took close to two hours. She first (with hands) checked for sore spots and muscle imbalances, and then had me lunge Raudi. Raudi showed her that she was five gaited, meaning that she was not really consistent in any of them.
Colleen next did a flexion text – this is where the veterinarian holds the leg close to the body, and then has the person in charge trot the horse. If the horse is lame, the veterinarian will then see it. Raudi was pacey when her rear legs were flexed, which was why Colleen speculated that perhaps her suspensory ligaments are sore. It didn’t surprise me to hear this – the hill work and uneven terrain has probably taken its toll.
We next moved on to saddle fit. I used the pad that Victoria lent me – it has air bags (can you imagine?) Interestingly, Raudi acted much in the same way she acted last week – she’d trot a short bit and then stop. I then had Vicki trot Hunar around the arena and we’d follow. Raudi at one point saw Hunar get ahead of us and took off at a gallop, so as to catch up with him.
We next had Sharon get on her. She worked at getting Raudi to loosen up in her neck by both using her seat and working the reins. Raudi responded pretty well, but still stopped when at the trot.
After, I was extremely gracious and accepting of all of Colleen’s observations and suggestions. I also appreciated the very tactful feedback that came from Sharon. I was, as always, appreciative of others’ attempts to help me problem solve.
I suspect that Raudi’s problem (which is my problem because I’m her owner) is due to a combination of things including her being saddle sore and leg sore. I can take care of these things, by giving her a break, getting a new saddle, and giving her glucosamine.
But there was one other thing. I’ve heard said that identifying a problem and owning up to one’s part in it are key to solving the problem. If so, I’m there. In this case, there is the mental part of the issue. Colleen caught a glimpse of it, and did make note of it. When I was riding Raudi, I repeatedly attempted to slow her down by pulling on the reins. I knew when I did this that I was doing this, but having had it pointed out to me was verification that I’m on the right track in my assumptions. This was what I was getting at the other day – I’m not trusting Raudi enough to let her go.
I’ve also repeatedly praised her for stopping, sometimes after a good trotting session. So she’s thinking that she’s supposed to stop. So, what might I do about this? The answer is to get her back in the arena and ride her with a balance rein, which is a loop around the neck. This way, I won’t inadvertently pull on her mouth. (I just figured this out as I wrote this.)
So here we are – Raudi and I are stuck, we know we are stuck, but we are attempting to do something about it. Forward ho.
Next: 357. 12/3/12: Red Horse Press