Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Kingsley's Rehab Week 9: 15 minutes


I decided to organise all the posts that record Kingsley's Rehabilitation a little bit more so it's easy for everyone to revisit all the entries on the subject without having to read all my other waffling.
To do so, I will write all the notes on his Rehab in separate posts and they will all be labelled 'Kingsley's Rehab'. You will be able to access them either by clicking at the label below each post or by clicking Kingsley's image in the sidebar (top right).

We are half way through Week 9 since steroid injections and despite the dreadful weather we are trying to keep up with the walking routine.
He did 15 minutes under the saddle with me today and was relatively easy to keep round and low almost throughout entire time.
He still balances with the neck a lot when he re-balances his body even though I was making sure all our turns were very gentle. The surface in our indoor arena is very uneven at the moment as you can't really drive any dragging machinery around due to snow and ice.
Kingsley sped up or slowed down negotiating every single gradient and it seemed to cause him a few balance problems.
Although he does stay round most of the time I am not happy with the contact or lack of it rather. The whole idea of walking 'on the bit' is to help him develop correct muscles over the neck and back but at the moment he is tucking his chin in quite deep and being restricted to straight lines only I find it difficult to ask for connection into both reins.

On the left rein he has a tendency to bring his weight onto his left shoulder and tries to take more comfortable right bend. I gather that his right hind travels too much over and across which drifts him onto the left shoulder.
I experimented with very shallow shoulder fore on the left rein today and kept asking for left flexion in the poll and it seemed to help straighten him up.

On the right rein his balance and overall quality of the walk feels much better. He keeps the rhythm OK, doesn't change the size of his stride as much as on the left rein and feels happier in contact and stronger in general.

In-hand Flexions

I tried some flexion in hand once I'd jumped off him to observe what he does and here is what I saw.
Right flexion: every time I gently moved the right rein in a half circle manner, away and out, to bring his nose towards his right shoulder he would immediately tug on the rein and tried to twist his neck. I didn't change the pressure at all, just kept asking and I gave every time he twisted his neck in case it was pain related. It looked quite odd, and he also seemed not to like the pressure the bit put on his tongue (he's in a french link egg butt snaffle). He was chomping on the second I moved the rein to the right.
I decided to continue asking until I could understand why he was doing it. After about 20 odd flexions he accepted the gentle pressure with no fuss whatsoever. I repeated it a couple of times once he stopped twisting and chomping and he mouthed the bit calmly while softly moving his head few degrees to the right. Hmmm????
Left Flexions: I then went to the left side expecting it to be a similar exercise but he was soft and accepting from the first go.

I am still going to have his teeth and entire jaw looked at (once an EDT can actually travel in to see him) as I am not convinced he isn't in any dental related discomfort. I am also going to see if we can try a bit with less tongue pressure and what effect that has.
Considering horses are very quick learners I wonder if he just gave in because he found out he couldn't get away from it while some pain/problem might still be present anyway.
Then again, it could have still been some residual evasion after being draw-reined by previous owners.

Note on carrot stretches

I did 5 on each side and 5 in between the legs before I rode him and the same sequence afterwards. He was MUCH more flexible after walking.
I think all this time without any turn out is quite detrimental to his general flexibility but we will just have to wait for the thaw as roads are too icy to take him to his field.
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