I knew last winter that I should have the chiropractor start working on Spooks' back...but did I start it then? Ya know...when there was nothing going on and we had months and months to work all the kinks out...
Nope! Sure didn't! And I am paying the price for my procrastination.
Spooks was a lot better after the chiro adjusted him the first time. I kept working on his conditioning and he ran harder and turned harder in the run that followed. Then he was sore afterward.
Okay...that is to be expected. We all know how tight muscles can get when things change. It takes time for everything to get comfortable working in a new way.
I sure didn't expect that the poor horse would get so tight over his back that the chiro couldn't even give him another adjustment. :(
Soooo...He is on a week of Equioxx for the inflammation. Will get adjusted next week. After which, I am going to have the vet flex test him and then most likely put him on Adequan.
We think he probably has some arthritis going on in his back due to fact that Spooks pretty much hasn't used his back for lord knows how long.
I kinda wished I wouldn't have started all of this because he wasn't actually hurting himself before. He just ran slowly and within his physical limitations. Now he's kinda better and he is so much more focused this year...so he's trying harder...and that puts strain on muscles that are unfamiliar with it....and hence...the soreness. Since the Equioxx is just starting to ease the soreness (day 3), I opted not to run Spooks at the Friday race.
Moon is back in form...but I want to run him on Sunday. Not wanting anything to cause a problem with that...I left him home as well.
That left Frosty to take to the barrel race...
Hauling a 3rd string horse 70 miles, withe the winds howling 40-50mph and paying a $40 entry fee?
I almost didn't go. I probably wouldn't have either, except L and I decided to go together. L and I always have a good time together. So what the heck right? Frosty isn't going to get any better staying home.
Did I mention the carnival was set up at the fairgrounds we were going to?
Oh yea....I thought that would be fun, fun, fun...Not, Not, NOT!...I figured Frosty would have a complete meltdown.
Goofy bugger wasn't even fazed by it! He never ceases to amaze with what will or will not bother him.
A carnival...blaring music, bright lights and clanging and banging...Didn't even blink.
But let someone tries to walk up to me to visit?...Frosty looses his mind and runs sideways and backwards as fast as he can. Every.single.time!!! I have started asking people to walk up to us at every opportunity. They are always so polite about it...Being calm, moving slow and talking to him. Does he care? Not one wit. He still blows backward. So I told people that would approach him to just start walking toward him, talking in a loud voice and go ahead and reach out like they are trying to touch him. He's GOT to get over this kind of silliness. Thankfully there are nice people at the barrel racings who will help a girl with a rather goofy horse out. ;-)
I wished I could say that Frosty came on like a freight train....but I would be lying. I used my bat on him this 'run' (oh...and I do use that term loosely...snort) and he did speed up...
So did his ducking and dodging. Gahhhhh!!!!
The thing is...Frosty gets it. He knows his pattern. He knows he is supposed to run to those barrels and turn them. I can feel that in him. He just gets almost to the barrel and gets kind of lost. He ducks left, then right, then left and is switching leads with every duck and dodge. Take that dressage people...my untrained, goofy barrel horse can do one stride lead changes. LOL...Problem is...I don't want him to.
(Deep cleansing breath in, breath out)
So after the barrel race, I asked if they would leave the lights on for a little bit longer and I took him back in to work the pattern. And I think I have maybe a bit of the problem worked out in my mind...
I think he is a tad overbitted and he is not breaking at the poll and rounding where he is supposed to be rating. Thanks to Ed Wright, I have become much more conscious of my hands when I am running. When I start to ask my horse to rate, I 'milk' the reins. Instead of rounding up into that and gathering for the turn...Frosty is clenching his jaw, bracing in the neck and dropping his shoulder. When he doesn't give...I have to ask him with more force or he would just plow over the barrel. That is when the ducking and dodging starts.
That's an easy enough fix. I'm going switch him to a snaffle and a german martingale. Frosty is quite used to being ridden with a snaffle and a running martingale, so the transition should be easy. The only difference is, where the running martingale gets a horse to break over at the poll and bring their head down...the german martingale just gets them to break over at the poll. Frosty just needs a little help understanding that when I wiggle the reins, he is supposed to break and round. That sets him up for his rate and makes turning the barrel easy. And he can turn a barrel! Dang he is getting some nice turns on him. It's just the setting himself up for it that he isn't quite figuring out.
I do realize how green Frosty is. I am not trying to push him to run faster than he is ready for. But seriously...He should be able to strong lope a 20 second pattern with little effort. It's all the ducking and dodging that is messing him up and costing time. He didn't lose any...he still ran a 23 second pattern...but minus the ducking and dodging...it would have been the 20 second run...easy. Right now, smoothing out his 'runs' are my main concern. The speed will come on it's own.