What a weekend! First off, one of my dear friend's Angie came to visit for some R&R on the lake before starting her new post doc job as a professor (how fancy does that sound??). Angie and I met while working in the same animal cognition lab at Tufts so, while she's not "horsey" per se, she's pretty savvy to the world of animal brains and operant conditioning. Needless to say we had plenty of fun conversations about where Miss Pia is headed, as well as fun time at the barn just watching the BO ride and train.
Miss P has had a really big week. She's settled in like a champ and is currently enjoying her "summer home" outside full time. The big dry gravel in the paddock is drying her hooves out beautifully and miss mare is already losing the attitude and relaxing. There wasn't too much downtime however, since it was straight to work for Princess P (BO put her first ride on her last Thursday) so this whole "I have Wobbler's" excuse isn't going to cut it anymore. :)
I was bummed to miss the first couple rides (which meant I didn't get to witness the "discussion" regarding forward movement), but I had a saddle fitting scheduled for Friday, so I'd get my turn on the Mare to see where things were after only a couple rides.
Pia was literally a difference horse. This barn is clearly her happy place. She's back to being calm, and sweet and attentive. No jaw crunching/ear pinning or general snottiness. I stuck her on the lunge first thing and had the best session we've had in months. She was swinging, pushing and C.A.L.M. Big wide circle, very attentive with my vocal commands. no bucking, head thrashing or refusal to stop galloping. GOOD MARE.
As I mentioned, I was trying two specific saddles (the Optimax and D1..) so we threw the Optimax on first. Loved it. I felt super balanced, supported and comfy. Of course, it was hard for me to pay too much attention to the saddle because P felt amazing. seriously a different horse (do I keep repeating myself?). She was pushing, forward, reaching for the bit, basically just RAD.
Of course a fly started bugging her after 10 min which started causing her to hollow her back and swish the tail unnecessarily along with some nice head tossing, but I took that as an opportunity to dismount, switch saddles and give her a quick break. It seemed like a good theory, but apparently there was no "fly."
We tacked her up in the D1, took pics, measured, fussed. Then I got on in it. immediate swishing, objecting and general bad mare-ness. I got a couple good circles in (did not like the D1 nearly as much) before Pia was so pissed she started crow hopping and kicking out.
"hmm" says I, "this is a persistant mother-effing fly." after her second bucking bronco routine, I popped off (thank YOU emergency dismount) and starting trying to find whatever the hell was biting/pinching/bugging her. P stood dead still while I ran my hands up all her legs, inspected, felt under the saddle.. .and.. nothing.
Just about the time the fitter and I were like "weird, well, let's try again." P shook like a wet dog, then started bucking again, this time with me at the end of the reins. My only thought was to pull the tack (if she took a pause), so I tried to manuver her away from the wall, and get her twitching to a minimum, before I just ripped the girth off and slid everything off her back.
Perfect. calm. (what mare?!)
It almost looked like her skin had little hives under her (clean) pad, but as soon as I smoothed her coat, I couldn't see them anymore. Super weird. Apparently, P does NOT like the D1. :) Though I don't appreciate such a strong objection..
Anyway, that was Friday. I wasn't thrilled about the pad/saddle coniption, but honestly, I was so thrilled just to be back on her for a few minutes that I don't really care... I know that's not super productive, but I'm taking small victories. Oh, and we ordered the Optimax. (YAY.) Should be here in September, complete with the weird scrolling... at least my thigh will hide most of it...
Saturday I was able to get out to the barn to watch the BO work miss P in the morning. I knew from our discussions that P was back to old tricks in that she was attempting to just ignore leg and not move forward off of it. Day 1 was summerized as "lots of kicking, and pokey trot." Day 2 was "better, but still resisting" and Day 3 was AMAZING.
Ok fine. Maybe not amazing, but P moved forward immediately, only threw in a few small kicks during transitions and for the most part is adorable. I have a quick video, which I will put a few caveats on.
First - be nice, the mare hasn't worked in months
Second - this is toward the end of the ride, and the BO is addressing the evasions that pop out when P is "tired"
Third - She looks a little jammed up, but that was the "conversation." She warmed up long and low.
But most important, look at her push! she's using her butt!
Watch this old vid for comparison.. this was before any diagnosis or Vitamin E...
And now look at Saturday.. I know its a little hard since she's not moving freely here, but I see a big difference...
I'm almost embarrassed to post that clip, but it's all I have and I'm too excited!!