Ana's thread - Adventures in Morgan Horse Ownership - Page 97 - The Horse Forum
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post #961 of 3239 Old 02-03-2016, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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I'm still trying to solve Ana's mystery lameness and some people had mentioned saddle fit; ironically I just got her a brand new expensive custom fitted saddle; I had even made a before and after video where you can clearly see that she goes better and that my position is better.

Her original saddle was completely wrong for her and was actually pushing on her withers which caused some atrophy in her neck muscles; so the fitter mentioned that her lameness could be caused by the fact that she's used to carrying me on her withers and has just adapted to that and now that I'm sitting in a more correct position, she has to relearn how to balance me on her back.

I left a message for the chiro; he's supposed to come out in the next couple of weeks; she's already had a lameness exam by a vet who couldn't find anything significantly wrong with her; except that she likes to use her right hind in a twisty motion which is not good so I'm supposed to avoid small circles to discourage her from twisting.

I'm going to try something different tonight; I still have that big BOT pad in the trunk of my car; I'm going to start riding her with it to see if it makes a difference; maybe longe her in it first and then just ride her on a loose rein walk and see if there is any change to her way of going.

She walks like a champ, her trot starts out good but becomes more tense as we go along, unless I drop the reins and let her stretch and then everything is golden again. She doesn't go lame unless I ride her three days in a row and only if I do exercises that require her to engage her right hind more.

I'm just trying to do right by her; I do have to push her little bit so that she can build muscle and progress but I don't want to push her beyond her abilities.

BO rode, she trained her horse from pasture pet to 3rd level Dressage and even earned her bronze medal on him so I trust her judgment. She just said that she doesn't want to engage her right hind as much but didn't detect any actual lameness. Since every horse has a stiff side, I wonder if that's just normal, but then I can feel her stepping short and bopping her head up and down when I'm circling right at the trot on day 3 of riding, and I wonder if that's normal; so then I drop the reins and ride a straight line and she's fine again.

I just don't know what to make of this. I'm just going to try to only do hard work two days in a row at the most, and either rest on day 3 or do loose rein walk only; and start using the BOT pad and see if any of it makes a difference.
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post #962 of 3239 Old 02-03-2016, 08:46 AM
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Do you think the RH short stepping could be weakness? My mare is bad about short stepping but according to my dressage instructor many horses do this initially, it eventually goes away as they get stronger. Plus as a generalizations go, most horses find going right more difficult, maybe this is why? Idk. If she starts this on her third ride of the week I wonder if it is just tired, weak. (I have had my mare checked out, she isn't lame).
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post #963 of 3239 Old 02-03-2016, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaddleUp158 View Post
Do you think the RH short stepping could be weakness? My mare is bad about short stepping but according to my dressage instructor many horses do this initially, it eventually goes away as they get stronger. Plus as a generalizations go, most horses find going right more difficult, maybe this is why? Idk. If she starts this on her third ride of the week I wonder if it is just tired, weak. (I have had my mare checked out, she isn't lame).
Yes, I could just be over-analyzing things; I've been known to do that.

Hopefully the chiro can shed some light on this; in the meantime, I'll try the BOT pad in combination with an altered work schedule. I will also talk to trainer next time I see her.
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post #964 of 3239 Old 02-03-2016, 12:47 PM
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Can you provide pictures of her standing square, including clear hoof pictures from all angles.

I want to see what she actually looks like, from all views.

The "twisty" RH... I don't understand how avoiding tight circles will help with the movement. Tight circles when a horse is lame put more pressure on it, sure, but if a horse has been moving that way their entire life then it's not going to be as big of an impact.

Sky's rear feet are both twisty. He's not lame in the slightest, never has been... and is able to trot any size circle.

He's not strong enough for cantering though, he needs more muscle to canter smaller circles :)
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #965 of 3239 Old 02-04-2016, 06:28 AM
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Have you spoken to a vet? Given that you have been riding pretty consistently for a while and the horse is not unfit, she should not be showing lameness after three days of work. A sound horse ought to be able to manage three days of dressage schooling without any trouble.

I usually work my 22-year old mare in the arena (kind of Second Level-ish stuff) two or three days successively, then we go hacking, and she has a day off somewhere. In the winter, it's a bit more scatty because the weather can be dire and she might get extra days off, as we don't have an indoor. I don't usually do dressage for more than three days in a row because I get sick of it, but the horse is certainly capable of it.

A vet with an interest in physio or chiro would be your ideal person. But either way, I would start with the vet doing a lameness work-up, and if they don't find anything, move on to a chiro or physio.

