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JR Ride 52: Wasn’t Born to Follow

July 13, 2009

JR's New Spring Coat

Friday, 7/10/09

Blahhhhhhh, JR feels backsore again. This is after an evaluation/adjustment by a veterinarian/chiropractor, a saddle adjustment by a master saddler, a few weeks of topline-strengthening ground work, and a week or two of light riding at a walk with only a few minutes of trotting. I could feel it when I was grooming him- his back sank significantly. He’s also becoming more and more girthy. I also saw the beginnings of telltale dry spots behind each side of his withers :^/

My next step is to try a few western saddles on him. I thought my dressage saddle looked good on him, but it’s possible that his shoulders are starting to get pushed now that he is filling out and slimming down. Since our riding is basic flatwork and schooling, the discipline is less important than a nicely-fitting saddle. Now all I need to do it learn how to ride western :^)

Our ride on Friday was productive. I started by placing a few boogery objects in the outdoor dressage arena. I used a tarp, held down by two ground poles, and a potted plant, placed in the center of the arena. As expected, JR reacted to the objects. He was completely controllable, but snorted and pranced when he saw the plant. I think the schooling is helping, though, because he was trying to eat the plant within a few minutes. He walked on the tarp nicely once he got a look at it. I longed JR for a few minutes. It was a just-ok longeing session, since he was caving in on the circle again. I think he does it when he’s lacking confidence.

I mounted up and we rode for about 25 minutes, mostly walking with a little trotting until my ankle said no more. My ankle is improving- whew! Mary the Morgan and her owner came out to the arena while we rode. I figured that another horse would help JR get over any concerns about the woods in the evening since there are quite a few deer crashing around there. JR wasn’t born to follow, though, since he gave a good-sized spook when we were at the edge of the trees in the arena. I stayed securely in the saddle, and circled him around in one fluid motion and rode past a few times and he was fine. It was good for me to finally feel what his spooking feels like under saddle. I’m sure he can do a much bigger one, but now I know what the average one feels like. We did a little lateral work at the walk, leg yielding in each direction. Productive ride :^)

I turned Wizard loose in the big arena to watch his movement. Still a hitch in the hind end, but thrilled to stretch his Thoroughbred legs.

She may beg, she may plead, she may argue with her logic
And then she’ll know the things I learned
That really have no value in the end she will surely know
I wasn’t born to follow

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2009 1:28 pm

    Hi, just wanted to let you know TBAblogs is following you. We’ve linked to your blog and we’d love if you updated your TBA link. We’re committed to following every great racing blog out there (123 people on Twitter, 132 blogs, 38 horse racing news feeds, pp search, video, and a little karma [charity] too) , so if we’re missing any or if you have a comment let me know.

  2. oregonsunshine permalink
    July 13, 2009 7:11 pm

    Sarah, I really like the look of your yellow friend there. I’d love to have one just like him, minus the boogery part. That would scare Casey too much. But alas! Horse shopping for Casey’s new best friend is sucking. And I think it’s sucking the life out of me too.

    Wish you were closer. I’d let you take Casey for a spin just so you could enjoy a ride with no soreness or boogery-ness.

    • July 14, 2009 4:21 pm

      Thanks so much! He’s a blast, and quite the handsome fellow. My hope that the boogering is greenness, especially since he has worked out of a lot of it.

      Wouldn’t that be fun if we lived closer? We could be barn and blog buddies :^)

  3. July 14, 2009 6:08 am

    What about trying acupuncture? Does anyone do that on horses? I’ve used it on my greyhounds when they are having spinal pain or issues and I’ve had really good results.


    • July 14, 2009 4:14 pm

      The equine chiropractor who works on Wizard and JR does a chiropractic adjustment and then an acupuncture treatment, which helps to hold the adjustment. I’ve been very pleased with her work. The only problem is affording the treatments for two horses! Excellent idea, though- she worked on JR a few months ago and I’d love to get her back out for him sometime soon.

  4. August 10, 2009 4:08 pm

    Sorry to hear about JR’s back pain. It’s such as shame, but from what I’ve read earlier, I know you’ll keep taking good care of him. I love the work you’re doing in reducing his spook reaction to the Mystery Monsters in his world. That blue tarp can panic even the most sedentary and blasé school horses. Just remember to keep changing things up until he realizes the world may not actually be out to get him. Other items you may want to try include attaching a plastic shopping bag, a flag, or a helium-filled balloon to a standard; draping some horse clothing on the rail; placing a stuffed animal or have a friend hold a decent-sized mirror; and flash sunlight from the rail. Just some possibilities… The more you expose him to, a little at a time, the less likely he is to over-react.

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