Dolly has been making excellent progress. Emotionally she is in a really good place now. Even at feed-time she is not get stressed. Her willingness to learn has been extraordinary and I am very proud of her tries. On the ground work we are making a start at the half pass on the left rein. On the right rein we have a few steps of haunches-in off the wall. She has been with me less than 3 weeks and had no ST education before then other than asking for the Forward down – so she has taken everything on board at a remarkable rate.
Her owner was not expecting us to take a look at the ridden because they have had some real issues around riding. She had taken to rearing and so they had decided better not to ride. Over the past weeks I have seen a real change in her now she is able to stretch out across her back so on Friday of last week I decided to put a bareback pad on her and see what we had. At first she gave a little roaching with her back and then a few bunny hops when moved up to the trot whilst on the lunge line. But then she started to relax and so I was quite pleased. So then she had a couple of days over the weekend to soak on it. Then this week I have got her to fall in love with the mounting block and then lie across her. Next we asked her to take a few steps forward with me still lying over her and Helen guiding her from the ground. Next exercise I sat on her and again just a couple of steps forward – release, reward, relax. The following day we did the same but this time built up the amount of steps by asking for a few circles with me sat on her and Helen helping – asking her to have an LFS with a long stretch over her top-line – we even went to the fence line and asked for some haunches-in, again with Helen helping from the ground. Plenty of praise, release, reward, relax. Today – despite the unhelpful weather conditions (high winds!) we went through the same process – but this time starting straight away with me sat on her astride rather than lying over her. We extended the line so that she was further away from Helen. And then we unclipped the line and I was on my own. Inner picture, inner feeling of a long neck and a stretch over her back – she was such a good girl. No tension at all in her back, no thoughts of rearing, we even had some relaxation blow-outs. A few circles – lots of praise – and bare-back pad off and game over!!
So it seems like the rearing may very well have been because of the compression in her back – perhaps even the start of kissing spines. Her natural way of going is with a big under-neck and a tight, concave back. With a good Forward down the back opens up – no compression, no pain, no rearing. What a super, super little mare she is and what tries she gives.