Friday, July 11, 2014

A hitch in our giddyup

Charlie's had it pretty easy these past couple of weeks, acting as a model citizen to help train some of the babies and being a great escort for trail rides. I tried out my new long lines which are turning out to be pretty awesome. They have three clips with pullies so they're super easy to adjust.

All rigged up. Wish I had pictures of him while he was working in it.
Yesterday I rode for the first time, though, since last week and Charlie didn't want to canter, specifically on the right lead. That's weird, I thought. We were doing so good! When I insisted, he started snaking his head around and doing his old I'm-going-to-bite-off-your-leg-whenever-you-use-it deal. Uh oh.

I figured maybe he was just stiff and I tried to canter too soon? So we trotted around a lot and he was really stretching, like reaaally low with his head on the ground, so I figured his back must be sore. We got some good stretching and Charlie eventually cantered ok but he was still reluctant.

When I untacked him and looked him over he was touchy along his last several ribs on the right where he always is, but a bit more so than normal. Vet says there's nothing wrong over there, but I still think he may have some old scar tissue or something because he's always been weird about his right side being touched or groomed in a specific area and there is a small scar with no hair there from something that happened before I got him. Anyway I applied some Sore-No-More and didn't worry too much about it.

Today we went out on the trails for about an hour and a half and all we did was walk (side note: we were able to cross the scary flooded area of the path this time.....twice!). I figured this might exacerbate whatever was going on without being too strenuous and it would help me see if it is a saddle fit issue, which I've been worried about. Charlie never stepped wrong but when we came back and I gave him the once-over he was definitely ouchy in a few places. 

One was his withers, which I was expecting (although I was really hoping not to find). I've been worried about my western saddle not fitting quite right even with the new Reinsman pad, so I've been riding exclusively in that lately, looking at sweat patterns and feeling for sensitive areas to see if I notice anything before the big two-day trail ride I have planned for next weekend. However he was also sore in his loin a few inches in front of his sacroiliac joint and again around his last few ribs on the right. I'm not sure what to make of the lower back pain. Maybe it's unrelated and he just rolled over funny? That seems like a weird place to have saddle fit-related issues, and I'm not a heavy sitter in the tack. 

I think there's some definite pinching on his left withers, see the area w/ no sweat?

There's also no sweat-free line down the spine even though there seems to be plenty of clearance
Poor guy. I applied a good amount of Sore-No-More and he'll get the next couple of days off. It looks like I might have to trade in my pretty western saddle, though, and I'll most likely be riding in my English one all next weekend. That should be fun.

I'll leave you with this picture of Charlie in his new combo fly veil. He is obviously not impressed.

Colby said, "Jamaican me laugh with all those dreds!"
I'll reserve a final verdict until I try it at least once or twice more but you know what? I think it works.

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