So far, Amber has been doing well. Feeling good, walking very nicely. But I noticed Wednesday that she seems to be shortening her hind legs again. Not by much – mere inches – but I have been watching her like a hawk since that injection.
The good – she feels so much smoother. I think I actually feel a swing in her back now, and her right side feels amazing. Switching directions at the working trot, I used to feel a hitch in her step, an awkwardness until either it felt normal to me or she actually got better. I haven’t felt that awkwardness at all. When I sit to change diagonal, her back doesn’t feel hard as a rock anymore – more like a soft spring. I can tell it’s much easier to go more into the bridle for her than before, and everything feels better and easier for her.
The bad – she still sort of seems to refuse to center her weight and push more into the outside right rein as we track left (which was very easy and fluid for her directly after the injection). She still wants to come out of frame and look to the right – the latter I’m thinking is because she was consistently startled on that side at the other arena. But, this was Wednesday, and our ride kept going until past dusk. Birds were calling though no fluttering wings, and whereas just minutes before our ride was calm and soft and rhythmic and purposeful, she became agitated to the left and didn’t want to stay in frame for more than a few seconds. Trying to center her shoulders and get a little push to the outside rein was like smacking the EVADE AND RUN FORWARD button. But, again, it WAS past dusk at that point, and while she’s gotten much better about dusk, it juuuuuust might have been a little too dark for her because by the end when I circled once more she actually really tried to stay focused, to center her shoulders a little more and come into the contact and relax a little. Her walk also calmed as soon as I relaxed my back, so fingers crossed that it was the dusk factor and that I wasn’t relaxing.
Keeping what happened on Wednesday in mind, I set out on Thursday planning to do all of our first work to the left with as much light as possible and then dabble a bit to the right and then work on our 2pt.
The good – I’ve been noticing that she’ll actually eat her food with her right front forward and left hind supporting – I haven’t seen her do that in a very long time, so that makes me feel super optimistic! She had a huuuuuuge overstride at the walk. Almost more than what she had the day after the injection. She was not too good in the warm up to the right, mostly because we went like a half-circle that way, then switched to the left and she was better. Not much better like I was hoping, but while still looky, she was much more relaxed. I only had to remind her once that she can’t do things the old way, and she settled right back in instead of getting upset. We got another good circle, and called it quits. Worked on her walk and figured out that I need to do something different that’ll hopefully help in circles to the trot. I’m eager to find out! Our ride was a grand total of 15 minutes, but I thought it was very productive! I was so happy with her tries.
The bad – No 2pt work. Womp womp. It was a little too dark, and I’d purposefully wanted to keep it short and sweet so as a “reward” for really trying and doing the work – no dusk. I thought perhaps I felt a little hitch switching directions, but it could’ve been my imagination. Her back didn’t feel as swinging at the trot, but everything felt better as weird as that sounds. And she still wants to really drop that shoulder at times.
But look! As opposed to Wednesday, there’s a lot more good than bad! So I think the majority of the problem Wednesday was dusk, but I’m still waiting until Sunday for a final verdict. The vet may be absolutely right that her hocks are bothering her a bit. She did strain them when she was injured, and sliding stops and hard ground may have aggravated them sooner than expected. So I’m going to watch over the next few weeks, and if she goes back to really dropping on that left side, then I’ll look further into that left hock the vet saw. It could also be that she’s so used to it hurting that she expects it, which I am more than willing to have the patience to get her through it. She was still much softer through her back though, and while not typical dressage pace, I think her trot feels good (although I bet when I take that dressage lesson it will be like OMG MOVE YOUR HORSE FORWARD lol).
On to the weekend!