After taking Oscar to the vet (all healing up nicely, still the same issue with his squeaky jaw sadly!), I arrived just in time to catch the end of Quadi's massage.
He seemed to be quite enjoying it. At one stage he had his head over the stable door and his eyes were shutting. He is a little itchy as he is dropping his summer coat so at times was a wee bit of a fidget.
Casting back to last time, we were all a little disappointed that Quadi seemed to have taken a reverse step in terms of how comfortable he was in his body. He didn't enjoy his massage and was tense in several spots. With hindsight, this may have coincided with some hoof issues rumbling away. I'm so pleased that this time he is where we predicted he would be. Not totally without stiff bits and lacking topline, but overall soft and pliable and ready to crack on with some serious work. In particular he was stiff in his sides (his intercostal muscles I think?), which is a new one and hopefully just an occurence of field antics gone too far. He's not 5 years old any more!
Liz commented on how much more square he is standing, and also on his current bodyshape. At first glance, you'd look at his tummy and be inclined to think he is overweight. But if, as per the World Horse Welfare guidlines, you split the horse into three sections, you can see he's spot on in front and behind, and that he's not carrying too much over his back. It's merely a lack of tone. I'm suffering something the same at the moment, so really we both have to work hard to develop some core strength. He's ready for it now, and thanks to pilates I feel that I can sit properly and be effective without 'holding' myself.
We have a little homework. Liz showed me a stretch she feels every horse should do, where you hold a treat low, nearly to the floor. You have the horse stretch forward and down but without moving his feet, and doing so get a really effective stretch over the poll. Quadi's actually quite good at this stretch, he demonstrates is at the base of trailer ramps when we try to bribe him with treats *lol* Also, I regularly use a stretch where you start at the head and bring the treat along and down to the hind foot. Liz showed me a more effective stretch along the same vein. You stand at the head and step out sideways so that the horse is stretching along his entire side and really opens out his shoulder. You then move back and down to the hind foot but this requires a lot of flexibility. It'll be interesting to see how quickly we progress with this one, I plan to try and slow the tempo when he does this, I feel he rushes through in order to snatch the treat out of my hand. We need smoother movement!
Sadly I didn't get to test out that feeling today. Kate and I decided that just a wee sit on in the field, doing some gymastic flexions from the saddle, would be enough post-massage. I trapsed over to my horse and he wandered off. Everyone got a little wound up with bonfires on the horizon and sheep being herded in the next field. We approached them a couple of times and each time they bogged off, bucking and farting as they did. Probably more physical exercise than they'd have gotten under saddle and when they have their heads up their bums it's more fun to stand back and admire clean heels flying through the air!
They have a Hay Hutch in the field, Quadi was particularly terrified as it rolled towards them, but Coffee (18 months old, compared to Quadi's 13 years!), showed him it was safe! Being very pampered boys, they also have new Hay Bars in the stable. The first time Quadi saw it, he didn't clock it straight away. When he did, he was hat-dancing in the opposite corner! I should point out that this was after Coffee had already been in Quadi's stable for a mooch without batting an eyelid...*lol*