Monday, 18 January 2010

Healthy horses

We had a lovely visit to Briwnant yesterday.  Red was being used for a hack, so we met him half way down the field being led in.  He accepted treats and cuddles.  He looks really well and fit again.  Dee was also pleased to see us and happy to come in.

I was interested to read Victoria's recent post on Teachings of the Horse.  It made me think about how I approach Dee.  Because of her history as a 'difficult' or 'challenging' horse, I think I can tend to approach her with this in mind.  Having given myself permission not to ride for a while, I feel I have time to just enjoy being with her.  If she decides she doesn't want to come in, does it actually matter?  Well I guess it does from the perspective of having asked, one should follow through.  But does there need to be a time element?  Do I need to feel rushed?

With this in mind I asked Dee to accept her headcollar by holding it open and did not make any attempt to put it round her neck.  At first she turned away a little, but she wanted to stay with me.  After only a few minutes she gave me her head, placing her nose in the headcollar.  We then had a pleasant stroll up the field on a looped leadrope that was practically companion walking.

I was keen to get her rug off and see how she looked.  At around this same time two winters ago, after I had been away for a week and left her in the care of the livery owner, she was looking thin and scrawny.  I knew she would be fine – the care at Briwnant is first class, and I was correct.  She is a good weight and her coat has a lovely shine.  She has a slight sore spot on her chest where her under-rug has rubbed, but her proper winter turnout rug has been repaired now so I shall be able to put that back on her tomorrow.

Another blog I follow is the Carolyn Resnick blog.  Currently she is teaching her Uberstreichen exercises and I have been looking forward to trying them with Dee.  We tried the first one yesterday, and considering it was so busy at Briwnant with a lot of distractions, we made a good start.  I also hope to find time to work with Red with these exercises as well.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I am going to buy Dee a new saddle.  There are several reasons for this:
  • I feel I want a saddle with a little more substance under me
  • I worry that the treeless saddle does not give Dee sufficient clearance at the wither.  She has never become sore, but it is a concern.
  • The padded numnah necessary under a treeless saddle is quite inconvenient for washing.  They take a long time to dry and only just fit in my washing machine.  It would be nice to go back to a simple numnah that it is easy to change regularly.
  • The padded numnah must be accurately placed over the spine so that the padding is each side of the spine.  As I am not very tall I cannot see how well it is placed until I mount, and then if it is wrong and not central so that the padding is over the spine on one side, I have to get off and re saddle her.  This is a real nuisance.
  • The Torsion saddle I have uses a dressage girth, and I have never succeeded in learning how to tighten it when mounted.  It is just too far down for me and too awkward.
This saddle that I am going to replace has never been my favourite.  The previous Torsion that I had stolen from Wyndham was a beautiful saddle and is sorely missed.  If I still had that one I would probably be sticking with it, but I cannot afford to buy another like it.  Nicky is going to help me measure her up for a saddle and I'll let you know what I buy.  No excuses for not riding then!


Victoria Cummings said...

Hi - Thanks for thinking of me and my girls. I just wrote about Carolyn's Uberstreichen exercises too. It's so kind of her to share them with all of us. I'll be really interested in how they work for Dee and Red. Mostly, I find that it allows me to do something while I am communicating with my horses in this nasty weather. There are so many other benefits to what Carolyn is telling us to do that I'm finding it as worthwhile for me as meditating is. I'm reminded of how training my horses is all about the journey, not about the goal.

White Horse Pilgrim said...

It is such a weight off one's mind to know that a horse is well cared for by competent people.

Also it sounds like a good idea to acquire a different saddle, one that is more straightforward to use. We may need to agree to differ concerning treeless saddles. However it might be significant that the saddle tree appeared half a millennium before stirrups. People usually make a simple object more complex because there is a need (OK, perhaps excepting modern consumer society!)