Henry the Good
I had another jumping lesson on Wednesday night and it was a real mix of good and bad. The overall outcome is that Henry is the best boy and the most forgiving.
I have been wondering about my saddle fit for a little while, since Henry seems to be getting tenser about jumping. It hasn’t been terrible, just enough to start the thought process. My coach also mentioned it so I had a really close look at all my saddles and though yep, my jumping saddle is tight in the front. In my lesson we had a look together and Henry was the worst he has ever been, totally new behaviour that screamed he was in pain. I swapped to my old saddle and he felt so much freer and while the behaviour didn’t go away completely, he was much happier. He offered a good stretch and his paces improved so I am fairly confident the saddle needs adjusting. So I feel terrible, he’s been trying to tell me for a while but it was a hard to determine if it was a training issue or pain. Next time I will assume pain first.
Usually I feel confident knowing when my saddles do and don’t fit but this saddle is fitted by someone different and to give her credit she did say it would need widening soon. I may ask her to make it how I like to fit them when she comes out next week. He has bulked out quite a lot recently and that’s what has done it.
I also have a physio booked for next week after the saddle fitter has been, so hopefully Henry will be feeling a lot more comfortable. I wish they could talk. Hopefully it won’t take him long to realise it doesn’t hurt any more.
Our lesson was actually very good aside from the saddle issue. Henry was so rideable, responsive and on my aides. He felt wonderful, especially in my old saddle. We finished with a nice course after I had swapped it over, and I am feeling confident about our first event for the year next weekend!
After I had ridden I palpitated his back and he was definitely sore around his wither. I do this frequently before I ride and it was worse after the ride so fingers crossed he comes good quickly.
Hopefully I can get him sorted, I am more than prepared to use my old saddle if need be, though I am very worried I have spent lots of money on a fancy new one that he hates. I don’t think so as he felt wonderful in it until the last few weeks. The saddle fit would also explain the tension under saddle in the bush where normally he is so relaxed.
This weekend I think we will be working on stretching and loosening him up. I’ll do some pole work, go for a ride in the bush, heat pack him and do some massaging and stretching myself. Anything for the main man (sorry Andrew!). So far he feels better for the effort I am putting in and I popped him over a couple of jumps (in my old saddle!) to see where we were at and he was his normal lovely self. Now I just have to work on his confidence so he realises it wont hurt.
I am very lucky to have such a lovely horse, another horse probably would have had me in the dirt for much less. It often feels with horses that you are stumbling around in the dark trying to get things right. And gosh it’s hard to get it right. The horse mum guilt is real too, wouldn’t life be easier if they could talk, or I had a magic wand to wave when things aren’t quite right!