Our back story...
Horse: Honey, a 7yr old NZ Standardbred mare who has spent basically the last two years in a paddock getting fat after a freak riding accident. I realised my blunder with her health/weight management late last year and tried to rectify without riding as I was on/off crutches at the time. Before the accident, she was just learning how to school/work in a frame and was backed to saddle 6months earlier. Started to ride again in Jan 2011. Has recently had three weeks off from the earthquake here in NZ and is returning to work now.
Me: Unfit, and partially disabled with ongoing issues with my right leg. Shattered it in the accident in 2009 and also have a dodgy knee cap. Have been told by doctors that I should continue to ride my horse as it may benefit rather than impact my injury. Finding it hard to lose weight due to on/off crutches all the time. Working on doing so still, with going for a long walk every day, and using a skip rope as well. The gym I belonged to has been severely damaged in the Earthquake here in Christchurch last month and so due to being under contract, I haven't the means to go elsewhere currently. I am a nervous rider, but regaining my confidence well.
I am aware that both of us need a weight management plan. Thus, I also am aware that Honey's saddle is forward on her back. I am trying to get a new saddle, and also get it fitted to her presently. Her saddle is a wintec 500 dressage and in extra wide (white), but due to lack of much of a wither, and a porker belly, we kind of have to just make do. I have noticed no discomfort before or after rides and even sweat marks under where the saddle sits on her back. She is not showing any signs of soreness through her back.
The critique I'm after is advice on how to fix some areas of difficulty I'm having, namely in the trot. I find our walk is getting better and more active (she tends to suck back when I put leg on) but I do want to get her off the forehand too. We're both returning to work after a long period off and I really want to help Honey, as well as myself become fit and healthy again. I have noticed improvement in my hands (thumbs on top) and since getting new stirrup leathers (pics in the blue top and grey pants) that are also down a hole, I struggled to post in the beginning but feel like my leg is more effective now.
Please be honest and constructive, but no slandering, especially about the weight issue. I'm trying, she's trying, and her waistline has improved over the short period. She is also on a strict diet to help her. These photos are from her first few rides, as I didn't get as many after that. Will hopefully be riding again tomorrow if weather permits.
Second ride back in, second time trotting in 2yrs.
Slightly angled, sorry.
Fifth ride, with stirrups a hole longer.
Speeding a little.
Thanks heaps in advance. I will not reply to those rude about my weight, as I have had in the past on posting here. Thank you.