Sunday, December 6, 2009

We're moving on up!

I have been really lazy about this blog, it is true. Here is a little update on the time after my last post. Just a warning - this will be long.

At heart Rion is a big sensitive soul and is can just freak out mentally which is what happened to him the year I got him (3 years ago now). Just over a month ago now Rion had another freak out, he had been getting very anxious and just being very, well.. stupid. Rearing whenever we stopped moving, backing up, bucking, you name it he did it. It wasn't to be mean, there was an underlying reason for this outcry. when this behavior started we had the masseur out to him and the saddle fitter and his teeth done, all in the same week and they helped but only minimally. Our friends put us onto a girl who is a vet but is also an equine chiropractor. She is a musculo-skeletal vet.

As well as Rion's huge change in behaviour his re-occurring 'bridle lameness' as we call it had dramatically worsened. We know he is not lame. In the past we have had vets check him out for lameness but he isn't lame he just continually shows the symptoms of a lame horse when contact is made in his mouth. Very annoying for dressage! So after Rion had his first visit from the musculo-skeletal vet he had a few days off. When I got back to riding him the bridle lameness seemed to have disappeared.. well, not really but it was dramtically better. So finally a step in the right direction. If I can remeber correctly after his first treatment we took him down to the vet clinic to get another scope up his nose to check the development of his ethmoid haemotoma. I don't think I have said anything about it on here before.

A little bit of background knowledge:

One day when I was riding he coughed which he never does so I jumped off straight away and found his nose bleeding. We rang the vet and we monitored the bleeding for a week until we could take him down to the clinic for his first scope. It is just one of those unlucky things that can happen to animals and humans alike. It in no way affects his performance or health. We were lucky that the whole week it bleed out but it has since regrown. It is only small but we can't treat it until it becomes larger. At his second scoping a more than a month ago he also had nerve blocks in his off side fore to find the section where the appearance of lameness is coming from. From it we discovered that it is from the shoulder area and further investigation and treatment with the musculo-skeletal vet told us that he has a great deal of tight muscle tissue in his pectorals. A lot.

She has given me exercises to do with his neck, back and fore legs to help strengthen his back and improve topline, stretch the scar tissue and get as much blood flow as possible to the area to increase his chances of healing the scar tissue, as best he can. It is all very interesting to watch and learn about. I have now officially decided I want to become a musculo-skeletal vet.

We have also reverted back to my use of natural horsemanship lungeing for Rion which changed our relationship and his ability to cope with pressure and allowing him to feel comfortable in his own skin again. We used this when we first got him and he had his first mental breakdown. I now lunge him before every ride and focus on pushing him around again as this seems to be what puts him in his place and allows him to relax and think again.

Fast forward to the good news.

After 3 visits from the musculo-skeletal vet and lots of dressage work we did our first Pre-Novice (1.10m) together and came sixth. Not too shabby I think. I am so proud of him. His dressage warm up was perfect, swinging qaurters, rhymical and rocking canter, a much freer trot thanks to the work on his pectorals, when we went up to the arena which was away in a different paddock to where we warmed up the thorughbred gene turned on and he got all excited and completely ruined all the preparation. Although the test had it's nice parts he was also very anxious and was resisting the contact. We ended up scoring 55% (I know, 10% off my 65% goal. Next year I say.) Cross country was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. His stride length was so much more powerful and longer, it was like magic, again thanks to the pectoral work he had done. Although we had 9.2 time faults XC I didn't push him as it was his first official time at the height so I was going for a clear jumping round, letting him move into the new grade stress free. It worked, we we clear on jumping, even through what I thought may be a rather difficult water jump.

The water jump consisted of a drop down into the water, two strides to a bank out of the water, a bounce across the bank into the water again and then one stride to a bank out of the water all in a straight line. I thought he might get confused at the distances and water but he was completely at home. I thought the huge, protruding log in the direct line of the jump into the water would be a problem, i had to go around it and enter the water from and angle then straighten up on the first stride in but I have no complaints, he was a star. I even said to mum I think he can go 1* now.

In the SJ he was as good as ever considering we are both showjumpers it was easy peasy for us both, the silly pilot on his back however on the last jump decided to grab his mouth on the last stride and throw her weight around making it difficult for him to do the right thing. The silly pilot thorughly regrets it but isn't too upset about the extra 4 penalites. One way of making sure I don't make a stupid mistake again :)

Since the weekend I have only ridden him once and it was a ride I like to include in my "Staple it together and call it bad weather" folder. (Thank you Jack Johnson for the lyrics). It was probably a good idea not to ride him for the rest of the week as I was distracted about our year 10 formal on friday of this week. It was so much fun! Loved every second of formal. But that isn't what this is about.. I am going to lunge Rion today after the heat of the day is gone.

I have no more competitions this year, just training. I have to have the musculo-skeletal vet out again and then he will get a big break the week before Christmas and he can have a horsey holiday. In January next year, not that I am entirely keen on the idea of having a clinic in the middle of the sumer heat. I never like to ride in January or late december here, it is just too hard on me and the horses, it gives us both a chance to chill and reguvenate. Anyway, as I was saying in January Rion and I wil be attending a George Morris clinic. I'm a little bit worried as to what George is going to make of my little Thoroughbred with some bad training issues.. It is one of those 'wait and see' instances. Next year I also plan to join the local dressage club to get us both more comfortable and used to doing dressage tests so it isn't as big a deal.

Until Next I post.

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