If you guessed "saddle", you are the winner! I don't have any prizes to give, but you can feel good that you answered today's riddle correctly. :)
|Happy to be saddled? Nope!|
That's right, my saddle made a cameo appearance on Lilly's back today. I haven't ridden in my saddle since June 18th and decided it was time to see if I noticed anything different with Lilly in regards to the saddle. I put the XL gullet in months ago but hadn't ridden her with it yet.
When I was tacking her up she seemed fine until it came time to start tightening things up. I do one hole at a time as I get everything else ready for the ride and once I got to hole #3, I got a nasty face from my normally sweet girl. I'd describe it as a bit of a snarl, but I went about my business anyway and she seemed fine after that.
We headed out to the arena and I was able to ride for about 10 minutes before I started feeling some stiff movements, saw some head shaking, and felt her getting a little "stuck" in her forward momentum. Knowing what this means, I went ahead and got off... I pulled the saddle and we finished our ride "mareback".
Frustrated isn't even the word I would use to describe how I feel about all of this. It's beyond frustrating because I don't know WHY she's doing this. I thought it was the saddle at first, so I spent a fortune getting her a new saddle fitted just for her. I thought it was her back, her shoulders, so she's seen chiropractors and massage therapists, and when that didn't work, I thought maybe it was her feet. Her hooves needed to be addressed either way, but what if this whole thing has nothing to do with any of that? What if this is because of something completely different?? Because of her little snarl earlier during he girthing process, I wonder if it's maybe a tummy thing like ulcers... or... or... I don't know but I'm going crazy!!
I asked my BO if I could borrow her saddle next time I ride, so while I'm clueless about dressage saddles and hope I can figure out how to properly strap it to my horse, I'm going to try using that and see if I notice a difference.
Lilly doesn't show any signs of back discomfort. I can run my fingers along her spine from her withers to her rump and I don't get any scooting or avoidance to the pressure at all. She loves to have her back scratched, even with my curry, so I'm not seeing any soreness there at all. The saddle absolutely fits her and I thought perhaps with the 3 month saddle break, she might be fine with the saddle. Wrong again. :(
The purpose of riding today was to get her moving so we can get her feet engaged to hopefully get this hoof rehab moving too. If she's just wandering around the pasture all day in her boots, she's really not working those important structures in the hooves that have been nearly dormant for the past 8 years. I'm sure that has a lot to do with her discomfort, so my new plan is to ride her at least 4 times per week and ask her to do a lot of trotting and really get her moving around.
She feels really good in the boots and when we were trotting she took a few off steps (like if she stepped on something in the arena) but in a few strides she was back to feeling good. I let her choose the pace, which resembled something you might see at Churchill Downs, but I want her to be able to move how she's most comfortable. We did about 10 minutes of trotting each way and a lot of walking in between. She's pretty out of shape, so 45 minutes was about the limit for her.
During the cool down period, I like to drop my reins and drive her around with just my legs. She's getting really good at this and I can point her to any area in the arena and steer her to it. I also decided to try getting her to side pass without the reins, although I didn't expect her to do it. She surprised me when she absolutely side passed in both directions without any help from the reins! Such a good girl!
|Sweet mare face.|