Sunday, December 4, 2011

Back Inside

I can't even remember when our last indoor ride was.  I know we had a brief indoor ride just before one of the ferrier visits, but I think that was back in the early summer.

This is definitely a good thing.  I enjoy the fact that we have an indoor arena, but I also like to ride outside as much as possible.  This morning, though, it was cold and damp.  Yesterday it rained off and on all day long, so the ground was soaked.  But it was very comfortable in the indoor.

While tacking up I did notice that Bear was a little tight in his back.  I spent some extra time rubbing him down and he seemed to relax into it nicely.  But then when I put the saddle on and went to do up the cinch he was really moving around a lot.  That is unlike him.  He does like to fidget, but never when I'm actually doing stuff with him.

Still, he was in good spirits, and I figured we would just have an easy ride.  We started things off slowly by just walking around, then walking the same amount of steps forward then back.  We moved into some serpentines and brief neck reining work and he was good with all of it.  Robin and Steen were loping circles around us, and we weren't bothered in the slightest.

When we moved out into a trot along the rail we both felt good.  He was moving in a nice, relaxed manner and I was feeling great in the saddle.  I have long had an overly tight right hip, and for the past week I've been working on it pretty hard.  I think I'm making some progress, because I never remember my hips and legs feeling so relaxed in the saddle.  I also noticed all this going to the right (our least favorite direction, which is why I started with it).

So I was surprised when we started going to the left that he got a little pissy.  I got a few head tosses from him, and at one point I thought I felt him limping.  I asked Robin to watch us trot and walk and she agreed, it looked like there was a slight limp.

His attitude was good, and as we walked things did improve and I couldn't feel anymore limping.  I didn't do anymore trotting, we just walked along the rail, and I worked on keeping him there with my legs.  We made some good progress there.  Since we've been doing almost all of our rides out in open spaces, following the rail is not really a strong point of Bear's. 

After the ride I gave him some more massages and stretched out his legs.  He definitely has an inclination to get tight on the right side of his back, and for a while I've worried that it is related to his saddle.  When we first got this saddle back in March it helped quite a bit as it was a pretty big improvement over the other saddle we were using.  But in reality, it is not a great saddle.  For the past few months my long term plan has been to get a really nice saddle with a rawhide covered wood tree from a maker that has a reputation of fitting their saddles to a lot of different horses.  Bear is a very standard type of Quarter Horse, so this shouldn't be too difficult.  Now I'm just wondering if I should act a little sooner and get him a nicer saddle for the winter.  He certainly isn't getting any younger.

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