equine update

Since I started keeping track of my horse stuff online again (a few years ago, I deleted my LiveJournal account, which I used as an online horse journal), I thought anyone who is following that part of my life might be interested in an update.

I have seen great progress with Beau lately. I’ve had to work hard to get him bending around my left leg, and it’s a constant effort, but it is paying off. Since he’s outside and it is mucky since the winter storm earlier in the week that dumped 20+ inches of snow on us, I can see what side he lays on. Thank goodness he doesn’t like mud! For the first time in a long time, he had muck on his right flank. He laid on his right side. And he went down on his right side to roll after our ride tonight. It’s such a simple thing, but I’m excited. It means he’s more comfortable going down on his right, because he’s stronger on his left hind leg.

On top of that, he’s bending with less effort from me. He still has difficulty shifting his ribcage at the trot, but it is coming, and then he gives me a few strides of trot half-pass at a time. At the canter, he’s started to flex to the left and follow through with softening on the left, which allows his left hind leg to step deeper beneath him. Even better is the changing reign on the diagonal or figure 8–Instead of falling to the right with his haunches leading that way, he’s staying straighter. I still have to stay alert and keep him from letting those haunches swing right, but he’s doing more to keep them in line.

Through all this, I’ve had to be exaggerate my position to the left, or so it feels to me. Eventually, I shouldn’t have to do as much, as I’m already seeing. For now, my boy is building up the muscles of his left hind leg, the one that has always been so weak. It’s having the added benefit of keeping his back in proper alignment so he doesn’t need the chiropractor as often. My checking account appreciates that!

This is one of the many benefits of dressage–straightness and balance–for any type of riding. In this case, it’s the key to keeping my particular boy sound and happy. That makes me happy. As a bonus, he collects easier and has gained suspension in his gaits, because he’s working off his hind legs more evenly. It’s wonderful to ride :)

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