The North Experience - Page 47 - The Horse Forum
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post #461 of 498 Old 03-26-2019, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanteDressageNerd View Post
It helps a lot to start with a clean slate, can avoid so many issues. When a horse has a backstory it's a lot of work. Emotional and psychological damage can be made better but I dont think it can ever be undone. Especially with especially sensitive horses, they dont forget and if they sense the wrong energy can easily become unglued. North is really lucky to have you and have so much love in his life. I'm glad you've found your horse of a lifetime and partner that you never lose confidence in and can be proud to have. People at the stable may say things when something happens but as you said wait a few years and watch what happens. I think when you have a horse you believe in and you know what they're capable of time is your best friend because they'll show what they can do so others who doubt can see.
^^^LOVE this! Thank you! It is exactly how I feel.

And on more of what you said, I think this is why there are just some riders that don't click with this breed, like my old trainer. She was a competitive type, "ask, tell, demand" type of rider and when that didn't work, she could get strong with a horse. I just don't think her way of riding meshed well with these horses, so she wrote them off. I think that I am an ask, clarify, wait till you figure it out, then PRAISE type of rider. I'm not competitive, so I'm not pushing to achieve some sort of recognition. I only look to improve and build a strong bond with my horse. For me, that is more than enough and everything else is just a bonus.

"Horses are too spency!" - Mom
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post #462 of 498 Old 04-01-2019, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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This weekend we had the clinic and I was stoked as always. I LOVE lessoning with John because I just learn so much, not just in my lesson, but watching others in their lessons as well. He spends parts of the lesson in the arena and parts on the sideline giving direction, and I often get the opportunity to sit next to him and shoot a question about the exercises he gives or why a horse is doing this or that, and he really seems to love explaining the mechanics and what he sees.

Saturday was a really good day, and John decided to tackle hind end engagement with us. As much as I wanted to, he would not let me use my reins to soften. But even before this, we were asked to bump our time up a slot, because another rider was waiting on the farrier to finish with her horse and running behind. North had only been unloaded 20 minutes before, so not much time to settle in, but I said okay. Because of my recent mishaps, I asked my old trainer to hop on him and warm him up to get the nervousness out and get his mind right. With her too, John would not let her ask him to soften with the reins. She even said, "He's so soft in the mouth, I can feel it. If I ask even a tiny bit, he'll soften." And John said, "YES! That's what he wants you to do, because that is what he is used to. But that's not what we want. We want to send him out to the contact, not bring it to him." And sure enough, she kept driving him with her seat and legs and down he went right into the bit. It didn't take long to get him focused, so I got in the saddle soon after.

It was, of course, a little harder for me. I'm used to hold my outside rein, pushing him forward with my legs, but also using my inside rein to ask him to soften and round. North is also used to this, and what I learned is that because it's so easy for him to soften and round in the neck, he can kinda cheat from really using his hind and coming under himself, because once he softens, I kinda stop pushing him forward. So yea, it was really ugly for a few minutes, with North running around looking like a giraffe, lol, but man, once he realized that I wasn't going to give it to him, he started coming from behind and went out to the bit, and it was a totally different feeling in the trot. The most John would let me do is lift my inside rein slightly, but other than that, I just had to use my seat and legs and keep sending him out to the bit. He just kept saying, "You don't bring it to him. Let him take the contact from you!" And next thing I knew, there he was, pushing down into my hands and really coming over his back.

We started out on left lead, and when we switched to right lead, it suddenly got much harder. John thought he was showing some weakness in his right hind, which baffled me, because right lead had always been our easier side. We got some good moments, but definitely not as good as left lead. We didn't push it. John is ALL about developing a happy horse and letting things be their idea (like going out to the bit). He remarked several times on what a smart horse North was and how willing he was. Although all horses have one side that's weaker than the other, John said that he wanted to lunge North on Sunday before I rode so he could see how he went without a rider.

