Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wow! Leah Goes Right

“It doesn’t matter so much if something comes out good or bad, the important thing is to try to understand what took place that caused it to be good or bad.” 
- Tom Dorrance

Our horses are ALWAYS talking to us, we just don't know what they're saying.  Leah had A LOT to say today!

We started with extensive T-Touch and groundwork--disengaging hind, crossing in front, bending, backing, bending and turning, trot work, synchronized "dancing" trot work, T-Boning.  Leah and I were in sync: body, mind, spirit.

I went and saddled her up and used a heavily built up pad to see if the saddle had anything to do with our issues.  On the way into the arena, as per usual, I controlled her feet each step of the way.  She is very sensitive to slight pulls on her lead--but the phone recording her is a big distraction in our communication.  Still, I wanted to show you a sample of how sensitive she is.

With the saddle on, we repeated the ground work and massage.

Time to mount up!

My idea for today was to take her alongside the panels and block her way to the left so that she had to turn right.  It worked.  She turned right when she was against the panel, but when we were out in the open, she started blowing to the left whenever I'd pull her right.  She'd go all the way to China if she didn't eventually run into an object--like a barrel or a panel--at which point, she'd make the right turn.

I made sure not to brace her against the right turn by wiggling her head with some give and takes.  I never felt as if she was going to fall over.

Finally, I got this idea, in my frustration, to do what I've seen my trainer, Rebecca, do--massage her right side neck while I ride.  I pulled her head in tight to the right, she started flying to the left, but I reached over with my left arm as best I could, and started vigorously massaging her neck.


She stopped going left and melted into the right turn.

We did it over and over and over with me massaging her every time I asked her to go right.  She dropped her head nicely and stretched into it.  I kept going, figuring it has to be good for her to use and stretch her muscles like that.

Rebecca was here last night to assess her teeth.  She can't feel anything big going on in there, but it's always good to get their teeth done anyway.  She had already diagnosed soreness in that neck.  I told her I'm calling out a Vet/Chiropractor--appointment is September 8th.  In the meantime, we're going to keep riding her everyday to help her get in shape and stretch.

I'm so happy to know she's in pain!  As bad as that sounds, I think it's fixable and that gives me hope for my sweet horse.  The good thing I can say about all this is it has really bonded us.  I work and ride her twice a day now and I don't take her for granted anymore.  I think about her all the time and can't wait to get out and see her am and pm.  Just like Cowboy, our relationship is growing through the good and the BAD.


  1. When you say you massage her neck, are you massaging on the left side?
    She sure was good in the video.
    I like how you say the good and the bad times are what creates the bond. Even with all my issues with Coulee, I actually like her and make sure I let her know that.

    1. I massage her on the right side with my left hand as I'm pulling her in with my right hand. Sound awkward? It is. Not a good long-term solution and takes quite a bit of balancing. I could bring my left hand over and pull the right rein in with it and use my right hand to massage the right side neck, but it felt more comfortable the other way. Maybe I'll try left hand to right rein, right hand to right neck today. I'm heading out now. I hope the neck pain--after massage, teeth, and chiropractor--resolves itself and we can go back to normal soon.

    2. Hmmmm have you tried her in a curb bit? Neck reining might work well with her. Also have you tried the TTouch figure 8 wrap?

  2. Sure do love that quote of Tom's! Glad you two are working through everything that happens to come along. Hope you get that pain thing figured out...sure can't blame her if it hurts, or if she's expecting something to hurt.

    1. Very true. This week we should start getting answers. Rebecca also suggested it could be cheat grass.


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