Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Things A Horse Person Should Never Joke About

I should know better by now, but apparently I do not.

A couple of weeks ago, a couple of horses in the barn got abscesses. One in particular the trainer was evaluating on the longe line to see if she was better - I happened to be in the arena waiting for my lesson to start, and so parked my rig [Ben] in the corner. Ben was completely mesmerized by the longeing going on in front of him - it was super cute to watch his intensity. The trainer even joked about Ben wanting to know where he could get one of those [abscesses] so he didn't have to work for a couple of weeks. We all laughed and carried on at Ben's expense.

Nail in the coffin.

Last week, guess who "caught" an abscess. So we've been working through that.

He's finally feeling better- and being a bit of a turkey, as always :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Well, That Was Quick

So much for a long, drawn out expedition to figure out what the heck is bothering my horse.

Today I decided to switch saddles. I happen to have another Kent and Masters saddle in my tack room I got for a screamin' deal. Its an 18" Original Cob. I bought it with the intent of using it on another horse, but that guy's a long way off from needing it.

So I plopped it on Ben, and it looked pretty level - more level than our current saddle. So I girthed him up and off we went into the arena to try it out.

It took me some getting used to - my whiny hips have become so accustomed to the narrow twist of my KM S-series dressage. But you know, it wasn't all that bad. It felt a bit bulky under my thighs, but I got pretty used to it. I think if I also swap out the thigh blocks for smaller ones and angle them, I'll be pretty good to go.

The good news is- Ben's canter improved immensely with the swap in saddles. While not perfect, it was definitely better. There was no tooth grinding, either.

Our saddle has an appt on March 7th for some TLC - so I hope an adjustment in the flocking, and perhaps a swap in gullet size is all we need on that front. If not, we'll see if this Cob can't be made to work either, though I definitely prefer my S-series.

I now have some options to play with between now and then. We'll see if the canter keeps improving with the change, or if I just got lucky today...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Something Not Quite Right

Sorry for the lack of updates. I really haven't had much to write about. My riding time has almost disappeared due to a major project at work. To be honest, I don't really mind, because lately we're just a little...not right.

Ben is being a very good boy. And there are things he's doing very well - his trot is amazing now, once he's warmed up, forward thinking, and loose. You can really feel it - and I think we'd get some pretty decent scores if we could show it to a judge.

His canter, however has gone crappy. First it was his left lead. Now the right lead has lost a bit of the brilliance it had. You can push it out of him, but he's just not offering it like he was.Trainer can obviously get better out of him, but even she feels like something is just..off with him.

Additionally, he's decided, as of wednesday, to be a mega bit grinder.

He's done the bit grinding thing before, but abandoned it a long time ago. I actually forgot about it until he broke out into tune. Quick, someone grab the ear plugs.

Ahh so what to do. Is it physical pain? Is it boredom?  I don't know really. He doesn't look to be in pain, and he's not lame...but is he guarding something? His saddle is due for its 3 month check up, and I do think it could use a bit of a flocking adjustment...could it be that simple? He's also coming up on his due date for a dental check and probable float.

He's also been going around in circles in a teeny little box of an arena all winter long. Could he just be...bored?

Could it be all of that put together?

Unfortunately it is going to take some time to figure out, but we'll slowly tick things off the list. If anything it'll buy us some time for Spring to arrive- and hopefully with that we'll be able to get out on a trail or something.

In the mean time, I am going to try to set up some ground poles again to see if that helps the canter stuff at all. Trainer suggested maybe I set up a crossrail to pop over a bit too - just something to mix it up.