Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Milo raced my truck down the driveway as I pulled in off the highway. He bucked, leaped and reared an galloped alongside the fenceline coming to a screeching halt at the gate. He threw his head over the gate and blew out hard, tail flagging. Well, at least he's definitely feeling better, I thought to myself.

I haltered him up and lead him up the driveway. Milo marched alongside me, eager to make it to the barn. When in the crossties, I ran my hands down his legs and hooves and all was still cold from the day before. I probably dont need to be checking anymore, but Im scared that something will come up without my searching!

I groomed him quickly, then threw the old familiar pink bareback pad on his back. Milo danced a little in the crossties, excited for this sign of work to come. He calmed down and I led him out to the roundpen, to watch him move and really make sure he was sound before swinging my leg over.

He flagged his tail a bit on the longeline and looked around at the happenings around him (which was none, but Milo needed an excuse to feel spunky). Satisfied at the walk, I sent him into a trot and pushed his body away from mine to see if he would reach up underneath and out on that left hind leg. Milo obliged willingly and showed no signs of ouchy on the hoof. I loped him and continued to scrutinize his gait, but still did not see anything. I made him rollback off to the other direction and he swung around on that leg easily, loping off into the new direction. A few more rotations and I was satisfied.

Leading him into the arena, Milo put his head up into the air and took a deep breath in. We walked into the covered arena and I replaced his halter with the bridle. Positioning him next to the mounting block, I easily slid onto his back. Milo was very hollowed out with a head up looking at the two other horses in a lesson. I bumped my legs on his sides and he dropped his head a millameter. Pushing him up and into the bridle I walked him off loosely. The first lap around the arena Milo was distracted and looking around.

Milo's posture had definitely changed after the two weeks off, and it was taking a lot of effort on my part to get him back into the swing of things. Then I remembered I was needing to work on my position still. So I lifted my sternum and blew out the birthday candles. I had to continue telling myself to do these things every few minutes as I would relapse back to my old posture. This mustve been exactly what Milo had to do as we would have a few nice strides and he would hollow out again.

I walked Milo in circles each direction, guiding him with the outside rein and pushing him into the arc with my inside leg. He was bulging his left shoulder out, and when turning to the left, was stiff to bend inside. Things we were needing to work on before the two week layup, but quite apparent that night. After a bit of work however, and constant reminder on my part to position myself correctly, he finally started to get back where he should be and lifted up and sighed, ready for some work. We worked on keeping our backs mirrored of each others, shoulders up and straight, and for Milo especially, moving off my outside leg. But after a while, we both had some successful circles each direction.

I pushed Milo into a straight line and worked on staying balanced and centered and keeping his shoulders up and straight - no bulging. It took a few tries, but Milo got it. I tried to roll my hips down for a halt. The first few attemps Milo stopped hollow. I knew it was because I wasnt actually rolling my hips, more, dropping my seat and not riding.

After a few more tries, I finally got my hips to move independantly, and Milo stopped nicely. By the third attempt with a correct rolled hip, Milo stopped beautifully with his hip down and his back up. Good Milo, I said, and slid off of his back, patting his neck. Milo sighed, closed his eyes, and licked his lips.


Kate said...

Nice! So glad he's feeling much better.

in2paints said...

I'm so glad he's feeling better! And trust me, once you've had an issue like that, you tend to check constantly! I think I'll do it to Lilly forever!

Molly said...

Looks like Milo is ready to jump back into the reining shows! (: