Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ah, Well

Chance Plan Aborted

It was hotter than expected. In the morning, when I fed the horses and cleaned stalls, I was soaked with sweat in about 15 minutes.  That put me off for an early ride. So I figured I ride in the evening.

Best laid plans?  I went for my swim early as I had a chiro/acpuncture treatment in the early evening and I also knew there was going to be a swim meet at the pool and it would be closed later.  I swam 20 laps again. Right now, that's about my limit before I start to wear out.

Came home, changed and headed for the chiropractor. Here's where the plan goes astray. Just about every vertebrae in my lower to mid back was out of alignment as well as all the usual ones in my upper back.  My pelvis was out, which may have accounted for all the other issues too.

Why? Who knows? It could be anything. This is one flaw in being too flexible. While it is a benefit in being able to move my seat with the horses so sitting the trot is not particularly a problem, it does make me prone to displacing vertebrae from their proper alignment.

Now, Chance does tend to carry me a bit crooked. With his one uneven hind leg he tends to throw my seat to the right so I continually need to compensate so both he and I are straight.  Riding him after an adjustment would not have been the brightest idea. So, with the heat and that, I opted out.

Or whimped out. Whatever the case may be. Now it's supposed to get hot again over the next week or so. Guess I'll just have to play it all by ear to figure out if I can work a horse or not.

As to Tucker and stretching. If you recall, I got Tuck as a two year old, and broke him to saddle with Kenny's help.  From Day 1, under saddle, I asked him to stretch down and use his back.  By the by, it's part  of Kenny's basic under saddle work--"give to the bit."  In his clinics he tries to get people to stretch their horses all the way to the ground as a relaxation exercise.

As a result, it is often Tucker's preferred way of going. When I put him on the lunge for free work, he will put his nose way down as a matter of course.  He's not always forward when he does this, and he can be "relaxed to a fault," but he is down and round.  When  am riding him, the cool thing is that if I push him more forward, he will connect nicely into the bit and just go long and low.

Toby works that way too, but Chance is still in the training phase.  I should have spent far more time with Chance on that, but he was too much fun to just hack out, so his training is far behind.  However, if I spent a month working him several times a week, he'd have it too.

You can work it in hand. Stand beside the horse, pick up one rein only, and hold your hand up at the same angle the rein would be if you were in the saddle.  Put pressure on the rein. As soon as the horse offers to drop his head, release the rein entirely.  You have to be quick and reward the right response as soon as the horse offers.  After a while, all it will take is a light touch and the horse will drop down.  This is the "give to the bit."

It translates into riding and is great for the warm up. Rather than spending  all that time waiting for the horse to soften, you get softening early on.

Now, this is a little of working from the front to the back, rather then from the back to the front, but it does work.

Lockie Richards used to tell me there was the French way of riding and the German way. French suppled  the front and that allowed the back to come along. German rode the back into the front to get the same result. I guess my riding is a combination of both. I certainly believe a supple horse can become forward more easily, so I often do lots of suppling work when I train.

WHEN I train. That's the operative phrase. Not doing much now, I fear. *sigh*

Addendum:  Lunged the Boys this morning. The arena was in shade and really felt pretty nice.

Chance went well, despite taking off in the canter when Tucker bolted through the arena gate.

Tucker went well despite twice bolting off--once getting away from me--when I guess he was attacked by a deerfly. Those things give a painful bite.

Toby let me hook him up to the lunge line, but after a part circle, I brought him in, put him in his stall and called my farrier.  That call was soon followed by a call to the vet. He was definitely moving like a horse with the start of laminitis. Same time last year. This is very mild, but I do feel a pulse in his foot and he was trying to land on his heel with a shortened stride. That is not at all normal for him.

The vet is on her way.

More later.

MORE:  The vet just left. Toby is sore on both fronts. It may be a bit laminitic, but he may more likely be just sore from being barefoot/concussion with thin soles.  I have a call into my farrier. We are going to put shoes and pads on him. He will be getting some bute for a week or so and needs to stay in at least until he is shod.

Needless to say, he is not a happy camper. Every time Tucker goes out of the barn or disappears from view Toby has a fit. It's going to be a long week keeping him in. But, since it's also going to be hot, it's pretty likely Tucker will be spending most of his time in the barn.

Second time this has happened, so just to be safe Dr. McAndrews took blood for a Cushings test. Toby does not show any obvious symptoms, but it's worth checking into just in case.


  1. Well, you have been busy between horses, swimming, chiro work and the vet.

    I'm with you on having a supple and relaxed horse. I would say we train mostly the French way with a little German thrown in there too. Not much going on around here with the heat either.

    This is the same month that Dusty got her laminitis attack last year. We sort of think it's from the grass being so dry, that's why she's wearing her grazing muzzle, much to her dismay. Hope he'll be okay in short order. The pads and shoes do help too.

  2. Thanks for the help with stretching down! I will try it next time I ride - probably Sunday as he has the day off tomorrow.

    Fingers crossed for Toby that the week goes quickly and that the problem is resolved soon.

  3. sorry to hear about toby, hope it's not early cushings...