It’s all connected

A riddle wrapped in an enigma, slathered in mud.

For the last week my interactions with Derby have been on the ground – my saddle doesn’t fit him well, and he started to get a little sore after I rode him for a short duration, despite using a slightly wider gullet that looked better balanced on him.  As I noted earlier, he started to get a little resistant shortly into our ride – light on the front end and unwilling to move forward freely – signs, in my experience, that the saddle is uncomfortable.  However, after the ride his back wasn’t sore.  The next day, however, was a different story – Derby started to show what I’d call mild soreness.

I was out of town in the middle of last week, and I asked Christy to do some training rides on Derby, if his back recovered.  However, on Tuesday he was very sore, and Wednesday he wasn’t much better.  On Friday, Christy went over him more thoroughly, and discovered that Derby was also very sore in his left hind muscles.

Horses are like dominoes.  One thing can affect many others. Atlanta is a good example of this – she was very back sore a while ago, when she was due for hock injections and had some shoeing issues on her hind feet.  Now that she’s had her hocks done and the shoeing problem has ben addressed, she’s going beautifully, and her back feels good.  (She sure used it in the training ride she had with Christy last week!)   Christy suggested that something else was going on – that one short ride in a less-than-ideal saddle could cause this much persistent soreness – such as a slip in the mud or torquing something during turnout.  I put him on the longe line today to see how he moved.

Moving to the left, he looked fine, stretching while he trotted, moving out willingly and tracking up.   He stepped neatly into a canter when I asked.  Everything looked good.

It was a different story going to the right, however.   He was short behind and didn’t stretch while trotting.  When I asked him to canter, he swapped leads behind.    We stopped.

I hadn’t been giving him any bute, because I wanted to gauge the recovery of his back. And tonight, after we stopped longing, his back looked pretty good, but his hiney was still pretty sore.  I gave him a couple grams of bute, and after discussing it with Christy, decided that a short ride tomorrow – mostly at the walk,  and focusing on stretching, would be the plan.  I have a Schleese saddle on trial that looks like it fits him pretty well.  We’re going to do gentle “horse yoga” – bending, stretching and giving – but I won’t be engaging his hind legs.  We’ll just work on straight lines and big loops.  Hopefully, he’ll recover in a few days – our saddle fitting is tentatively scheduled for the 16th.  Hopefully I’ll have a saddle I can ride confidently in soon.