We warmed up in the arena and did some more bending and stretching, which went well. We’ve been working pretty hard the last two days and he is doing well, so after the confirmation of the last two day’s work, we went on a walk hack for a couple of miles with Sarah on Charlie.
One of the fundamentals of dressage is that a horse needs to stretch over his topline to the bit, not to be confused with bearing down on the bit. Today, at times, he started to forego the bracing and stretch over his topline. He also had his ears up most of the ride. My theory is that the gel pad and saddle change as well as helping him let go in his neck has made him more comfortable and therefore happier. We did a lot of walk work again and some spiral in and out on a circle and some canter transitions. On the right track.
Flash is spending a very short time at Field Day, we’re calling it “Camie Camp.” He is here for four days while Ed is out of town. I took his blanket off and started grooming him and I noticed that he had a little scurfy area near his withers on the right. Upon further grooming it was clear that there are two of them and they are saddle rubs, as they are symmetric and there are some white hairs growing in, a sign of too much pressure in one spot.
The left side is more subtle. Here is the wide shot.
And the close up of the left side.
Ride side wide shot
Ride side close up.
Meanwhile, I rode him in my dressage saddle with a fitted gel pad. We did a lot of walking and bending, asking him to come through from behind. It was a bit of a paradigm shift for him, but he started to let go in his poll and neck and his back started to let go. During the process, he had a fair amount of jigging, which is an indication of being tight in the back. We did only a small amount of trot and canter, but positively, much of what we established in walk carried over into the other gaits. During the cooling down walk out, he had some nice stretching over his back.
His ears were up for much of the ride today, with the notable exception of upward transitions. I think a lot of his crankiness under saddle, which notably is not his general nature, may be primarily due to saddle fit, with the resultant back tightness.