Thursday, January 15, 2015

Better

Ashke seemed better when I got to the barn last night. The knots in his right hip had gotten smaller and felt similar to the muscle in his left hip. I spent a lot of time grooming and although he wanted me to do extra scratching on his right hip, he didn't want it to last as long as the night before. I took this as a sign that his hip was still sore but better than before.

As I was putting conditioner into his mane and tail, three girls came by and ooo'd and aahhh'd at his beautifulness (their words). He was curious but not really interested in making new friends, although he does like to be admired. Kids just aren't his thing. Something in his past has made him wary of small people. I'm okay with that, unless I am having him tote a three year old princess around on his back, and then he just needs to deal. (BTW, the little princess called and said she wants to come live with Ashke, and would I come and get her please. And she wants to spend more time with her "tall boy".)

We headed for the arena where I had Ashke walk on a long rein (another reason I truly believe he was being prepped for showing before he broke his left patella) down the arena and I could see the slight hitch in his right hip. I got on and within half a circle of the arena at the walk, I could feel it loosen and relax. We walked a lot, then moved to the trot. It was hard to do any actual work since there were 10 horses in the indoor and about ten kids (Pony Club). After trotting in both directions, we tried a canter. He struggled to hold his left lead (pushing off with his right hind), so we went back to the walk. I made him face the scary end of the arena and let him snort and sniff the tarps covered panels. Then we spent some times standing still and trying to relax (didn't ever really relax, but did stand still) with our butt to the really scary part.

I believe getting your horse to just stand still is an important part of training. After we had worked on that, we worked on bending in a circle at the walk. Although I could get Ashke to bend through his neck going to the right, he refused any type of bend to the left. I finally dismounted and positioned him next to the wall, with his right hip close to the panels, and worked to get him to bend his neck to the left. The wall prevented him from turning his hip out, but didn't prevent him from backing away from the request. I moved with him, figuring I would position him in the corner, so he couldn't swing his hip out or back away. He finally realized what I was asking (I had my hand positioned on his nose, not pulling from the bit since he was in a curb) and swung his head around. I could feel where the tightness was and applied a bit of pressure and massage to help ease the muscles. Diane always talks about diagonal tension, which is what I was seeing. His right hip and left shoulder/neck. This has been the other area where Ashke has wanted extra grooming or rubs. Once he was able to move his head around to the left easily, I moved and double checked the right (no problem), then again on the left one more time. When I got back on and asked for a circle to the left, Ashke was able to bend through the neck in that direction.

We started working up and down one wall. Walk down. Stop. Turn on the forehand and walk back. Sometimes we would turn on the haunches. Then moved to the trot and asked for a shoulder in (or haunches out - I'm not sure of the difference) and moved down the wall with hips and shoulders not in the same line. Then we did cantering on the line and allowed him to pick the lead he wanted (mostly right, but an occasional left). I wanted him to move, but didn't want to strain or push his right hip. I finished up with some zig zag leg yield down the arena. We are still working on moving forward and sideways at the same time.

Overall, about an hour on him. Mostly working on technical stuff. He was moving much better for me under saddle. It may just be an issue I am going to have to manage. He will get Thursday and Friday off (with some free time with his ball on Friday) then a trail ride with L and K on Saturday. He got fussed over in his stall and fed his mash. He stuck his nose so far into the bucket it was dripping off his nose like thick mud and he had to snort it out of his nostrils. Yuck.

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