Yesterday was a good horse day. All three horses had rides, and all went very well.
Red is back to walking under saddle - yesterday was our second 15-minute walk ride. His EPM symptoms are already abating - this is typical within five days of starting this particular medication. His walk is good, and there's no toe-dragging. His feet are easy to pick again and he was very good for the farrier at his recent appointment. He doesn't have to rebalance himself any more when we're saddling or when I'm mounting. The ankle is also looking better. There's still a slight wind puff, but every day it looks a bit smaller and we continue to ice, and he also gets arnica tablets and aspirin with his feed. I won't do another formal neuro test until next week when we're up to 30 minutes of walking and ready to trot. No trot work unless he's neurologically back to normal. If there are still any residual neuro abnormalities, we may alter his medication routine a little.
But Pie is the star of this post. Pie has had a tendency to fall on the forehand, and also cut in - a result of falling on the forehand - and almost all of this is due to my riding. When I pay attention and ride correctly, the "problems" mysteriously vanish - imagine that! Yesterday, I tried to focus on my riding and see if that would fix the problems, and sure enough it worked great. With Pie, I need to keep myself off his forehand - this means staying upright and open and sitting back - it almost felt like I was leaning backwards but I expect I was just managing to sit up straight. No pushing with seat or legs and no "trapping" with my hand. Pie was very happy and we had a fabulous ride. I was able to do precision bending - small circles and serpentines and other figure work, with frequent changes of direction - and he never fell in or lost his bend, not once, and he stayed beautifully soft throughout.
But the real prize was the canter. His canter was free, open and relaxed, and the most wonderful thing of all happened on our first canter departure on the left lead. He did the most amazing, relaxed, engaged walk to canter departure, and all it took was my thinking the 1-2-3, 1-2-3 rhythm in my head at the speed he would do it when cantering, and exhaling as his outside hind was leaving the ground in walk. His forehand was free since I was sitting straight and relaxed, and he just stepped off into canter as beautifully as I've ever felt it. I was delighted and told him so - he just said "well, woman, what did you expect? I do this all the time in the pasture and all you had to do was get out of my way."
Pie's pretty wise. A boarder who saw us cantering commented on how beautiful his canter looked, and it sure felt beautiful.
And for a nice example of listening to, instead of blaming, the horse for a "problem", read this post from Shirley over at Ride a Good Horse. Dawn has been having some issues with softness when tracking left, and sure enough her neck is sore from all the time she spent having her head propped up while sedated for her dental work. She has a final recheck next week, and as soon as that's done we'll be having the chiropractor out to do some work on her.