To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More questions

Last weekend we camped at the base of Mt. Adams with friends and horses.
Our site

Our rig, with Mt. Adams in the distance
Lance tucked in and ready for the night
My handsome Lance – such a good camper!
After a couple weeks of staying off his back, it was good to be on my mustang again. We rode as a family on Saturday, Rick and I rode together on Sunday morning, and I took another short ride Sunday afternoon to try out a saddle.
Yep, a Western saddle – and it seemed to fit well and be comfortable for Lance! A friend of ours is a saddle maker, and this is his personal saddle. It's built on a full quarter horse flex tree, which speaks to just how broad Lance is. I'd really prefer a dressage saddle, but I am open to whatever is going to keep my boy sound and happy for the long haul.

Back to Rick's and my Sunday morning ride. We took a 3.5-mile loop with some hills, nothing too strenuous. Rick's little quarter horse, who gets ridden every six months or so, was stepping it off smartly, in spite of his smaller size, lack of condition, and far heavier load. Lance kept having to jog to keep up until I finally asked if we could take the lead. A few times when we were going uphill he just stopped, apparently needing a breather. I got off and led him up the steepest stretch, and he still needed a lot of encouraging to continue.

Once back in camp we untacked Lance, who barely broke a sweat, and Ollie, who was lathered, then took all three of our horses out to graze awhile in the meadow. It was warm and sunny, and the horses were relaxed and happy. After 30 minutes or so, we led them back to their high lines. For reasons he didn't explain – gut feeling? – Rick took his stethoscope out and checked Lance's heart rate. It was 70. He checked Breezy and Ollie; they were around 40, as would be expected. I asked Rick what Lance's elevated pulse could mean, but he didn't have any answers for me – or wasn't willing to share his thoughts. I'm trying not to fret, but.....

Today I met up with my friend Sylvia to borrow her Schleese saddle. Brought it home and tried it on my conundrum; it looked good so I schooled Lance for a bit with no red flags. But he sure acted pooped when I brushed him off . . . or was it just my over-active brain? Sigh.

Next week I am planning to meet up with Suzan to try a bunch of saddles, and will have her look at this one, too. Hopefully my vet will do some more looking as well. My mind needs some relief!


Anonymous said...

His lack of endurance/energy along with his elevated heart rate (this after 30 minutes rest!) is dismaying. I wonder what Rick thinks? I'm sorry things haven't been easy and straightforward with Lance. :(

Theresa said...

Gosh Michelle, I got nothing on this, Mary, who has done endurance with Woody might have some light to shed if she stops in. I had one scary experience with Cooper overheating and not being able to stop sweating and of course breathing and heart rate where elevated, BUT he was out of condition and it was a hot early spring day and he still had his winter coat. We've grown wiser and it hasn't happened ever again. He looks good in that western saddle too though. Such a handsome boy!

shelly hancock said...

keeping my fingers crossed for no new health surprises with Lance.

Alanna M. said...

Ugh. That's no fun. I hope you get some answers soon.

Michelle said...

Wnada, Rick hasn't given me much guidance. He did check Lance's heart rate the other evening and it was normal, so it isn't perpetually elevated.

Theresa, Lance sweats very little, but enough that I know he doesn't have anhidrosis.

Me, too, Shelly and Alanna.