Yesterday Quadi had a massage from Liz, and it was really pleasing. He stood really well even when other horses came and went, and Liz agreed with my observations. He's lost a bit of muscling all over but I tried not to be disappointed given I haven't been doing the work to maintain his physique. She also reminded me to remain, in the nicest possible way, realistic. This actually helped me a lot, instead of trying to achieve what may not be possible I should strive to enjoy how well he feels now. She finds he is a totally different horse mentally to the one she met last year, and she's pleased with how well he's looking.
Probably because of the less-than-ideal shape of his hindfeet as we try to match heel growth with toe growth, he has tight hamstrings on both hind legs. But everything else is looking really loose so we're both pleased as we both expected him to feel worse than he currently does. I have to keep doing his hindleg stretch, pulling it forwards as I support his weight a little, and also use the pressure point in his abdomen to engage those muscles as we continue to 'unlock' them. And he really enjoyed having his neck treated. Funny, that's where I've been feeling I could use a massage lately!
I had a knot in my tummy and Quadi was asleep post-treatment so I didn't ride.
Onto today. Despite a horizontal onslaught of hail en route, I decided it wasn't too cold to catch a break in the weather and have a relaxing hack. I have the offer to use Fin instead but I was feeling positive about my own horse :)
Because of the hail and cold I dug out an exercise sheet and my winter jacket and gloves. I didn't feel cold when I got back but Quadi didn't feel too hot either. Good choices.
He marched right off the yard and only stopped when he saw the foal in the field and the mares on the other side came to greet him. How helpful ladies(!)
Sadly we were caught in a hail shower on the way but it meant he had to lower his head and flex right to avoid the worst of it, every grey cloud has a silver lining ;)
Once again I felt I had his back for more of the time than I didn't over the course of the hack. Round the loop we worked in walk on flexions the first time. I had to work really hard, my shoulders ached and I harboured some concern I was being too harsh but I think it was just lack of proper posture. I'm finding there is a very subtle difference in how I try and maintain my upper body in an upright position. It's very easy for me to arch my lower back the wrong way to 'cheat'. I know I get it right when I manage to sit on my seatbones properly.
The second round on the loop we had a lovely canter, nice and relaxed and rhythmical. On the way home I just let him pick his way on a long but maintained contact. I was rewarded on the home straight with a horse carrying himself so well on the lightest of reins. Really it was out-of-the-blue but so pleasing :D
Think we're almost ready to get back to schooling!