Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Little Bit of Everything

Can a horse's back change that dramatically in the matter of a week or so? I think that Milo's has. Ive been working on poles, backing, anything to help raise his back up and develop a stronger topline. Yesterday I put the saddle on Milo (hadnt been on in four days) and I sear it fit better than it ever has before.

When Milo was growing there was a period of time when I was riding him in a semi QH bar saddle and it was too narrow. It ended up creating these bulges on his shoulders. The saddle fitter said it was due to the pinching saddle. Its been about 8 months now of conscious saddle fitting awareness that I have been working on reducing the bulges and building up the hollows on either sides of his withers, along with developing a stronger topline.

This new saddle I got about maybe two months ago fit well when I first got it, sits a little downhill on him (well, he is downhill) after removing the reverse wedge Cashel pad I had previously been riding him in. Lately I have only pu my folded over wool saddle blanket on. I read somewhere, I think it was Clinton Anderson who said it, that less is more. A well fitting saddle doesnt need anything else to make it fit. Anyways, the saddle fit well on his back, but was a little tight where those bulges still are. However yesterday I really noticed how reduced those bulges have become and that he is filling in the hollows on the sides of the withers.

This does make sense, Ive been working on keeping him really relaxed through his poll, neck, and topline, therefore relaxion would reduce tension (Milo holds his tension at his poll and where those bulges are). Combine that with the pole work and working him consistetly on lifting his back and using his core, means a changed topline. I was really happy to see how well the saddle was fitting.

On to the ride yesterday, I was really aware of my seat, but not too focused on it to cause any tension. I think my last bareback ride really helped secure my seat a bit better, and I wasnt bracing in the stirrups, I actually had very steady quiet legs. I began by a relaxed walk, stretching him out and getting ready for our work to come. I than moved into the jog and worked on our squares a bit and keeping him working off my legs well. In these two gaits I was really having Milo hold himself up and have some self carriage. I didnt have to do all the work for once! He was holding himself in frame and working nicely.

When I moved into the working trot, he needed a bit more assistance on my part, which is fine, and I had to go two handed and keep my hands steady where he needed to be. I really only needed my hands for support for him, as my legs where asking him to stay rounded and collected. We worked at the trot for a while, went over some poles, did some circles and worked off my legs nicely. When I pushed him into the lope he was so balanced and ready he transitioned into it so smoothly! None of the head in the air, crazy trot steps. It was really nice. It took a lap or so at the lope to get him back into a relaxed and low frame but once he got pushed into it he held it nicely. I ended up trying to work on lead changes again, but he just wasnt getting the flying cue. Its ok. I brought him down to simple changes instead and tried to get some solidity at that.

Once during loping to the right, I swear Milo had what I had been told through the comments, may be "catchy stifles". His inside hind just didnt seem to swing through in the lope, it seemed to get stuck. He recovered and we continued but it is really puzzling me. I think a phone call to the vet may be a good option just to see what he thinks about it. I tried researching about it online but didnt find anything.

But in good news, during our lope (to the left) Milo was the most relaxed and round he has ever been at the lope for about three solid strides. It was amazing! To top that off, I had a really secure and quiet seat, coupled with my quiet and steadier legs. I was also sitting more balanced and centered and wasnt leaning forward (it at least felt like I was correct). There was a long time during our lope work that he and I just felt like a real team. He was working really well, and I was riding that really well too. It was a very proud moment I must say :)

And lastly, Milo again pleased me when he stood quietly ground tied in the aisle-way. He just ceases to amaze me.

He is getting his hooves trimmed this morning (love my farrier for being able to trim while Im not there - and Milo too for being a good boy for him) but should be fine for a ride tonight. I am really hoping to hit the trails sometime soon before the last fragments of good weather is gone. Milo deserves a ride without having to work too hard, especially since he has been so consistently good. :)

1 comment:

in2paints said...

Sounds like you're both making progress! :)

The problem with "catchy stifles" is I can never seem to get my mare to do it in front of the vet. I had Lilly checked a couple of times, especially during her tendon rehab earlier this year because it seemed to happen a lot during our walks. My vet thought it was just because she was losing muscle from being in a stall 24 hours a day and being unable to move around freely. I even had her adjusted (my vet is also my chiro) just in case.

She hasn't done it as much lately, but when she does, it is really noticeable.

I hope you're able to find out what's going on with Milo's catchy stifles!