He is no longer favoring his legs when being asked to work at a trot or a canter while unridden. This is really great news. I am still doing the lift and slide TTouch on his front legs and working on him letting me do it on his hind. I am now able to run both hands down his legs at the same time, applying squeezing pressure. The next step will be the lift and slide. It seems to help a great deal.
I think I will start doing the TTouch along his neck and back, plus his tail, to see if I can't get him to relax and drop his head when I am working him. When he is being worked from the ground, his stride is smooth and easy, he is relaxed and his head is lowered. As soon as I get on him, his head goes up, and he drops his back. I'm sure the saddle fits, since its been checked several times, I just think his back is still not as strong as it could be. In watching some of the attached video, I think we need to work on lengthening his stride when I am on him, and getting him to move off his rear instead of his front. Any suggestions on getting his hind legs up under him when I am riding?
The other thing I want to do is make sure there isn't anything wrong with his structure. There is a woman who does chiropractic/massage/manipulation that I think I will call and see if she can come out and look at Ashke. There may be something going on that I am not aware of. I am a big believer in chiropractic, being pain free for the first time in my life, and I just want him as comfortable as possible. If there is nothing physically wrong with him, then maybe its just a "getting used to it issue".
This video was shot a few nights ago, when it was raining. This was the night when he was kicking, head tossing, etc. I pulled it off the video camera and figured I would include it.
Last night when we started working in the round pen, Ashke must have been feeling better because he immediately went to work at a trot and then moved right into a gallop. I just stood in the middle of the arena and let him get it out of his system. He refused to stop when I asked him to slow, so I just let him keep going. I did get him turned around at one point, and he took off again in the opposite direction. Finally, he stopped when I asked. He was already warm at that point, so we put some poles in the arena (4).
As soon as Ashke saw the poles he dropped his head and moved right over them. But he would only do that when moving clockwise in the arena. He had no problem doing them clockwise and would either jump or trot over them. It was a different story, however, when he was asked to move counter clockwise. I'm not sure why he refused to work that direction. He would turn and race by me to move over the poles in the clockwise direction. In the counter clockwise direction he pouted and shook his head and wrung his tail.
I kept asking, not forcing, knowing that he knew what I wanted him to do. He finally went through them, but he was watching me not his feet and knocked a couple of the bars. Since what he needs to do is drop his head and step through the poles. We moved the rails down off the bottom pole and closer together. Then I asked him again. This time he went through under control, paying attention to his feet, and not stressed about the task. Once he had done this a couple of times in the difficult direction, we were done.
I only rode him for a fairly short amount of time, but in that time I couldn't get him to move easily at the trot. I plan on working his back tonight when I am grooming him, try getting his back more engaged and then work him less before I get on him. I don't want him too fatigued before I am riding him. And if we have time, I want to ride him through a longer cavaletti in the round pen. Maybe eight or ten poles just on the ground.
Anyway, I was very pleased with last night's work. I have to say that hearing Ashke whinny at me when he hears me walking down the aisle in the barn and continues to whinny until I give him kisses on his nose makes my heart very happy.