Saturday, July 17, 2010

No sweat?

I'm trying to get back to riding Albert and Kaswyn more since the contest has ended. For the past month I rode them a little bit but not my usual four times a week. So it's time to get back to it.

It's been really hot here lately. Yesterday I only rode both horses for twenty minutes each, and we did a lot of walking. One thing I got from my lesson with George Williams is that I'm not working on the walk enough. When I had been walking the boys I would just let them walk. I didn't really think about improving the step and making them march in the walk. Now when I put the horse together and ask him to get on the bit I really make sure he is marching and walking properly.

This has been a bit of a shock for both horses. They got very used to just ambling along at the walk, checking out the wall or the footing or whatever. Now I'm on their cases, bumping with my leg, and making them march, march, march!

Albert picked up on it really quickly, but Kaswyn still wants to be lazy. I keep having to remind him that he needs to have a quality walk when he's on the bit. I know it's new and he'll get used to it, but I'm sure he's thinking "Come on lady, you've been riding me for 16 years and now we've got to do the walk differently?"

After Kaswyn's ride I sponged his back off. We didn't work really hard so he only got some sweat marks under his saddle. I started thinking about what I was taught as a kid - if you leave sweat on your horse's back, the back will get sore. It was ok to let the sweat dry and then curry and brush it off, but if you left the dry sweat there it would give the horse a sore back.

So why would this be true? If the sweat was ok to dry on the back only to be brushed off later, why would dried sweat that wasn't brushed off make a horse's back sore? It kind of doesn't make sense. I could see if the horse was worked really hard they could get a sore back, and be sweaty at the same time, but I don't know how sweat alone could contribute to a sore back.

What do you all think? Were you taught this also?


Cheryl said...

No sweat marks ever. Hmmm who taught me that?

Stephanie said...

I was taught the same thing as a young rider. I thing it was a 2 fold lesson: 1. always keep your horse clean, it allows interaction with him and allows the rider to keep an eye on anything that may be wrong and 2. if you were sloppy and then rode the next time without currying and brushing properly you could potentially bother the back by the build of crud rubbing.

I really think that in the normal horse sweat alone does not cause a sore back. Just a threat to get us to groom properly!! LOL!

Shannon said...

I was always taught not to leave sweat marks on a horse, but never given a reason why (other than "It looks better"). I've never heard of the sore back/sweat link. As a biologist, I find it a little far-fetched. If you work a horse until he's sweaty he might have a sore back from the work, but the sweat itself can't cause a sore back. A good currying is like a massage, though. I suppose it might prevent a sore back, thus giving rise to the myth.

I'm often guilty of letting my horse "just walk". It's something I need to work on, too. Thanks for the reminder!

dressapp said...

I was never taught that. I was taught that you needed to take care of the horse so you either had to brush it real good or sponge/hose them off if they were sweaty.
Maybe they just wanted to drill in your head to take care of your horse.

Val said...

I did the same with my horse's walk after watching your lesson. Usually, I definitely let him meander on a long rein. I was surprised at how much more fluid his walk felt and it was a much better warm up for his back. Perhaps you will post another lesson for us...

The sweat thing sounds like a proverb with indirect purpose, like you suggested. I have heard another in the past. "If you get a cramp while jogging, stop and look under a rock." Or better yet, three rocks. This makes you slow down and stretch.

Dressage Mom said...

Cheryl -

Was it me? :)

Stephanie -

I'm sure it was a way to make sure we were grooming our horses enough.

Shannon -

It's much easier for me just to let my horse wander around. I'll have to keep reminding myself, and then I'm hoping it will become a habit.

Dressapp -

Because of what I was taught I'll hang around forever in the winter and wait until those sweat marks dry. I guess they drilled it in pretty well.

Val -

I'd never heard of that jogging saying, but then again I HATE running. I only run if being chased. :)

Heather said...

I always thought it was because dried, accumulated sweat tends to harbor skin scurf type problems, like scratches.

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