Sunday I got him tacked up and fitted with side reins and just watched as John lunged him. He did surprisingly well on the lunge even though I haven't lunged him in a few months. He was really responsive to John and reaching down to the bit, so we moved to under saddle. And that's when the red flags showed up. He was not half as willing as he had been the day before. He didn't want to use his right hind, he felt short strided, didn't really want to stay forward and was tossing his tail about. We stopped after only 10 min and began discussing. John said he didn't think it was a temperament thing because it was hard, but if it was, he didn't want me to be the one to work him through it. He could see that North was a "want to please" horse, but he would rather someone with a stickier seat be the one to push him through it. I reiterated that the right side has always been our easier side, so John had me hop off and started to take a look.

He started feeling and checking his right stifle and when he did, North almost kicked out at him. Just to make sure, he went around and felt the same spot on the left side and then told me to come feel. Sure enough, I could feel it. John said it felt like he had a pocket of fluid in his right stifle. He said it had likely been there for a little while, and the work we did Saturday really making him come under and use his hind, had increased the pain. He said it also explained why North did not appear lame at all, but then didn't want to use himself once under saddle. But he told me that in a young horse, this can be normal with growing pains and the way the play out in the pasture and then begin learning to use themselves. He said it was likely the vet just needed to drain it and relieve the pressure.

He also told me not to worry and he would never think a horse this young would need injections. He has 60 horses at his barn and told me that NONE of them get hock injections. He said people often think that hock injections are necessary at some point. He said jumpers often need hock injections, but dressage horses usually need stifle or SI injections if necessary.

I called the vet this morning and am hoping he will be able to make it out our way on Wednesday. If not, they said it won't be till next week. I also called the chiro and sent her video and talked to her about checking him again as well. After the clinic, we hauled him home and I kept him in last night, just to give him some time to take it easy. Keeping my fingers crossed that this is something simple.

Below are just a few pics from the clinic. I'll try to post some video later. Just not a whole lot to share since we didn't really ride Sunday and only a little bit from Saturday. And for some odd reason, there was a film over my video from Saturday. I guess I didn't clean my lense very well or something.
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"Horses are too spency!" - Mom
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post #463 of 498 Old 04-02-2019, 11:25 AM
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I cannot even begin to tell you how much I loved your post. Not because North is sore (I am sorry to hear that) but because there is a trainer out there that says - lets not push through this, lets not just go to chemical solutions - lets wait and see how the horse heals himself.
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post #464 of 498 Old 04-02-2019, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by carshon View Post
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I loved your post. Not because North is sore (I am sorry to hear that) but because there is a trainer out there that says - lets not push through this, lets not just go to chemical solutions - lets wait and see how the horse heals himself.
This, too, is what I love about John. He is ALL about the horse. I've seen him cut multiple lessons short because a horse looked uncomfortable or off. He simply will not try and make a horse "push through" and he definitely won't try and "force" a horse to do anything or push them beyond their physical or mental limits. He takes into account age, conformation, training, fitness and rider ability and then applies the best approach, so there are no two lessons alike.

A key example is the TB mare that pastures with North. She's VERY opinionated and often looks angry during rides with pinned ears because she is being asked to do things that are difficult for her. The lesson with John was probably the first time that I ever saw her being ridden where she wasn't getting upset and was being allowed to figure things out on her own time, yet they got the desired result-just in a happy horse. She looked so content and WILLING to try and do the work and it was really eye opening.

He has such a great eye on what is affecting each horse and WHY they are doing what they're doing or why they are going a certain way that it's fascinating to watch him teach. I would give anything to be able to lesson with him on a regular basis.

"Horses are too spency!" - Mom
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post #465 of 498 Old 04-02-2019, 11:49 AM
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So happy you had a good clinic. I love how John explains things, and breaks them down. I love it! Sounds like he wants what is best for the horse And that is important, how a trainer SHOULD be. And letting the horse come to the bit on their own, yes!!! I love it!
You guys look really good. :) Definitely an eye-opener, in one lesson you can learn SO much. So much to process!

I am sorry to hear that about North's stifles, poor baby. Keep us posted on the vet visit, and crossing my fingers it's something simple. Try not to worry, although I know it's hard, it's your baby!
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post #466 of 498 Old 04-02-2019, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Not from riding, but video from the clinic of John lunging North to the right. If you skip to 1:50, I start to ask questions and he starts explaining what he sees and what he's doing.


