Preface: Last week, Jingle and I's lesson was a bit of a combination of tornado, and bratty behaviour. However, I ended up housesitting near the barn all week and so from Thursday to Monday, Jingle got ridden every.single.day, outside-inside-down the road, he got rode. Tuesday I worked, so I gave him the day off, and then Wednesday was our next lesson.
Throughout the week, Jingle pleasantly surprised me, we worked really hard with our speed, and our transitions from trot/jog into the lope, and down from the lope into a trot/jog or walk, as well as stop. On Saturday I even loped the entire pattern on the correct leads the whole time. We also worked a lot on stopping in unexpected ways on the pattern, I don't want a runaway. A lot of true barrel racers will never stop their horse beforehand because they want them to run solid and fast all the way to the end, but Jingle and I aren't heading to the NFR soon and I feel as if it's embarassing as heck if my horse is at a gymkhana and wont stop by the time we almost hit the gate. So, Jingle got his ass hauled into the ground quite a few times before he'd listen to me wherever I wanted him to stop. It's effective, and I think it's also helping us with our "rate" going into the barrels.
So, now I'm just praying that 6 hard days of riding (in some GORGEOUS heat by the way - yeehawww spring has finally sprung in Alberta) and one tiny day off, will provide for a solid lesson where we can actually do some werk. and keep my horses brain working!
^^ I wrote the above before heading out to the barn for what was to ey my 57th lesson on my horse that was going beautifully all week. I got to the barn and noticed he was flinching when I brushed him. He's been doing this the past couple days but I had done pressure tests on his back, spine, withers, flank etc. and he wasn't sore anywhere. Well, on this day he definitely was. About 8 inches down from the top of his withers if I put direct pressure on his spine he would completely cave. He was clearly agitated by it, and definitely sore, and my heart just broke. So, there was no riding my boy today. My trainer let me jump on two horses to ride for the evening, one who needs warming up with his mama, the other whose mom recently can't ride this week. It was nice of her to let me do that, but the whole time, even though they are both really nice horses, I couldn't help but wish I was just on my own chargey, messey, freight train horse that I love so much.
Of course, this soreness in his back is almost 100% related to bad saddle fit, and, as many of you know through reading my blog, fitting a saddle to Jingle has been an absolute nightmare for me. One will fit him wrong in the withers, the other in the back, the other will be too tight, another will slip right off his withers. He looks deceivingly easy to fit, and then, a couple weeks down the road with a saddle that seems to be working - BAM issues. dry spot. sore spots, etc etc. however, this is the first time he's ever been noticeably sore in his back and of course, I am a worried anxious horse mom. Not to mention I have been pouring money into saddles and pads, and nothing seems to be working.
At the moment I have him in an orthopedic pad with built up shoulders, I am also wondering if maybe there was just too much pad underneath my saddle and it was causing bunching. However, I doubt it, as the pad is structured and contoured in a way that I can't see that happening. So, we're going to haul him to a big western store on Sunday and see what they think - hopefully he's not too fresh, and isn't sore anymore and we'll find something that works. If we don't... I think my best bet is custom, but that launches me into a whole other bunch of worries... price, whether or not his back with change with age and time, etc.
To top it off the hackamore I bought him for his birthday is too tight...
Why is it that my horse just has EVERY tack-related issue known to man?!!?! UGH.