over a year when I finished my last session of stem cell injections to help regrow the cartilege. My knees have been really sore for the past two, going on three months. I was beginning to think the time to look into replacements was coming fast.
Not so. My doctor assured me that the initial treatments normally last 6 months to a year, so I was right on schedule to need some follow-up sessions. The bad news is that he didn't have another open appointment until March 6, so I am going to have to put up with this discomfort until then. He will be doing a round of prolotherapy to tighten the ligaments, the stem cell injections for the cartilege, and then some laser therapy to help with the pain. He also told me the laser would help my foot and any other joints that have some pain.
This guy is on the cutting edge of all kinds of therapies as an alternative to surgery. As it turns out, I would have been better off not having the arthroscopic surgeries I did have to remove the damaged meniscus and cartilege as what he does heals those instead. When I told him there were a lot of kids at school having knee surgeries, he grimaced. They, he said, are going to be headed for arthritis early on and he would never do surgery on someone that young. At least I was in my 50's when I had mine.
The whole world of medical alternatives to old practices is amazing. I am glad I have found Dr. Magaziner. He is one of a very few doctors in the whole country using some of these methods. Lucky me.