"Horses are too spency!" - Mom
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post #467 of 498 Old 04-04-2019, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Vet came yesterday. He said North was definitely hurting and it was definitely the stifle. He had his assistant take him out and hand trot him and noted that he was dragging his right toe. He then told her trot him in a circle. He went left and showed a little resistance, but went she tried to trot him right, he only took a couple steps before he pulled back and threw his head around. Vet said that was enough.

He said that he'd strained it and had likely caused some bleeding, hence the pocket of fluid, though it had already gone down since Sunday. He said this was normal in young, growing horses and something that usually resolves itself as they get older and stronger, but in the meantime, we should go ahead and blister the stifle to tighten the joint and relieve him of the pain. He decided to go ahead and blister both stifles. He said the left wasn't bad, but it wouldn't strengthen both and give us time to build up the strength in both without causing him any discomfort. I've never done this procedure, so I asked a lot of questions. He said to keep him in regular work and riding and to give him as much turnout as possible, which I already do. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes. They sedated him, and then shot a needle of stuff into both joints. Done. Vet said he would follow up with us in a month to see how he was doing. When he woke up from the sedation, I turned him out, and headed back to work to read up more on blistering.

For the most part, it did seem to be common in young horses, and blistering seems to be an old practice. Some of the stuff I read on various forums made me a little nervous. Some people said they didn't like it and it could be painful for the horse. My vet said it's only painful if they aren't being worked and getting enough turnout to keep the joint active.

After work I headed to the barn. My friend had already brought him in for feeding, so I asked her how he was coming in. She said he was great. I decided to lunge him...

The difference was nothing short of amazing. He was a totally different horse on the lunge-from that morning even! We started on left lead, and from the start, he had a nice, forward moving walk where he was tracking up and moving through his whole body and it only took a few minutes before he was reaching down to the bit. The trot was more of the same and I was shocked at how quickly he started stretching down. His nose was practically tickling the grass as he trotted. We did a couple walk-trot transitions and there was no objections from him, no tail swishing, no head tossing, no giraffe, nothing.

Then we changed to the right. I could see at first that he was a little cautious since this had been his bad side, but after several strides, it was like he realized it didn't hurt anymore, and just totally relaxed, let go, and went to work. We picked up the trot and went a few circles before I realized... I'd never attached the side reins! Lol. So he'd been forward, tracking up, and coming over his back down to the bit, without any help or encouragement from the side reins! I did go ahead and attach them and he went right back into work mode, immediately stretching and reaching down for the bit. This was RIGHT LEAD, and there was not a moment of objection. Again, he showed no signs of discomfort, no tail swishing, nothing. His walk was just beautiful- big, forward moving strides. I could even ask for more impulsion without him jumping into the trot. I couldn't believe it and lavished him with praise.

In the end, I felt bad. I should've caught this sooner and realized he was hurting. He's such a good baby and a willing horse that I should have known he had a reason to be fussing or objecting to the work. He looked like a different horse last night. If he would have felt that good for the clinic last weekend, he would've blown everyone away. Anyhow, another lesson learned about my baby. We're supposed to be riding in another clinic on Saturday, but things are still up in the air, so we'll see. I'm just happy he is okay now and not hurting anymore. Poor baby.

"Horses are too spency!" - Mom
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post #468 of 498 Old 04-04-2019, 09:19 PM
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Stifles are such buggers.

Definitely keep him in as much work as you can, it's amazing how much better they get, they just need to be active. It's the same with sticky/locking stifles, even though if you've never seen one it can look a bit.. awful to keep working them, it helps so much and they get so much better with more work.

He is looking so great Tina!
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post #469 of 498 Old 04-05-2019, 08:48 AM
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I am so glad you finally got a diagnosis! I am glad he is feeling better!

I don't break horses, I FIX them!
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post #470 of 498 Old 04-05-2019, 01:17 PM
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So glad he will be okay, I know that is such a relief. We always expect the worst. It's great that you were able to continue to work him! What a good boy, I'm so happy you had such a nice lunge session, and yay for no giraffe or head tossing. He is definitely starting to understand a lot more.

I know, it's hard to distinguish between them just being kids, or in pain. I wouldn't have known either! They are so willing. So glad he is starting to feel better already. Sooo excited for your next clinic even though it's a bit far away, still!
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