January 19, 2017 3 Comments
We’re two weeks into our sojourn at the new barn, and we’ve had some really fantastic rides – better than I have any right to expect, in fact, given how out of shape Fredders is after his assorted lamenesses. I mean, look at him. He looks amazing, despite the monkey on his back hauling on the right rein.
Unfortunately, the quality of our rides plummeted this week, marked by a sour attitude and resistance.
He’s not lame – I threw him on the longe on Tuesday and was treated to a display of remarkable athleticism that lasted 45 minutes. A horse needs to be entirely, wholly sound to pull the crap Fred did on Tuesday.
We worked through the issues last night, and ended up with some decent work, including some very decent trot/canter transitions on a 20M circle.
Tonight we had a lesson, and it was a different story. Fred was clearly uncomfortable, curling behind the bit even on a loopy rein, gaping his mouth and in general registering his unhappiness in every way he cold muster.
I hopped off, and Christy and I looked at the saddle. I had been over his back before I tacked up, and found no soreness, but we determined that it was pinching on either side of the wither. So I slid the ThinLine I use out from underneath it, which would free up quite a bit of space around the head of the saddle, and got back on. Well, that was a bit too much of an adjustment – the saddle was now sinking in front, and definitely was impinging on his shoulder, especially when I asked him to bend.
“If you got on him without the saddle, that would tell you clearly if that’s what’s bothering him,” Christy ventured.
I’m not a huge fan of riding bareback. Horses are smooth and slippery. My Thoroughbreds all had prominent withers and spines that I wanted no part of. But Fred is kind of like a couch. I got over myself, took off his saddle, and slithered aboard.
To give his spine some relief, I stuck the ThinLine under my butt, and off we went. Fred is actually super comfortable, and I stunned Christy by trotting him a bit. He was pleasant and willing.
Christy and I agreed that my next step is to break out the gullets and shims and go to work. I’m going to start with some 8 mm front shims under the panels. If that doesn’t work I’ll switch gullets, but I think shimming will do the trick.
Oh, and I’m going to buy a bareback pad.