Monday, April 14, 2014

Here's what we're not going to do...

Well, we're not going to win an Eq classes. Nor we will even get valid scores in Dressage until we get his wonkiness sorted out.

Bastian and I have been doing some more spring cleaning. He really felt so great last week after his hocks were done that I thought we had really nailed it. Unfortunately that did not last even one day. He was still uncomfortable and just not wanting to move out as much as he normally does. He was still reactive through his back, although he had not been at all reactive on Sunday. So we started by lunging and then I took his saddle back off, felt his back, less reactive-to no reaction so I re-saddled and hopped on for about 20 minutes, however he just felt stuck, especially on his right side. I feel a bit like I am on the verge of finding and hiring an animal psychic to communicate with him and tell me what his issues are. *sigh*

The next day he wasn't any better. I tried to lunge him on Wednesday and he was just wonky. He wasn't lame, but he wasn't right. Thursday and Friday he had off, and then finally on Saturday we took a really close look at his saddle. Emily, one of the saddle fitters from Hastilow came out and after some examination and discussion, added some flocking to the front of the saddle so that it was sitting more correctly on his back and we adjusted the gullet to a narrower version, his back has really changed shape over the past year!! Emily did new tracings of his back and took new measurements, I thought it was interesting that he changed an entire size over the course of a year with all of the more correct work we are now doing. So anyway, he had very little reaction in his back before I rode and there was no change after. Granted I only rode for ten minutes or less and I was trying to be overly conscious about not really sitting on his back, but he definitely seemed happier. She also brought me an awesome jump saddle to try and Bastian seemed to like that even more than his dressage saddle. He really would be so happy as an eventer! LOL.

Bastian also gets beaucoup points because we rode outside in the beautiful sunshine and the gale force winds. It was incredibly windy and although I was looking at everything and just waiting for a spook, Bastian could have cared less, he was mildly tense, but it was because I was tense, not because he was uncomfortable. So there you have it kids, pay attention to the flocking in your saddle and how your horse changes shape, it makes a huge difference. We're still pursuing a few other options in relation to his back discomfort so I need to give it a bit to make sure that we've solved the problem. Unfortunately, I had to take the Lake Erie show off the schedule, no way I'm going to a show with him being less than 100%. So our first show is looking like the WPDA/Grand Haven show in June and possibly the Grand Haven Schooling show in May.

So in the past three (almost four now!) weeks, I have ridden about four times, they haven't been long rides and they haven't accomplished anything more than confirming how Bastian felt on any given day. This is after Bastian and I parted ways, which has left me a little bit hesitant while riding-like I said, I'm looking at everything wondering if he's going to use it as an excuse to express himself rather than just have confidence in myself and in him. So I'm not 100% mentally back yet. Emily did a bit of video for me when I rode and while Bastian looks pretty good (especially considering that I'm not pushing him or asking for anything), he's moving and you can see that he feels comfortable and is willing to lift and use his back, I look fairly horrid. Part of it is three weeks of not riding regularly, we're just sloppy and out of sync, I've been doing exercises at home, but, they do not make up for time in the saddle as any equestrian knows. Part of it is my mental timidness, I'm hunching my shoulders and working my way slowly into the fetal position even though I know better than that. But it was not pleasant. My leg is swinging all over the place and getting in front of me, my hands don't stop moving, my shoulder's are rounded and hunched, my posting looks forced, I'm looking down (he does have cute ears-in my defense). I swear it didn't feel quite as bad as it looks, but I guess that's always the case. I need to have people video me or take pictures more often so I can see what I'm doing wrong and get it fixed. Provided that Bastian is up to it, I plan on making some serious progress in the next few weeks.

Bastian is also super happy to be naked. This weather has been great! (I'm ignoring the snow that is forecasted for tomorrow!)

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