Saturday, January 29, 2011

Not Broken!

I'm happy to report that my pony is not broken after all. Two weeks ago I posted that Junior was having issues with weight and balance. Though the issues are not completely resolved, he is very much on the road to better times. He is showing improvement all over and increasing muscle in his hind end. I did increase both his grain and his hay rations but I won't get into the details just now. The biggest steps have actually been in the way we've been working. I've been riding more frequently, and have switched back to my english saddle and a snaffle bit. We've been trotting for 25-35 minutes every other day and have been working on keeping his back up and increasing impulsion. I don't suppose that sounds like much, but remember how lazy I am and how it's winter and how f*ing busy I am with work right now - it's my busiest time of year. But improvement is visible and palpable.

We had a session with an equine chiropractor/massage therapist on Friday morning. We'd been trying to get her and she happened to have a cancellation. I can clearly understand why she's in such high demand. She spent over an hour with us. He was "out" in his poll, neck, both shoulders, a couple of ribs, and his pelvis was twisted. Though she said none of that was "scary". She attributed most of his left hind issue to his pelvis. When she was done working on him he was incredibly calm. He even stood by his open stall door while I put his blanket back on and didn't move an inch even though there was a pile of lovely hay in his stall. He was super chill. She also took a gander at my training saddle which I've always questioned whether or not it fits him. She said it seems fine, but that the skirt is too long for him considering how far back his shoulder slopes. So my hunt for a new saddle has a somewhat limiting new factor. I WILL do a post on that eventually, I promise.

Today we had a lesson with Monet. Yet again my mind is completely blown. She says our biggest issues are increasing straightness and impulsion. Which in a way means that we don't know jack sh*t because straightness and impulsion are kindergarten. But I'm okay with that. In the 17+ years I've been riding I've had to accept that I will probably always be in kindergarten. I'm very comfortable with our reality. I didn't think that way when I was about 17 and thought I was the queen of the ring, but we all thought ridiculous things when we were teenagers, right? But I digress. The lesson was great and exhausting for both me and Junebug. But he was such a champ. I did feel his LH go ONCE but it was when I brought him to a walk improperly because I needed to take a break from all of that standing and pushing and releasing and swinging and half halting and whatever other 200 things I was trying to do all at the same time. And I learned today that he DOESN'T lose the LH when he's USING his LH, only when he's NOT using it. So I have to keep him using it. Kindergarten again.

Here's two clips from today. The first is Monet riding him. She mentioned that he feels much better to her now than the first time she was on him back in late summer. Then it's some of the last 10 minutes of our lesson when I finally started putting things together and he (because Monet had been on him) had started to figure out what on earth all my in-saddle shenanigans were all about. You'll notice I look completely ridiculous and flappy. Snicker away. I sure did when I watched it! But just like teaching a horse to steer, you have to exaggerate in the beginning. Don't watch me, just watch him MOVE!

I do love him.


  1. I am glad to hear that you both are doing fine. Just keep going in the same direction you are going. You are actually very observant and that makes a big difference. I am rather jealous of your indoor as we gave ours up this last year when we moved to a better barn. Aka better people, better hay, better fences, and 600acres of trails, an outdoor, but no indoor. Sigh... you have to give something up, right. As for not remembering what the trainers talk about or the homework they give you I have found it helpful to keep a notebook to jot things down in after every lesson as reminders. Sometimes if it was a really in depth lesson I even ask my trainer to take 5min to help me remember all of the important stuff. This works really well for me and also serves as a sort of diary on progress which is fun to look back on. Glad everything is going better.

  2. Great improvement. Keep working with that trainer. He's not so strung out and lazy in the hind. Good forward starts with the hind, and he's finally using his. Good job!

  3. I love Monet's enthusiasm!! :)

    Junior looks really good, both weight wise and under saddle. I'm glad to hear things went well with the chiro and he's improving.

  4. Hey, was looking at some videos to get some ideas. Can you tell me about your trainer in this video so I can reconcile what I'm looking at? What's her background and discipline? What was her explanation of this exercise and what was it trying to achieve? Maybe you said this somewhere else and I missed it, my brain is a little fried these days! Anyway, if you get a chance to answer these, I would be very interested!

  5. eventer79 - Sorry no one answered you before. I just noticed this question. Monet Phelps is my daughter's trainer and a good friend. She brings a unique biomechanics approach from her West Coast roots here to Ohio. She is training and fixing horses that no one else can fix. I have 2 horses in training with her now and see a difference after just a few days in their movements. Please call her with your questions as she's wonderfully easy to approach at (805) 680-3976. Come out and see what Exalt & Salute has to offer. I used to give lessons, but after seeing her work I realized I had no idea what to do. I surrendered to her techniques and enjoy my horses more than ever. Call her!!

  6. Actually, Becky, I made it possible for Monet to contact eventer79 directly rather than have her answers appear here in the comments. So her question was indeed answered in a timely manner.