Spring feeling and trainings!

As usual I’m fairly bad at blogging regularly, but now so much is happening that I’d like to write some of it down.

This winter has been quite nice with cold temperatures and lots of snow. Unfortunately this has been working against us as Finorio has not been 100% in his body. Some time in January I had a few days of just flying with him. Riding in the snowy outdoor arena was just great, we did passage and the canter was so easy to sit so I could do nothing but laugh as I enjoyed myself. Then it all changed, set off by Finorio making the decision to roll in the snow, close to the fence. He must have caught the electrical fence and got stuck some way. The damage on the fence was not much, and he had only stepped on himself so just a small wound that healed very quickly. But he was very different to ride, the canter was not flowing and no proper connection in trot. 

I decided to book an appointment for him to see a friend of mine who is a vet and uses craniosacral therapy in combination with chiropractic to treat the horses. First session we found loads of tension throughout his body. His sacrum was locked in a downward posiotion, his pelvis was rotated to one side, and the ribcage to the other. No wonder his canter was weird to sit. He also had lots of tension in his ribs and the chest, some form of muscle damage underneath his right front leg, tension in the neck and jaw. And lots of tension in his castration scar.  This is something I’ve heard has been a big problem for many geldings, Bosco also had some tension here according to the people who treated him.

This time I got homework to work on his castration scar on my own and what I found was very interesting. First of all, I got to feel how it felt like before treatment was done and feel the difference before and after treatment. Before it was like a tense ball of tissue, and afterwards, just floppy skin. At home the scar was back to a tense ball again, and I started treating it myself. The first few days it was quite tense, but seemed to improve. The next few weeks I continued with treating him on my own, and feeling how the scar was acting, compared to how he was to ride, and if we came across stressfull situations, how it tensed up again. During this time I had to go away for work and the girl who is taking care of him while I’m away, was taking care of his every need. When I’m gone several days she isn’t always able to train him everyday, and this time it was interesting to see what I came home to. The vet had said that these issues he has will get worse with rest, not better. So when I came home he barely let me even just touch his scar. He lifted the hindleg, trying to push me away with his hip, and flicking his tail. So i spent 15 minutes or more, working on the scar and it got loads better, but he didn’t relax properly. The next day he was better, and the week after it seemed like a lot of the tension was released. He was going more and more wobbly, and the steps, especially in trot had more suspension and lift. It was still quite uneaven, but definetely on the right track.

That weekend, after he seemed to really loosen up, we had a skill at arms training quite close to where I used to live. This was our first training with many horses in a while, and Finorio quite quickly connected with Unico. A PRE owned by the vet that has been treating Finorio. It was quite funny, once one of the horses jumped, a milisecond later, the other one did as well. We had plenty of syncronised movements throughout the training and the horses were really enjoying themselves!

“should I stay or should I go?” Finorio collecting while i try to get the cardboard pieces
Picking rings with a spear
Placing the spear in the haybale afterwards
Spear again
Picking rings with sword

We had loads of fun, even if there was slightly more tension than what we wanted. This is the kind of situations we need to work with a lot more.

The day after this training there was time for another treatment for Finorio. There was still a lot of tension in his body, but better than last time. He reacts very well to treatment, but I’ve been warned before by other people who use craniosacral therapy that it opens up the senses, and they can get more spooked than before. This is quite visible on Finorio by the fact that he gets more easily scared by passing trailers on our way home, so he jumps a bit around on the trailer.

After this treatment, he had one day off, then one day out walking and some low energy lunging. The third day after treatment I sat back up and it was so weird. It was like having 4 individual legs, a back end, front end, and head and neck, and NONE of them were connected. So a step in the right direction, but it is such a weird step. So I just tried my best to get them somewhat on the same track because this weekend we had a new clinic with Arne Koets.

The clinic went allright, Finorio did three lessons, saturday, sunday and monday. The one on saturday was a bit meh, due to horsie not being exactly where I wanted him, and me and my stiffnesses blocking for us. Susanne rode the second lession, first time she had a proper lesson on him, and the first time in ages for her. They did really well, it was so fun to see him from another angle and see how he adopted to her as a rider. He was much more calm with her, so where I usually get too much energy, she got to little. Mostly because she is such a calm person herself, and afraid to do anything wrong so she keeps the intensity down until she knows it’s correct. I’m very lucky to have found her to help me out when I’m not able to ride myself. She got a lot out of the lesson and many tips on what to continue with.

Photo: Emma Wold – Canter
Starting working at the piaffe, just get the collection nothing more Photo: Emma Wold
Working in hand
Trying to get the travere through the corner and into a half pass – rider failing to do so
I struggle with keeping my upper inside leg on to keep Finorio from falling into the circle when trying to get the travere on the right hand, Arne helping me with the aids.
Arne explaining, Finorio paying close attention

The third lesson was quite a lot of fun, the first part was allright, but the second part, or I might say the second lesson as I did a double lesson to help out Ellen and Unico (the vet) on her lesson. So for the first time we had  dual lesson, where we used eachother, and the energy the horses gave eachother, to do fun stuff.

We started by riding at the same diagonal, just comming in from different ends, half pass to the middle, do a hind quarters turn around eachother, then continue on the half pass out to the wall again. We started in walk, then after doing that a couple of times, the other horse, which is older and more advanced, was going to do a canter pirouette instead of a hind quarters turn, and I was just going to leg yield away from him, keeping our distance.

Cantering around eachother
Unico going for the pirouette, Finorio in walk
Good boys!
Cantering around eachother, pirouette/hindquarters turn/small circle 

After this excersise we tried something else. Now we were going to canter, Ellen in front and on the inside, me behind and slightly on the outside. Pretending that I was chasing her, and she needed to turn around/get away from us. So as we were cantering she was going to do a canter pirouette so that she ended up behind us again, to change the roles. This was a fun excersise, at least for the horses. After doing it once, they knew exactly what to do and gave it all they got, and jumped around bucking and bouncing and just displaying pure joy.

Unico knows what to do, Finorio is doing the bullfight outmanouvering. Jumping back and fourth many times before cantering forward again.

And just as fast as they go *boink*, they calm right down

calm horsies

After this session, Finorio got yet another treatment. Took a while for him to let go and let her through and today she had to really work on the tension in his tail before going forward from that. Will be interesting to see how he will be the next couple of weeks. She said that he is a lot better but still about 60% of where we want him. There is still lots of tension in his back and ribcage, so we keep working with that in mind. Either way he wont get better if he is not ridden, so we go forward but also listening to what his body is telling us.

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