Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Poked and prodded

Today Kaswyn will get picked up for his week long Boot Camp. I thought he was going to go Thursday but my trailer ride changed plans and it's going to be today. Yay! However, something has happened that is totally out of character for me. I'm completely unprepared. I don't have my stuff packed, I still have grain containers to make, and I didn't clip him. I'm trying to be calm about it, because I know I can get it all done before they roll in with the trailer, but I'm usually ready the day before.

I would have had everything done already, but yesterday the massotherapist came out to evaluate Kaswyn. We talked about his issues and then she watched him walk and trot on the lunge line. Then she did a bit of exploratory poking and prodding. The good news is that he doesn't have one sore spot in his back, and in the past he's always had at least one slightly sore spot. So the saddle was worth it. Yippie!

The bad news is that Kaswyn is sore in some very weird places. The said that it's very odd where he is sore, and judging from the places that he reacts to she's getting the idea that he's holding his shoulders and chest in and down. She said he should be trotting with his chest elevated and open to give his shoulders maximum range. She thinks this is probably due to him trying to protect himself, and that he's probably been going that way for a while. Now that it's a habit she said it will be hard to break, but she gave me some stretches to help him to not be so tight in the chest and shoulder.

He also is less developed in his inside right hind than he should be. Looking at his leg, just above the hock, from the back, she said the muscle on both sides should be about the same. However, he's much less developed on the inside than the outside. The left hind looks fine. Since it's common for opposite legs to have issues, I really am not surprised that she saw something in the right hind. she says that he's not traveling quite straight with that leg either, that he's bringing it too far towards his midline when he's trotting.

The muscle on the inside right hind is not only under-developed, but it's hard as a rock. It was so tight at first that she wasn't able to get her fingers in where they needed to be to be able to release it. She had to work on his outer hip a little, which wasn't very sore at all, and have him step away from her a few times. Then she had me walk up the arena and back, then trot up and back. Only then was she was able to get to the muscle where she wanted.

Her suggestion for an exercise for that muscle is doing a shoulder in left at the slowest walk possible. She said to start very slow and be sure that he's moving that leg straight and not towards the midline. If we go too fast it will just defeat the purpose. Eventually when he gets built up we'll be able to work more of the shoulder in at the trot, but right now he probably won't be able to do it properly.

Yesterday was really just an evaluation, but she thinks she can help get him where he needs to be. She said we should do the next session with me riding him first so that she can see what he's doing when i don't like the way he feels. I asked her about the swelling in the left front and she said that he might always carry a bit of swelling there, but if it goes down with work (which it always does) that it's not an issue. She said that since there are no muscles down there that she can't really do any work in the area, but that the tendons and ligaments in the leg feel good to her. She didn't think he's significantly stiffer in the left front pastern than the right, but also thought he might be guarding it. Solving the shoulder issue might resolve that. Another factor about the left front is the fact that he's been nerved, and might always step on that foot differently now. She didn't really see that it effected the trot, just a bit at the walk.

So my horse isn't too out of whack, and isn't very sore. He just has some odd issues that we can work on. And he looked really sound on the lunge line. A very good thing.

On to the arena. *sigh* I'm trying to be patient, but Mr. K stood me up on Monday. No word from him yesterday. Last time I talked to him he seemed a little annoyed that I keep calling him. However, at the end of each conversation he says "Call me at this time.." so I call him. Sometimes he doesn't answer. I'm just so damn frustrated. I could really work in that ring if the footing were just fixed. If he could do it while Kaswyn was at my trainers that would be fantastic. However, I'm starting to feel uncomfortable calling him.

My plan is to stop by his farm tomorrow and see what he has to say. After a week in an arena with perfect footing it will suck rocks to go back to such an uneven place to ride. Two more things are on my mind too. First, I'm investing a week of time and money to get some intensive training done. If I can't ride after that it won't be very helpful. Second, I'm still scared to death that Kaswyn will hurt himself in that area if I'm not careful. I can tell at times that he struggles or takes missteps.

So I'll keep working on trying to fix the footing while we're at Boot Camp. It's just got to get done. If I had the equipment I'd have done it myself by now!

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