Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I got to ride SimonPants again!

Lauren and I are taking advantage of both being at the same barn and getting some extra ride time in. She’s riding Paddykins for me when I can’t get out and she has time, and I got to ride Simon for her last night. Let me just say it’s so AWESOME to ride an actual trained horse! I mean, I love Paddy, but Simon has all these buttons and this lovely, steady way of going and he’s just so much fun to ride!

Simon-selfie

If you’ve been following Lauren’s blog, you’ll know she’s worried about Simon’s mysterious hind-end weirdness, where he takes an off step every now and again. We’ve talked about it a lot, and she asked me to tell her what I felt when I sat on him.

First, and most importantly, Simon doesn’t seem to be in any pain. He was super happy to get out and work, very cooperative and tried really hard for me. I swear I’m going to turn him into a dressage pony!

One thing I noticed right off the bat was that my right hip was being moved around a lot more than my left, even at the walk. This is consistent with the vet’s report that he picks his right hip up higher than the left. You can actually see this if you watch the top of Simon’s butt as he moves away from you. Simon’s right hock is the one that’s in the process of fusing, so it’s possible that he’s trying to compensate for the lack of range of motion in the hock with more motion in his hip. Kind of like if your knee didn’t bend, you’d have to pick your leg up from your hip.

Simon is quite stiff laterally, meaning that he doesn’t bend much in his body or neck - especially to the left. Horses are generally more stiff on the side opposite from the side they won’t bend, and this makes sense if Simon is compensating more with the right side of his body and is therefore less flexible on that side. However, when I insisted that he bend, he tried really hard and gave me some super nice soft moments – what a good boy!

I pushed him a little to see what might help him (or make him worse), asking for a little shoulder fore, some leg yield (without losing the shoulders, thank-you-very-much!), and some spiral-in-spiral-out on the circle. I asked for a lot of forward and a lot of inside leg action, even just on the straightaways and in the corners. In our first trot circle, on a long-ish rein with no forward, he mis-stepped behind three times. However, the more I asked for, the less of a problem he had – he only mis-stepped five more times in my entire ride, and always in places where the footing was a bit deep/churned up. It was always the right hind that took the funny step, and it happened mostly tracking right. It was also very, very subtle – more like a “whoops, I forgot that foot!” than an actual lame step. My guess (and I’m no vet) is that he occasionally has a bit of trouble compensating for the loss of motion in the hock, which results in a very subtle funny step that’s hard to see from the ground but can be felt from the saddle. The more he’s asked to engage, the less of a problem it is.



Obviously, the solution is for Lauren to start riding dressage on her lovely dressage horse. Wink-wink-nudge-nudge. ;)

26 comments:

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    1. It is! If only our actual barn time overlapped more.

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  2. Dressage for the win!
    Simon looks like a lot of fun to ride.

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    1. He is a lot of fun to ride! and yes, playing in the sandbox is the best. ;)

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  3. Obviously! Dressage is the best, anyway. I can't believe she hasn't made the switch yet. ;)

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    1. Austen, you and I think alike. ;)

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  4. It is SO valuable to be able to have another rider hop on and compare notes!!

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  5. Teehee - lovely subliminal messaging at the end there Jenj ;-)

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    1. Hmmm... maybe I should try for less subliminal, what do you think? ;)

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    2. *shrug*
      It can never hurt to be MOAR obvious ;-)

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  6. Yay for dressage helping all things

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  7. Fun riding with/for blog buddies! Simon sounds so cool :)

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  8. Simon sounds like so much fun!
    Glad you have a riding buddy.

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    1. Yes, I'm lucky to be able to ride him!

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  9. I seriously feel like super correct dressage is the cure for all lameness. There I said it.

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    1. *Nods sagely*. Yes, Alicia, I believe you are correct. ;)

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  10. He looks so cute dressage! Yes, make him a dressage pony! lol.

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  11. Adorable! What a hunk.
    And welcome to the club of people who annoy riders of other disciplines by insisting that dressage makes everything better ;)

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    1. BWAHAHAHA! We'll get Lauren to the dark side. Soon. Very sooooon.

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  12. Sounds like fun!!!! Sounds soooo similar to Encore with the falling out behind -- I was paranoid about it for a long time (which observers never helped by suggesting terrible things!) but getting to know him, I now realize (now that I know his body, re: original bone scan, etc) that it is one or all of (a) not truly forward, (b) not connected, such a faker, and (c) needs more hind end strength.

    So glad to hear y'all are getting to hang out and yay for blogger buddies!!!!

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    1. It's a weird sensation for sure but it really doesn't seem like a lameness to me. And Simon is SOOO much fun!

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  13. Sydney has been having this same issue on and off since I started really riding her again in the spring. It always feels more like an "oops I forgot that leg" than anything else, and typically happens where the arena is deeper. It also doesn't happen every ride. Have yet to find anything wrong with her, but I haven't done x-rays either. Might have to try the spirals and shoulder exercises.

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