Friday, October 2, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope

The vaunted trail ride was today. Izzy was wonderful. We went with Star, a cute paint who wouldn't be fazed if a train came out of no where and was headed straight for him. He'd just calmly step out of the way. Also along was Iree, a darling little Haflinger pony who apparently doesn't mind when mares bounce off his rear end. Needless to say, their respective riders accompanied us.

I was pretty happy with how Izzy did. She had never seen the foothills before to my knowledge, but while she was a little looky, she didn't get too worried. She was a bit strong (more on this later), but never bucked or spooked or did anything untoward. Because she's never lived in the mountains, her technique was kind of lacking. She thought it was just of good of an idea to trot down a steep hill as to sit back and walk. Fortunately, I just stuck her nose in Iree's tail, and we'd bounce off him all the way down. If I ever become a full time trail rider, I'm totally getting a bombproof gelding like the two boys we went with.

She was perhaps not surprisingly much more forward than she had been in the past few days. In one flat sandy spot, we all cantered. Izzy was trailing a little bit at that point, so she kicked her speed up a notch and we almost blew through the calm boys. That reassures me as to her ability to one day do cross country. I certainly didn't want to have to force every stride around a course, and today she showed that there is a forward gear. Good.

So... I don't know where that leaves us. She was forward today. I've at least temporarily ruled out ulcers because she doesn't get too upset about anything (feeding time or otherwise) and she hasn't really exhibited behavior change in anything other than not wanting to go forward under saddle. She also lives out 24.7 with a friend, so I think she's ok. She does go forward nicely on a lunge line and, obviously, on trails. There could be a chiropractic type problem that I aggravate by riding her. She could be cranky about the weather, since it's been dramatically colder the past few days. She was good today and she had her blanket on last night. Are the two related? I don't know.

Any other ideas?

I'm thinking she'll get tomorrow off, since the trail was pretty hilly and she's not used to that sort of exercise. Besides, I'm teaching a lesson and letting someone else try my saddle. It will be a full day.


  1. My horses are generally really forward to begin with, but there's always more forward to be had in the great outdoors! It's hard to say what the balking's about, but you'll probably want to rule out chiro and saddle fit for starters. There are also some rider-related things that can cause a horse not to move forward - connected to your position and how you use your body, effectively blocking forward motion even though you're working really hard at getting the horse to move. Maisie struggled to teach me about this at one point in our history, and I generally do better now!

  2. Actually, I did a post a while ago - "Presenting the Question" that describes what Maisie and I did to solve her problem with crossing water - the same ideas also have helped me with balking. The post is on my sidebar under the Favorite Posts heading - don't know if it helps or not, but thought I'd mention it. Some of the issues also relate to going forward more energetically, as well.

  3. Great to hear that you had fun and she was more forward. Can you take her out more and try to do more training while out on the trail? I think a check by a chiropractor would help to!!!!! :o)

  4. Do not rule out ulcers entirely. Tucker did not get upset about things and has always had a healthy appetite. While I am not saying Izzy has them, the symptoms often do just show up during training.

    All that being said, a chiropratic exam is an excellent idea. So many training problems have physical connections. My PJ always vetted sound by ordinary vettings, but chiropractic/acupuncture revealed muscle soreness that seriously affected his performance. These kinds of issues can often be easily corrected, but the horse might need more than one treatment. (Maybe the flip flops will have to suffice...what size do you wear? Maybe I have some spare shoes...*G*)


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