Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Big firsts!

Last week Goggles had both his first real vet visit and his first under saddle lesson! This week he got to work around a few other horses DOING things for the first time at home.

Giggles met our favorite chiro/sports medicine vet on Thursday. We started with scoping him. He had an unauthorized party in the hay room about 630 the evening before when Ms. GY's horse let himself and Giggles loose. Soooo his stomach still had a decent amount of hay in it unfortunately. He had a few grade 1 squamous ulcers though, some a bit longer, she said more like rug burn vs pinpoint deep burns. He'll get a month of 1/2 tube of GG daily.  He's been on the Smartpak Smart GI ultra since I got him so that we can participate in the Colicare program. He also gets soaked alfalfa cubes every day. I'm hoping those two things plus GG when we travel will be enough to prevent reoccurrence. 

Then he got adjusted when he was just a smidge still sedate. He was out in his right poll and very tight in his lumbar. That was exactly what I'd been thinking. He really wants to twist his poll right and not actually bend his neck right. He has been making progress though at actually bending and this should help a lot too. He also gets pretty sore in his lumbar area after a ride. That should improve as he gains more fitness. She said as they build topline they don't have to lay down as much tight fibrous connective tissue to stabilize the area. 

The next day we headed down to JT's (more on the how later...) With Ms GY and her guy. He was definitely a bit up on arrival, but very manageable. He marched right out to her arena and braved the scary black mats on the way in pretty darn well. We went over them a few times till it was less exciting. Then walked around the field some, walked over a little log that actually turned into a hop over a little log, walked around the grass dressage arena, then went back in to the arena for our lesson. 

At the trot I got counselled on inside leg to outside hand (again). Especially to the right he sometimes needed a little encouragement by laying the dressage whip on the right shoulder. Hands should be kept wide, leading the nose around to the inside. If he is laying on the inside rein and clenching, add in a little wiggle to shake him off the inside hand. NEVER cross the neck with the inside hand. Oops on that one. I didn't even realize I was doing that attempting to steer. JT got as stern as she ever gets emphasizing that crossing the neck was WRONG. She also told me not to mess with the walk too much. Just get a light connection and go forward. Do tons of transitions. Tons of direction changes. Reward for 15% effort. 

We worked on the trot for a bit and then took a break and then we cantered. And I GRINNED!!! OMG, he has a nice canter!! I didn't realize I'd been harboring anxiety about potentially having a crummy canter until I felt it. It was so nice. Tips: don't over think it or over prep. Just trot-trot-trot then outside leg and outside hand to lead him out a bit. Then go forward in the canter. Sit and really go forward. It will feel like too much and too fast, but don't choke him up, let him move forward. Right lead took a few tries, ended up succeeding with dressage whip in outside hand laid on shoulder again to keep him from popping through it and picking up the left lead. LOTS of praise both during and after. 

He was TIRED afterwards. What a good boy! As JT said, not physically out of horse, but mentally DONE. We've got another lesson tomorrow, I'm so excited. 

Yesterday he had a BIG adventure at home. Ms. GY had a few friends over to ride. We tacked up and hacked around the big field while they were riding. I am definitely going to take him out XC for the first time in hand. Multiple horses cantering around and jumping things got him a bit frazzled. Nothing bad, but he was barely keeping a lid on his excitement, I could feel him kind of bubbling, so we quit after a few laps of loose rein walk. Good boy again. 

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