Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday with Katie, Lena, and Bar

Katie dusted off our cutting saddle--says she's used to them now--and got on Lena today. Katie was working on her seat, Lena was just glad to be out again (I rode her yesterday) after two weeks of the round pen.

I didn't get to watch much of her ride, though she says it was good and she spent a lot of time working on her seat using tips Ike and Cheri gave her over the last month. It's just really good to see her in the saddle again, and good for Lena, too.

I worked with Bar in the round pen using some of the tips Karen gave me to improve his fitness level. He has not been using his hind end enough, either because he was sore, or just because he was never trained to get into the frame that gets him to use his whole circle of muscles, or both. The idea is to get him into that frame and relaxed on the ground so it's easier to get him into it while under saddle. He is not, as you may guess, always relaxed about things. A tense horse is (generally) not working his body in the right way, not using the whole ring of muscle to propel himself forward from his hindquarters. That can lead to back soreness and injuries, and in Bar's case, he is also relying too much on that front end which creates a higher risk of stumbling over his own font feet.

Just like my chiropractor tells me, using the core muscles protects your back and it's important to keep them strong and supple. In the case of a horse, it keeps them balanced. Traveling through (I think this is the term, but please forgive me if I'm wrong) basically means that the horse is engaged from the poll, down the topline (neck, back), over the hindquarters, and around through the abdominal muscles, allowing him to drive from the hind end.

We are getting Bar much closer, and we're even getting there some of the time, but it will take patience and more work from both of us. That's okay, because I can already see an improvement in his body (and his brain, too), particularly in his topline, his range of movement, and his level of relaxation. I really appreciate Karen's knowledge of the bio-mechanics of how he needs to move and her help in showing us what to look for as we work.

Steve is also getting healed, though rather slower than he would like. We also ordered not-quite-matching helmets for our brains.

1 comment:

The Equus Ink said...

Have you began long and low work with Bar at all? Also trot poles, cavaletti are very good in helping the horse engage it's hind end and pay attention to where they are putting their hooves.

Hope you're enjoying the weather!