Monday, October 29, 2007

A new plan

Today Kaswyn's left front pastern seemed less stiff than it was the past two days, but it was still a bit stiff. It had improved, which is a good thing. I pointed out to my trainer what I was seeing and she also saw the stiffness I had seen. After a discussion with her, I have decided two things.

First, no matter what happens with this current situation, I'm going to modify Kaswyn's work schedule. When he was a young horse I found that I got much better work from him if I rode him every other day. I got a fresher horse, both mentally and physically. So I'm going to apply this same plan to his training now. For the past month there have been times where I rode him three days in a row, and all of those days were "training" days and not "hack around" days. I told my trainer that this was because I can be a bit of a task master, and she was kind enough to say "No, you're just focused." Overly driven, maybe? Excited about my horse returning to the show ring? Absolutely. Still it's no excuse for over riding Kaswyn.

I don't know for sure if this had anything to do with what's happening now, but I know that if it was a good plan for Kaswyn as a young horse it certainly can't be bad for him as a 16 year old boy. I want to give him two days completely off, and then have one or maybe two days of very light work. Maybe just walking, or a warm up just to get him moving. This is important especially in the winter so that he doesn't get stiff from standing in the cold. It will also raise his body temperature and encourage him to drink a bit more water, which can be a problem when the weather cools off. I really don't need a bout with colic to contend with on top of everything else.

Secondly, I've decided that I'm not going to try and force this horse to do anything anymore. I've finally gotten it into my thick skull that if I feel he needs to be forced then something is wrong and I need to stop. He doesn't always offer to do something perfectly the first time, and he does resist at times, but for the most part if I insist he do something he is more than happy to comply. Refusing to do as I ask just means that he can't do it for one reason or other; pain, discomfort, stiffness, fatigue, whatever. And I need to listen to my horse. Every. Single. Time. I trust him implicitly to be honest. This horse has a heart of gold and I know that he would sacrifice his body if I asked him to and if he thought it was what I wanted and it would make me happy. This is not something I will overlook again.

While I was watching the US Nationals live feed on, I heard the announcer say this about a past US National Champion who was being honored with a special award - "A horse like this comes along once in a lifetime." I believe that Kaswyn is my once in a lifetime horse. I need to make sure I get as much quality time with this wonderful animal as I can. He has given me everything I have asked for, and continues to offer what he can to me every day. I owe him love, happiness, health, understanding, and so much more.


Rising Rainbow said...

I like your plan. It sounds very wise to me. Yes, I said wise. Listen to your horse is my number one rule. I forget to follow it sometimes, but I always do best when I get back to it.

But still look into the adequan. While it's expensive, it's twice a series twice a year at most.

Suzie said...

I'm glad to hear that he seems a little better. I definitely agree that it's good to give the horse a break from hard work - I am finding with my young horse that the less schooling I do, the better she goes next time I do school her. She is really benefiting from some relaxed sessions where we can really bond. Obviously, you and Kaswyn are perfectly bonded anyway, but I'm sure he'll appreciate you even more for thinking about his needs so closely.
Hope he makes a full recovery x

Unknown said...

This was such a refreshing read after what I have been hearing recently about riding stronger/demand more/hold it tight/ ride forward no matter what. I think the gutt feeling is often the way to go. The 'drive' to perform and improve is important and good but not when it is blind.
Your plan sounds very good to me and I hope Kaswyn will be out there in the spring all happy and bouncy!

Anonymous said...

I agree, we know our horses and when they aren't "as per usual".

When my boy was (currently is) sore in his feet and/or spine, I use a combination of clivers, devil's claw and nettle, plus rosehips and apple cider vinegar in his feed.

It was amazing just how much he felt better, and looked fantastic. Cut recovery time, plus his feet grew rapidly. Worth a shot, devil's claw is excellent for managing discomfort without having to bute, bute, bute.


Dressage Mom said...

Kaswyn has been on two types of herbal remedies for a year now - Easy Stride and Nublada's Formula from Earth Angel Herbs ( The Easy Stride is supposed to help with foot soreness and lameness. I'll have to check and see what exactly is in those formulas. He's been really sound on them, and I think he is still sound. I'm only giving him bute to knock down any inflammation that might have come up from a minor strain of some kind.

EquineSpirit said...

GREAT post! Absolutely wonderful to read! :D

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