Monday, June 1, 2015

Rehabbing Ride with Kathryn

So... this was a very interesting lesson, but I will admit to being disappointed. Not in the lesson, but in what Kathryn was seeing. We worked on it being therapeutic for Fleck and on me a bit.  Kathryn had me slow it down. Really slow it down. Almost to a western job. So that he had to use himself and almost think about using himself. I was thinking to myself "aha... this is why I get frustrated with Dan... Fleck is self propelled"...I never felt like I had to cluck or squeeze. But that can backfire too because then I get to handsy and don't use enough leg. But anyways, I was letting Fleck stretch out and unkink in the hind end and help himself be sounder longer. So we worked on it. It was hard to tell if he was making himself lamer or sounder sometimes, as he almost waffled between the two. And I couldn't really tell what was making him sounder when he went sounder. Kathryn seemed to think (unless I misunderstood) that by slowing his body down and making him take precise steps and think about it, he was able to use his body fully and realize it didn't hurt. And thus go sounder. She suggested riding him this way for awhile to help him. (I'm thinking she's a lot like Jean Luc in the sense of riding biomechanically to improve the horse). So then we did some canter and our right lead canter wasn't horrible. But it wasn't great. I slowed him super down too and Peri said he was looking pretty darn good. So then we started to go over a cross rail. I had told Kathryn about our grid day and she wanted to see what he was doing.

We started by trotting over the cross rail and Fleck kept leaping and landing scurried. So she wanted me to slow it down and try to encourage him to step right up to the cross rail, rather than leaving so far behind. And she also wanted him to not panic on the backside. We managed to get it a few times and he even took a breath. He went from flinging and bolting (almost, not really) to breathing and just trotting over. So then we tried a canter. Again he reverted back to the near bolting on the backside. So... that bothered Kathryn. Rather than try again repeatedly she had me go back down to the trot. He did and actually jumped it calmly rather than bolting. We quit with that because Kathryn was thrilled with that. She said she was a bit worried about him and his reaction over the jumps but that he redeemed it by trotting calmly over it after her was reactive at the canter. She said that gave her hope that he wasn't still painful, just anticipating pain. So she was pretty excited about the lesson.

I, however, was depressed. I know she wasn't going to say "hey, he looks great, go jump him prelim next week". But... I don't know... she kept saying stuff like "well, you know, maybe he won't do prelim, but"... and "you guys could easily jump and do training level, or novice". Which is fine. And probably true. But, I kept hearing the novice part and thinking that was all she thought he was going to be able to do. And I was really hoping the injections would have created better results.

Sigh... a bit depressing. But Peri said he looked really good and she thinks that if I can do the homework and focus on retraining his body, I'll have a really NICE horse on my hands. She made me feel better. So... we'll see. That's all I can do. Wait and see what he tells me he wants to do. It's not that I won't have fun playing with him at training, or even novice. I don't know... I don't even know what I want I guess.

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