Grooming Makes Me Tired
I did not get to ride Sunday because Shannon had hurt her shoulder. Then on Sunday my son cut a gash across one of his knuckles (2 stitches) so he could not help me with Mia on Monday. My husband was home so he kindly took me out to ride Mia, but he had strained his hand so I had to do all of the currying, brushing, hoof rasping, tacking up and applying fly spray. My husband did manage to clean out the hooves and put in the thrush medicine. By the time I got to the ring I was not feeling ambitious at all!
Mia is still showing symptoms of mentally being back in an earlier time of her life. When I first started riding her over 2-3 years ago Mia would become absolutely transfixed and/or shying every time anything in the ring changed. Last weekend one of Debbie’s boarder’s father had repainted several of the jump standards burgundy and on Monday Mia could not believe her eyes, everything was DIFFERENT! She did a few small shies and we stopped often, with me counting to ten, until Mia had visually examined each jump in detail. I have not had to do this over a year, until I put on the wool Western saddle blanket Mia had gotten over being scared every time anything changed in the ring. Now we are back doing this all over again. At least she is visually examining the jumps for seconds instead of minutes this time around. She gave me just one good shake, and this time she shook her forehand instead of her whole body. Yeah!
As I trotted Mia around the ring I was reflecting on how much Mia has improved since I started riding her. When I first rode her Mia was very lame (general arthritis and occult spavin) and she showed it at the trot with a huge head bob. Through patient slow riding, a logical slow progression of gymnastics, and finding a supplement that worked on her arthritis extremely well (fourth one I tried) Mia now trots sound most of the time. She carries my weight easily, strides forth confidently at the walk, and goes into the trot pretty willingly. Considering the fact I was afraid she would simply collapse under me at the trot for the first six months I rode her, Mia has made unbelievable progress. Just shows you that an Arab mare, even in her mid to late twenties, can come back into rideable condition with good, slow training even if she was only worked 30 minutes to an hour every week. I think Arabs are simply amazing.
When I got my tack ready for Mick I got out my measuring tape when I put my Corrector in between the blanket layers. I found out that I could not trust my eye at all, and it took me around 10 minutes to get his saddle blanket/Corrector combo exactly right. This paid off for me on my lesson on Wednesday. When we got to the stable Darryl told us that Debbie would be a little late so when he brought Mick up I groomed him real well. Mick LOVES being curried and seems to enjoy being brushed. I then did the Ttouch circles on his back and by the time I was through all I could do was sit down and collapse. When Debbie appeared all she had to do was clean out his hooves and the tacking up. The only time Mick was bad was when his girth was tightened (not actively bad, but a real sour face turned toward Debbie), so she decided to keep his girth pretty loose. With the wool saddle blanket and the Corrector the saddle did not shift at all.
Since we had been considerate about the tightness of the girth Mick was quite agreeable about striding forth after I warmed him up. Mick was a little sore from his last hoof trimming so I let him set decide how fast to go for the first 5 minutes, then he got better. His trot had impulse, he used his hind legs quite well to push off, and he had a lot more energy than I did! Toward the end of the lesson I got into the more challenging stuff for him, and when I asked him to extend his walk he even started getting into the rolling motion of his back that is a sign of a good extended walk. This was the first time in over two years that I had gotten that back motion from him. A little later I did the sitting trot, and while he was a little bit more jarring than last week I was able to sit his trot fine for around a third of the ring. It is sooooo good to be finally making progress with Mick! Since I made the saddle more stable on his back with the wool saddle blanket and we can get away with having a looser girth Mick’s movement has improved greatly. It makes me wonder how many horses go through innumerable saddle fittings to get the saddle fitting exactly right when all their riders had to do was to stop the rear of the saddle shifting and sliding around on the horse’s back and stop tightening the girth so much. Debbie also remarked on how stable my lower leg was, much more stable than before I switched to the wool saddle blanket. Saddle stability is good for both horse and rider.
When I dismounted from Mick I was exhausted, much more tired than when I don’t have to groom. It makes me really grateful that I do have help most of the times I ride. At least now I am strong enough to groom sometimes and still be able to ride at a decent standard, but I don’t think I could do it all the time.
Have a great ride!