As Christmas break quickly comes to the end, it’s time to get the suitcase back out and start packing. And then it’s out to the barn to pack up Dane’s equipment as well so he is ready to come back to Albion for the rest of the school year. I have to admit, I’m ready to go back – and hopefully Dane is as well!
Prior to break, I was really looking forward to coming back home to show the other riders at my old barn what Dane and I have been working on at school, but we actually weren’t able to do as much riding as we had hoped. We had our vet/chiropractor come out to check Dane just as a check up to see how he was doing and it turns out that our saddle has been becoming too tight in the withers since we’ve been at Albion. It was actually hurting Dane every time we ride because it turns out that he has deep muscle bruising along with some sensitive areas in his neck and shoulders. So we weren’t able to ride in our saddle until just a few days ago when we had our saddle re-flocked so it was more comfortable for him – and also more comfortable for me as well, shockingly enough.
So for a month or so, all we could do was groundwork and riding bareback – which was great practice for me because I haven’t ridden bareback in quite some time. (I definitely felt that the next morning!) It was also a great opportunity for Dane and I to work on other things besides the usual “walk, trot, canter” exercises. I rode Dane in a halter and bareback while carrying a flag and get him to walk and trot over a tarp. He even let me drag the tarp behind him to set it up. Talk about trust – I like to think Buck Brannaman would be proud!
The good news is that, when the saddle fitter came out to re-flock our saddle, she noticed that his shoulder muscles had become more developed – fantastic! But then it was also sad news because I didn’t realize that every time I would tighten the girth, he was actually in pain. It really sucks that these animals that we devote our lives to can’t speak to us. What a change that could make if they could!
So now that we’re back to school this weekend, we have been given the one hundred percent go ahead to ride and we can’t wait to get back into work at Albion!