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If you read my last post about goal setting, you will know that I have been wanting to start building competitions into our return to full work. Not only is this something to look forward to, but it also gives me the kick up the bum I need to keep motivated. So in the spirit of this new mindset, I have entered us for an Intro dressage test with our Riding Club.
Trotting still going well
We have been trotting for over a month now. But since I had a week away, Scottie ended up having a bit of time off, so we haven’t started cantering yet. I am pleased with how he is getting on.
As I mentioned last time, we are a bit wonky behind where his rogue hind leg has swung back out onto it’s own track with the loss of muscle. Unfortunately this means we are a bit crooked and lose balance and rhythm occasionally.
But Scottie has management to maintain his self carriage quite well. He is happy to work in an outline on both reins in both walk and trot. We are also start to get a bit more flexion on both reins. It’s hard to tell for sure, but I also think the rogue hind is starting to straighten out a bit too.
When our back lady first noticed it had returned she did say it was worse in walk, with it only being slightly rogue in trot. So I’m hoping as we increase the trot work and focus on straightness it will correct itself in the walk too.
On Sunday we will be riding the Intro C. This isn’t my most ideal test for us right now as it has 3 center lines, so 3 opportunities to give the judge a good view of the rogue hind. There are also 2 transitions on the second center line, which will highlight Scottie’s crookedness. There is also a lovely 3 loop serpentine to let the judge know that changes of bend are still a struggle at the moment!
However, we are not going out hunting for ribbons! We are going out as I think it is important to have something to aim for and to get Scottie out and about. He is also showing some really nice work and self carriage.
We have even been practicing those horrible 10m circles on the center line where you have to give the inside rein and he has been doing them nicely. No he doesn’t have the perfect carriage in them, but he does move drastically when I give the rein and he keeps on the circle.
So while I’m not expecting us to get near the ribbons, I am pleased with how he is working. If we can show just some of that in the ring (bearing in mind it’s in the indoor arena he hates!) I will be really happy.
I am currently facing the issue of Scottie has been left semi feral over the winter. He still has a lot of his fluffy coat, he has a long pony mane and his tail is disgusting. With a busy few days ahead, I’m not sure how much time I am going to have to get him to his usual dressage appearance.
However, one of the girls suggested a high running plait instead of pulling his mane to a reasonable length and traditional dressage plaits. Apparently it does a very good job of making their neck look bigger than it is, which is exactly what Scottie needs. So I found time during the week to give it a quick go to see if it worked or not.
These plaits are great for a longer mane as they combine normal plaits with a running plait. So some of the mane from the previous plait comes in to form the next one. This was a bit of a messy attempt but I feel like I got there towards the end!
I wrote most of this most in advance and was already to publish for today. But yesterday evening I was schooling Scottie and when we popped into trot he didn’t feel quite right in the injured leg. I tried pushing him through to see if it was just him being a bit naughty as he can feel lame in front when he tenses up. But no he was definitely not quite right. On the right rein he felt okay if I got him in an outline. But on the left reign there was a nod, especially around the corners.
I got off and had a look at him on a circle on the hard and while he didn’t look awful at all, he was lame. I’m not very good at scoring lameness. But I would place it between 1/10 – 3/10s. As on the left rein I could barely see it. But on the right rein there was an obvious nod every few steps even though if you cut his neck off he seemed to be moving fine.
I had another look at him this morning and he was much better. I couldn’t obviously see anything. On the right rein there was a slight nod at one point of the circle where it starts to slope away, but it’s hard to say if that’s just him trying to balance on the ground or if he was lame.
I’m hoping it was just a one day thing. So I am going to have another look at him tonight and if he looks good still, I will ride tomorrow morning and see how he feels. If he is comfortable to ride, I plan on still taking him Sunday knowing that if he is uncomfortable once we are there, I can get off and take him home.
If he is lame later today or tomorrow, he won’t be going and I will have to talk to the vet about our next steps. It is so frustrating as he has been going so well and feeling so good. Plus we have been so careful! But it’s still early days and hopefully he has just given himself a little tweak.