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

Monday, June 20, 2016

More changes, bad and good

Since I was reporting on our rider clinic for my last post, I didn't mention much about my Friday ride, other than my own struggles. But Lance seemed to be having struggles of a different nature.

Lance used to be a fidgety cranky-pants about saddling; he came to me that way. Over time he has gotten much better, maybe because he learned that my saddle wasn't going to hurt and/or I wasn't going to be intimidated. What eliminated it completely was giving him something to eat while I groomed and saddled him, which I am happy to do.

Lately Lance has been getting a bit cranky about grooming and saddling again, and he definitely was on Friday. I thought about the possibilities; could he have tweaked himself when he fell? What about his back? I am no pro at back exams, but when I palpated a bit it did seem that he was sore. Was it from the fall or from my saddle or . . . ?

I grabbed my saddle out of the tack room and put it on his bare back. It not longer sat there with nice, even contact. It rocked when touched alternately on pommel and cantle, and when I looked down the gullet from behind, it looked like it sat closer to his spine on the left side. Not good; not good at all!

When I bought my saddle, a used Wintec Dressage 250 with CAIR panels, two years ago, it fit him perfectly with the extra-wide gullet plate, but a lot can change in two years. Obviously, Lance's back has changed. What to do? The only "fix" on hand I could think of was The CorrecTOR. Russell didn't like it, but it has helped saddle fit for other horses I've ridden, and Rick rides with the Western version and recommends them to his clients. So I rode Lance Friday with a thin saddle pad and The CorrecTOR. I focused more on my riding than his way of going, but didn't feel a noticeable difference in him.

Fast forward to this morning, since I didn't ride over the weekend. I gave Lance a handful of choice hay and started grooming and tacking up. He didn't move away and he didn't turn an ear! It doesn't seem like one ride with The CorrecTor and two days off should make such a big difference in attitude, but I'll take it.

We had a good ride, too. We did our walking warm-up in the arena, then headed down the lane in the woods. Practicing my position out of the saddle made it easier to maintain in the saddle, and Lance responded well to my aids. We'll see if the positive changes continue!


A :-) said...

I love reading about you and Lance :-)

Michelle said...

Thanks, A; I'm glad someone does! This is mostly for my own record keeping, but it's nice to know someone else enjoys my posts. :-D