Tuesday evenings ride, which had almost identical circumstances to last Friday's ride (late, alone in the arena), was much more relaxed. Cisco felt a bit stiff to the right, which he hasn't really felt lately, but it seemed to get better as we went. Our canter transitions were also some of the best we've had in a while - they've been sticky for the last few weeks. This was only the second ride since his chiro appointment a week earlier, so I'm not sure if he is still feeling the results of it.
|Still distrustful of the scary end of the arena though.|
I didn't use the Equibands for this ride as I was wanting to set us up for success, and based on the previous ride I wasn't sure how successful I would be.
But we used them on Wednesday! How did it go?
Cue evil cackle.
Oh, Cisco felt the burn.
I only used the abdominal band, as recommended by the company (use the abdominal band for the first couple of weeks then add the butt band). When I first got on, something about my saddle felt different. I couldn't figure out what it was - was it sitting back more? I checked the amount of space under the gullet and there seemed to be quite a bit more space than the night before. I'm now wondering if he was lifting his back that much more than normal and that's what I felt.
It was a very short ride - a 10 minute walk warm-up, and another 12 minutes or so of a bunch of short trots.
At the walk Cisco definitely walked with his head lower than normal. He was by no means steady in the contact - his head was at all different levels while he was trying to figure out his balance. He's a horse who tends to start with a very high head, and it was generally level with his back or lower. Big change.
At the trot, I felt a big difference - he felt like he had way more stuffing than he normally does. Same as at the walk, he wasn't steady in the contact, but was much rounder and lower with his neck. He gave me some lovely short moments of reaching for the contact and almost being a bit heavy, which for a horse who is generally happy to shorten his neck and get a bit curled up is kind of a big deal.
As is typical with him, when things get tough or worrisome we lose our right bend (mostly due to pushing into my leg) so that wasn't where it needs to be, but I figured that it would be best to concentrate on just going forward and encouraging him to reach into contact.
This was a huge change in his way of going, so I kept the trots short. He was being really good and trying and I don't him to get sore and resistant. On the last trot he was starting to tuck behind the bit and get a bit fussy and I figured it might be enough for the first day. I found a couple of chances to click and reward when he stretched his nose out and called it a day.
So yeah, I noticed a difference!
I'm excited to see how much he changes over the next couple of months of using the bands. He's already got a big booty, what's it going to look like by the end of summer?
I would have had video to show but my Pixio fucking broke just as I was going to get on. The tracker watch fell apart while on my wrist. I haven't looked at it to see what happened yet - I'm quite pissed off. It's still under warranty so I'm guessing it will be going back to France (along with the beacon that had the tripod bolt shear off inside it). I'm hoping duct tape will work in the meantime.