Cinny's 2013 Journal
Today was our first lesson of the year and at our new stable. It was wonderful. Jane (my trainer) opted for ground work today as Cinny hasn't really been worked since October. After assessing him for about half an hour she decided that we need to start with the shoulders.
Jane says he is locking up through the shoulders and chest and bracing against himself in his front end so we are going to concentrate on freeing the shoulders and chest sot hat he can then move forward and fluidly through the shoulders. Then we will work on further encouraging the hind end to follow suit. Her theory is that he can't move more forward in the hind if he's is not moving forward i the fore and locking it up and bracing at the fore instead.
I leaned some new exercises that include free lunging with his lead line tied at his girth. It's hard to explain but his head is every so slightly bent to the side and down to encourage proper shoulder engagement and movement. Once he relaxes in to it he moves so much better than I have EVER seen him move in my life!!!
I have plenty of homework and look very forward to my next lesson. I'll try to remember the video camera next time :O
I had another great lesson today. Cinny is starting to learn that indeed he CAN move his shoulders and they aren't fused!
Today we moved on with BENDING. Not a foreign concept to us at all but we spent the whole lesson trying to get Cinny to bend. I know he can do this, he can be quite bendy at times, but not during our lesson. BUT as soon as Jane left, he became a Gumby horse (whacks forehead with palm). I put out cones and obstacles and we bent around them and did bendy figure eights and serpentines. He was foaming and drooling and relaxing into it. I wish I had my video camera with me so Jane could see what he did after she left. Oh well.
We haven't had a lesson for a few weeks due to the Weather. I am gearing up for another lesson Wednesday morning. I've mainly been working on freeing the shoulders and bending. I have discovered that if Cinny rufuses to bend, or forgets he can do so, all I have to do is set up something to bend around and he suddenly becomes Mr Flexibility. I have written this in my notebook of "Cinny Remedies" that I have started and have stashed into my tack box. Every time I figure out a way around a road block with him, I'm going to write down what I did so I will eventually have a notebook full of fixes to take with me to shows and clinics.
I've never thought of doing this before for him, or any other horse but it's worth a try.
We didn't have a very good lesson. I believe Cinny is having an ulcer/tummy flare up. All week he's been flightier than usual and then as I brought him into the arena to warm up he went berserk! He yanked from me so hard I thought he was going to break my hand so I let go thinking he got caught on something and spooked or just spooked in general. Hubby was walking behind and said NOTHING happened that he could see. Cinny then started crowhopping with his back arched and bucking like a bronc...just spinning, hopping and bucking for 15 minutes straight as I prayed he didn't get hung up on his reins and break a leg. He finally came to me with a sad little look on his face.
I checked him all over and could not find a culprit so I mounted and tentatively walked around. He seemed fine. Then Jane came and we started our lesson and he was fine at first but slowly became more and more crabby and irritated with us. We virtually accomplished nothing. I walked him around and closed my eyes and concentrated on the swing of his legs, his muscles and then I realized he wasn't swinging his belly as he normally does. I dismounted and his tummy was hard, especially by the flanks. BIG GUILT TRIP.
I brought him in, gave him some UGuard that I had on hand and called my vet for some more. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself for bumping him up to SmartGut Ultra which arrived the day after our lesson. I am also giving him ground pumpkin Seed, cabbage, oat flour, and ground flax as our vet says they have natural healing powers and he has seen horses bounce back more quickly when given with the traditional Ulcer remedies.
Yesterday Cinny had a very relaxed and serene look about his face. He was playing gently in the turnout with baby Winston. His tummy was flaccid and I am able to sleep again. I think the pain part is somewhat over for him. He will remain on UGuard for a couple of weeks, plus his smartgut and pumpkin seed/cabbage stuff. I feel so bad for my baby :(
Oh, poor Cinny-but you caught it right away and treated it,& now he's sounding much happier.
Even more improvement today. Cinny's flanks are loose and completely flaccid. He's eating well, and even playing.
After his lunch I turned him back out with Winston (the yearling) and Cash. Cinny immediately rolled which made Winston hop, run and buck. Then while Cinny was on his back, Winston tried to JUMP over him!! Unfortunately he didn't make it and landed on top of Cinny's stomach (Cinny's feet were still straight up in the air). He then vaulted off of Cinny and proceeded to pronk around the turnout while Cinny remained on the ground looking very stunned. I don't think it phased him too much though because after getting up, he got back down and rolled on the other side, again with baby pronking and playing around him.
Winston's owner told me that Winston isn't used to seeing horses roll because his mother couldn't due to bad back legs. Boy do I wish I could get to my vid camera on my phone faster!
Yesterday, Cinny was back to his old self. We took a few turns around the arena at a walk/trot to stretch his legs a bit and he was just magnificent. Relaxed, attempting once again to round his back and use his hind and pulling his hind legs under him. I ever so softly asked for a leg yield and instead of acting bitchy about it he lowered his head and moved his rib cage for me. That tells me so much about how much better he is feeling. We have a clinic ride today that I signed up for months ago and we are going to give it a go. It' at our own barn so there is no trailering or anything stressful and if he starts to act remotely ouchy I will yank him out.
Yesterday, Cinny was still feeling great so I rode him in a short clinic that I signed him up for with a local USDF Medalist. We had a great lesson and learned so very much. She is involved in both Western Dressage as well as traditional so I asked her which direction she thought was best for Cinny and her answer actually surprised me. She said that he was more suited to traditional dressage and NOT western dressage at all because of his movement. She told me he only needs to develop his top line and get round in the back and then he will bloom before my eyes. Time and patience is what he needs.
I am feeling so hopeful. It is nice to hear a positive opinion from someone I see as actually "knowing" something about Dressage versus all of the negative I have been hearing from trainers who ended up being a 4H trainer, or not really knowing Piaffe from Passage.
Oh, and Cinny enjoyed himself too. He discovered his hidden balance and rhythm and I am sure he was quite pleased with himself over it.
Great lesson on Cinny today. The goal was to get him to bend and move his inside shoulder properly while relaxing and GIVING to me. It started out to be extremely frustrated because every time I put my inside leg on him he would just go faster.
But by the end of the hour we had him bending, moving his shoulder correctly and relaxing his head down and drooling a bit. It was just amazing! My homework is to work him until he gives and relaxes. I can't wait for my next lesson.
I"m gearing up for my vacation to CA (starting tomorrow, yay.) Of course we have to pretty much have a blizzard today, my last day to get everything done. Cinny is all tucked in to his stall with his cozy SmartBlue Thinsulate turnout. Grain and SmartPaks have been checked to make sure he has enough for the week. Gear left on the hooks of his stall for easy access to be lunged while I'm gone.
I'm gonna miss the big black guy!!!
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