Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Having a Moment

Cute ponies eat cookies
Cuna is a stereotypical chestnut OTTB, right down the his ridiculously sensitive skin. I literally can't keep hair on this horse and I have NEVER had that problem before him. For being as smart as he is, he does some really dumb things, like peeing in his stall and sleeping in his run, thereby giving himself hock sores. Yay! 

Anyways. Last week, I noticed he was starting to get a rub -under- his saddle. The saddle hasn't changed, his muscling hasn't changed, the pad hasn't changed, the detergent hasn't changed. I assumed it was the super hot, dry weather we've been having that has been aggravating his skin issues anyways. To treat it, I switched to putting a sheepskin under the saddle pad, and then put equyss moisturizer on his rub spot after every ride. 

The only weird thing was that there was a rub on his right side, but not the left. 


It finally hit me. The saddle isn't rubbing Cuna--I AM. Dammit. It's my asymmetry affecting his conformation. It explains why on our long hacks my right hip has started cramping. It's probably compounded by the fact that I've been doing a lot of riding without stirrups and hacking, but zero dressage to keep me in the middle of the saddle. He is showing me my latest and most fun weakness. 

Red ears always make me feel better
I spent yesterday having a fun emotional meltdown and making a huge deal out of stupid things. It didn't help that I made a great plan to treat our asymmetry including a pilates instructor, a physical therapist, and a riding instructor with a degree in exercise something or other, but all of them are unavailable for the next few weeks. Cuna and I went for a walking hack, because I needed to be with him, but didn't want to make him worse. I focused on keeping my weight even in my stirrups and getting my butt out of the saddle. 

Today, I had to stay close to the barn, so we worked on dressage. I practiced riding straight lines in the freshly worked arena and being very conscious of his body movement and how I affected him. We circled and serpentined as I focused on keeping his hind end engaged without driving from my seat. I tried to keep the weight even in my stirrups and sitting bones, which is remarkably easier on flat ground than it is in the hills. We were actually having some excellent work, right up until I had to leap off and meet the vet for another horse. 

I'm going to keep the sheepskin next to his hair, and back off the no stirrups while I get myself sorted out a little bit. I'm keeping an eye on his rub spot, and I think we might actually make some positive changes here. Finally. 


  1. Ughhh, being straight is the hardest thing ever.

  2. Fixing our own crookedness is ever a challenge. Keep up the good work.

  3. I hate freak out days! But nothing cures it like a little pony time. Don't stress - you'll figure it out. Just being aware of it will make you more likely to stay in the middle.

  4. We all have those moments, days, weeks. For me they usually come after some big highs. It happens and it sounds like you have a great plan of action. Great job seeing the issue then making the corrections.

  5. Ugh I feel you - on the TB skin (my horse also doesn't sleep on his cushy shavings and gets bed sores), on the crookedness, and on the emotional breakdown. Just remember that you beat yourself up more than Cuna cares about it.

  6. I totally get the emotional meltdown over small things lol. I'm the queen of that. :D At least he shows you where you need to improve instead of some horses who grit their teeth and bear it so you never even know! Cuna is such a good boy!


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