Sunday, April 23, 2017

Taking it all in

Wednesday I visited Prophecy at lunch to take some quick saddle pics, insert a shim into the right panel of the saddle, and do his worming.  This week has not left much time for him in the physical sense, so I wanted to get out and connect with him... I really needed to, as this week also marked a year since losing Tesla to colic - I needed to feel that connection with a horse to help with the emotions raging under the surface.
Traveler & Tesla's intertwined tail hair bracelet

Thursday I took the day off of work to head a few hours west of here to audit a clinic of Simple Equine Teaching  and all I have to say is WOW; even-though I was only able to make it for one of the two days (they started Wed), I came away with a ton of new tools in my box. Jaime introduced me to the SET group last year, and I more recently have been doing the online Facebook classrooms to further my relationship with Prophecy (highly recommend!).
I have so much running around in my head I don't even know where to start...  I watched her work with 4 other horse & rider pairs and she willingly took questions from us from sun-up to past dark, going down to the very foundation of the 'issues' we were asking about, giving us more information that I think we can process!

I got the answer I really needed and have been searching for the past few months - though it is not the one I really wanted to hear, but had felt was the real issue anyway - the issues with Prophecy feeling "balled up" are due to my reaction when he first balled up that day riding with another horse.  It was our first outing with that horse, who happened to spook badly and I in turn tensed up...something I had not done when riding Prophecy alone for so many rides before that.  Since then, he has likely felt my anxiety and not forgotten that moment and it created some "distrust" in my ability to be a leader for him (especially since he is the Alpha in his pasture).  She recommended I do something (non horse related) that truly scares the crap out of me to help me through that anxiety 😲 Half the stuff she mentioned carries a risk of death!  And of course, do what it takes (arena work, etc) to gain more confidence on him.  I think a lot of my confidence issue to ride out what he throws comes from knowing the saddle will not necessarily stay in place for all those movements, despite all my efforts to get it solid (and this has been an issue in every saddle we try that doesn't later prove to be too narrow and pinch him).  Hopefully the addition of the shim will help even it out more so we won't be tipped right, the Dixie midnight pad will continue to be used as well, and a new saddle pad to try is on order that I have gotten testimonials about from other treeless users with wide low withered horses to really help with the rolling (which it also carries a 30day guarantee on it so gives me time to really test it).

I knew most of this, but Prophecy has a great personality to work with, and is very willing, he is just apparently trying to take me to the next level of GO all the time so I just have to rein him in some to work where I am at.  Lots of tools learned at the clinic.  He is very curious and confident, and I need to use that to my advantage.

We are hoping to get her back to VA again, and if I so I am definitely planning to bring Prophecy out to work with!
The beautiful views from the pastures at The Big Lonely as the mist rises Thursday morning


The sun was out quite a bit more and stronger than the weather predicted, so I got a little burnt!  Afternoon storms blew in about 3:15 but we were prepared to get wet.
Afternoon view


Sunday
I took some of the tools I learned and went out to see Prophecy.  Catching was easy, he came walking up to me happy to see me. I took a ton of time grooming - boy he is shedding out to his nice liver -chestnut shade.
Tacking up was very relaxed as well. He didn't get antsy until the cinching up part.  He didn't even dance for seeing the saddle pad or saddle itself. Normally he can get a little worried as soon as he sees everything on the ramp.

So much hair!
This ride we tried a shimmed right shoulder, with the Dixie Midnight pad under the Matrix.  Neither he, nor Ruby who we were riding with, allowed us to tighten their girths as much as normal.  Jen & I both went with it, but that choice did not really work for us!  The Dixie seemed to slip itself and I ended up with an all 4 hooves in the air rodeo style buck - that I stayed on for! We fixed tack when he refused to go down a hill without bucking and tossing his head around, then I remounted.  We rode a little further, and then he attempted to rear (small, but both fronts left the ground) when we are at the home stretch along the pastures.  I hopped off, realizing he was screaming at me at this point as Dee would say...and walked him back the rest little bit.  I found the Dixie completely off center upon our return.  Not sure if it had to do with the looser set up, or the shim... It did not shift like this when we rode last weekend at Preddy Creek, and this was 2.5 miles compared to 5 ...



Pretty mane clip with bells to ride with


After we were done I headed to Amanda's to grab a few hay bales for our trip to Bull Run next weekend. She has some good stuff he likes :)   I stuck around a while to chat (and whine about saddle fit), and was there when Jeannie Waldron came out to vet one of her horses for sale being looked at by a fellow endurance rider.  We chatted and she remembers seeing him in Dec (Osteopath visit) - showed her some pics of today's saddle fit check and she went "Oh, I see your problem...bummer, that's a tough one to work with"... Just what I wanted to hear! NOT!  She suggested booking him for his next adjustment and LOTS of time to play with saddles and find him a good fit, and tweak the one I've got. He definitely needs a wide in any treed type, she even said not to be afraid of one advertised as an 'extra-wide'.

When I had him back at the barn I made a few little tweaks to the saddle on the right side, since it now seemed to need to be set slightly wider with the shim in the panel.  I'm hoping maybe someone will have some saddles we can play with at Bull Run too. Someday I'll get this guy figured out!

Monday I pick up the trailer from it's yearly inspection/maintenance and begin to pack up for Bull Run. Should be a hot weekend, mostly dry forecast at this point.  We will see how he does and go forward from there. I will say that on Sunday's ride he was not "balled up" as before, even with all the head tossing and bucking, etc - he was legitimately voicing his displeasure to me, not just being in that emotional state I saw before, so I know we are making progress and I managed to keep my own emotions in check with him.

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