Today Anna, our physio (http://www.vetphysio.org) visited to check out Quadi. We ran out of time for me sadly!
Firstly she checked out Quadi in the stable, we decided to use the foaling box as it's huge and the floor is flat unlike our usual cobbled stalls.
He was a little resistant to the reflex points in his buttocks being prodded. He lifted a leg to Anna and hopped but she was quick and told him that thinking about booting the physio is not OK! It's ok for him to have an opinion, especially if what is happening is sore, but it's not ok to threaten to hurt anyone. I think perhaps Quadi suspected needles were about to be involved. He settled down and allowed Anna to prod his reflex points. Which is good, it means he wasn't sore, just unhappy about the fuss!
Anna also found a sore spot where Liz had shown me a fortnight ago. Sadly this means I haven't managed to alleviate the issue there but it's a work in progress.
Apart from that, two thumbs up. She thought his muscle development was symmetrical, and that he was looking a lot better with a straighter back (as opposed to dippy). No muscle atrophy anywhere. In fact, he is building up really nicely.
She was happy to hear we do regular stretching and has modified one of our carrot stretches. I normally ask him to take a treat along his flank in one stretch, and to take one by the outside of his front fetlock in another. The former can cause the horse to dip their back in order to reach-around, so we'll ditch that one and modify the latter. Which is to take a treat from the outside of the hind fetlock. Eventually, we'll have to build up to reaching right around without falling over. The idea is that he really has to lift his abs and back to do this.
I'm pleased that we're doing everything right and very happy that when Anna checked his range of movement he knew what he was being asked. Stretching is so important, and a great task for a rainy day or a day off of ridden work, as well as a fab warm-up and warm-down.
Next we moved into the school for ridden pole-work. I warmed up with Kate and Fin as Anna laid out our poles.
Immediately he set off in the right frame and moved very sweetly from my leg. Tried to cling to the outside track as we worked on the 3/4 line, but lots of shoulder-in and -out got him thinking. Even when we moved into trot he was good, he struck off soft and when he rushed and got strong I was able to half-halt to rebalance and use my rising in trot to dictate pace. He did fall in on his circle so my inside leg had to remind him to bend and not lean.
Once we'd walked and trotted I thought I'd better try a canter. Sadly with another pair in the school plus poles this was all a bit too much for his little brain and I received more bum-touching-hat bucks. I was determined that we weren't going to get into the habit of bucking every time we struck off, but it just wasn't the right day. I know he can do it and he's not sore. But I need a quiet day with the school to ourselves, or on a solo hack. His downward transitions were also a little disgusting. But from halt to walk, walk to trot and even halt to trot, he went up and out softly. Progress!
Our first exercise is a slalom of poles to serpentine along, with ends raised. Eventually we will be able to leg-yield over them, at the moment just getting four legs over with an angled approach is good enough for me. We can also do small 5m circles over them which will really engage the inside/outside hind, depending on direction.
Next is trotting poles at a distance which means the horse has to slow and flex to get over. Especially once they have alternate ends raised. Our target is to have them raised on a circle and to trot them.
Today we couldn't even trot them on the floor without little Portuguese explosions happening! He tried to bounce each one, then cat-leap, then came out at a canter and bucked as he turned (at which point I thought I'd eat sand but I was better anchored than I thought!), jig-jogged with his head in the air, etc.
I got a trot in each direction without dramatics and was grateful for that. We decided to only do those at walk when ridden, and to work on them in-hand until it's less exciting.
Photos were taken, as was video of his attempts at trotting poles. I'll see if any of them are worth publishing, good or bad!
I'm itching to do more schooling, we will nail these transitions!