Happy New Year!
A friend recently told me her family always has a single word to define the year ahead. As I pondered this concept I was working through the meaning of a recent dream. I journaled through the dream and the word came to me clear as the dawn of a new day of a new year.
In the dream Khaleesi lost her entire right hoof wall. It sloughed clean off in one piece. I’d known it was coming as it had gotten bacteria or an infection and though I might have applied some antibiotic this ended up being better for the long term. Neither of us were particularly concerned in the dream. She laid down in front of me so I could wrap it. The first though I had in the dream was this will equal one year. A hoof takes a year to grow.
One year of regrowth.
There was more to the dream than this, lots of interesting details. Here are a couple of the main ideas:
I was able to see the bone structure with the hoof wall gone. It was in good sound shape and that pleased me to know. The underlying foundation is solid.
It is outer wall: external-physical. I had a different dream a while back where her right leg was being tended to by a man and he was removing large glass shards from her leg: internal-mental/emotional connection. That dream was only a couple months ago. There was a healing or a removal of the internal issues with our relationship.
I have spent a couple years learning about the mental aspects of connecting with horses and though I haven’t learned everything, I have learned a lot about horses in the past couple years. The relationship between K and I has become very strong.
This year it’s time to begin the physical.
If anyone keeps up with the sister blog I wrote about the saddle issues I’ve been working on this winter.
It boggles my mind to consider that I finished several 50 miles rides and the last one finished in fantastic time for us – with physical issues that had my mare compromised the point my bodyworker told me:
your horse is in pain an you have to do something about it now.
Actually it shouldn’t surprise me.
If a horse is thriving mentally and emotionally she will do everything she can to physically to perform for her rider– even in much compromise. And in fairness — I knew something f wasn’t right I just couldn’t sort it out. It would have been simpler if her ‘back’ was sore. But the issue being in her scapula and shoulders was harder for me to find on my own.
Everything in its time.
Now is the time to address the physical. Now I have more information as to how to solve the physical issues and begin to address her balance and my riding.
Speaking of timing: I’ve been seeking a natural balance dentist for over a year. It’s tough to get people out to our rural zone but after over a year of reaching out and finding dead ends, next week I finally have someone coming from the Spencer Laflure school coming to do teeth. I’d like to see how it goes to have someone really balancing the mouth and teeth with eye to the whole horse balance. It will be almost 2 years since her last dental visit!
[If you’re curious about Natural Balance here is their info]
Once again the time is right!
Another puzzle piece is a book that was recently recommended to me by a friend I just reconnected with. The book considers equine biomechanics in light of their natural physical system, saddle fit and human workload, conformation, hoof trimming and handling. Interestingly… turns out it was edited by one of the founders of Balance Saddle.
There is great down to earth information here about how to see horses in a way that reveals how they are using their bodies. As well she includes some easy ideas to begin allowing the horse to rebalance physically to use their body efficiently. I HIGHLY recommend it.
In a few sessions of beginning to walk and trot in the new saddle set up its been fascinating to feel and see (video) what’s going on with her physically and how I can help or hinder her to move efficiently.
What a process… One day we trot 6 miles on a local trail; I experiment and learn some things. I look at some images and see how my horse is INDEED unbalanced onto her front end.
Next I visit a friend’s massive arena and do more experimenting especially with stirrup length.
Some things went beautifully- specifically her tempo was graceful where in the past she would often rush at the trot making it hard to work on balance. I found that though shorter stirrups were less comfortable for me that in video it showed that Khaleesi had better soft movement with them. Some really nice work.
Then I go into the smaller arena on property and feel like a complete failure. Hoping to work a short session before the rain I can do a lovely walk but every time I ask for a trot her head would bob down, she’d land heavy on the front and I had zero steering. What was wrong? What a waste of time…
But… when I took home the video footage and watched it on my TV screen, especially in slow motion I saw somethings that gave me hope!
Occasionally there were brief seconds of her carrying herself light and lifted in her back. What I saw in watching from the third perspective was what I’d begun to consider in the saddle that morning- she was asking me for help.
She now is trying to get rebalanced and she is going to need help to lift her front and I can’t give it to her in a halter. I can see her beginning to round in her back and sometimes her hind is coming under, but it’s incomplete.
She needs support from a bit to lift in the front! I feel it and I see it in the video footage!
This is exciting for me because she wasn’t a fan of the bit in the past and I’d given up on using it for a while because we had no purpose behind it. I don’t need the bit for control and I wasn’t doing anything with it for her physical balance. I didn’t want to forcefully create contrived collection through aids.
Not to mention I haven’t had her teeth done in almost two years and I’m not sure what her mouth balance is like- so for the season riding in a halter was what made sense.
There is a time for all things.
I am really excited to learn new things and to have her begin to work efficiently. I believe that this will change the game for she and me.
I’m not sure how the process will go once I begin to work with her but as her movement becomes balanced and efficient the miles will be more quality than quantity and I would expect it will mean less wearing her down over lots of miles but building her up and riding smarter instead of harder… and just maybe heading from the turtle position up to a solid middle of the pack horse!
Time will tell.