The only other thing I can think of is that she may need more warm-up in the winter, but that doesn't explain why she is okay for three days, and then becomes unlevel.
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post #966 of 3239 Old 02-04-2016, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by thesilverspear View Post
Have you spoken to a vet? Given that you have been riding pretty consistently for a while and the horse is not unfit, she should not be showing lameness after three days of work. A sound horse ought to be able to manage three days of dressage schooling without any trouble.

I usually work my 22-year old mare in the arena (kind of Second Level-ish stuff) two or three days successively, then we go hacking, and she has a day off somewhere. In the winter, it's a bit more scatty because the weather can be dire and she might get extra days off, as we don't have an indoor. I don't usually do dressage for more than three days in a row because I get sick of it, but the horse is certainly capable of it.

A vet with an interest in physio or chiro would be your ideal person. But either way, I would start with the vet doing a lameness work-up, and if they don't find anything, move on to a chiro or physio.

The only other thing I can think of is that she may need more warm-up in the winter, but that doesn't explain why she is okay for three days, and then becomes unlevel.
Yes, she's already had a full lameness exam by a vet; he couldn't find anything significant wrong with her. I had a pro ride her who confirmed that she doesn't like to engage her right hind as much but couldn't detect any actual lameness.

Chiro is coming tomorrow.
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post #967 of 3239 Old 02-04-2016, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post
Can you provide pictures of her standing square, including clear hoof pictures from all angles.

I want to see what she actually looks like, from all views.

The "twisty" RH... I don't understand how avoiding tight circles will help with the movement. Tight circles when a horse is lame put more pressure on it, sure, but if a horse has been moving that way their entire life then it's not going to be as big of an impact.

Sky's rear feet are both twisty. He's not lame in the slightest, never has been... and is able to trot any size circle.

He's not strong enough for cantering though, he needs more muscle to canter smaller circles :)
I don't have any pictures of her standing square because she doesn't stand square and still without a helper

If I can find a helper at the barn tomorrow, I will certainly take some conformation pics for you
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post #968 of 3239 Old 02-04-2016, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Update: Chiro is coming tomorrow!

I longed and rode her last night with BOT pad; she was very forward but that is to be expected when she's had two days off and the temperature dropped 15 degrees.

I only rode her at the walk with a longish rein because I wanted to work on her responsiveness to my seat aids while maintaining a forward relaxed walk.

I also want her to have a more positive relationship to the reins; right now it seems as though reins are there to restrict her and I don't want her to think that way about reins.

So I did this exercise from the ground where I basically put slight pressure on the bit and as soon as she flexes/responds I completely drop the reins and pressure and let her think about it for a minute. She responded really well.

As soon as I mounted she ripped the reins from me and as I was busy mounting I didn't have the coordination/strength to prevent that. Argh! When she pulls I'm supposed to plant my hands on her neck so that she's basically pulling against herself and then as soon as she stops pulling, I'm supposed to drop the reins. I need one of those saddle horns that I can tie the reins around when mounting; that would ensure that she's pulling against herself and not me.

She did ok once we started working on a loosish rein; I was even able to halt and walk on without her even trying to pull the reins. Halting became a fun game; I would really connect my seat to her, walk forward and then ask to halt from my seat at random places in the arena; the idea is to not come to a grinding halt but to halt immediately. It took a few repetitions before she got it and then she became almost competitive about it :)

She is so funny; she does listen to my seat unless she disagrees with the direction; I was trying to make a center circle which would have required us to walk toward B; everyone knows that B is where all the gremlins live, so she started out following my seat on the curved line but when we reached X, she decided to bail out and suddenly tried to turn and go the other way. Silly, silly girl!

So I think it all comes down to leadership; who is in charge? She lets me be in charge most of the time so then I make the mistake of thinking that I am in charge, when in reality, she's in charge. Does that make sense? Is anyone ever in charge of a mare? Or is it just an illusion? :)
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post #969 of 3239 Old 02-05-2016, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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I figured out what's wrong with Ana!

What do all these pictures have in common?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RH1.jpg (23.9 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg RH2.jpg (48.0 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg RH3.jpg (59.8 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg RH4.jpg (35.0 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg RH5.jpg (42.5 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg RH6.jpg (73.3 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg RH7.jpg (46.1 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg RH8.jpg (48.5 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg RH9.jpg (57.4 KB, 32 views)
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post #970 of 3239 Old 02-05-2016, 08:34 AM
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She holds her right hind and right fore closer together and her left hind and left fore further apart. Man, I just read something about this and what it signifies, I found it interesting because my mare stands crooked as well until I insist on standing square when in cross ties. Some sort of discomfort in the neck I believe- be that musculature or chiro wise. Don't hold me to that but that seems to be what I am remembering. Actually it was a short video clip that I watched of someone who was stretching out a horse, horse yoga and they were explaining something like this. Sorry it I am so vague. I will try to find that video for you.
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